Amanda Kernell, Joachim Trier, Kasper Kalle and Tarik Saleh get top funding at the first Eurimages Project Evaluation Session of 2024.

The first Eurimages 2024 Project Evaluation Session states: “The Executive Committee of the Fund has decided to support the co-production of 26 feature films, including 5 documentaries and 1 animation, for a total amount of €6,992,000,”. Counting in all 18 nationalities (with an additional ten countries co-producing), the Nordic region is represented by four projects, a most prominent quartet among the honoured players, including three films that already have applied for and recently received Nordisk Film & TV Fond's top-funding.

Sweden’s Amanda Kernell’s debut feature Sámi Blood (Sameblod) premiered in Venice in 2016 and went on to win multiple international awards; her 2020 successor Charter was the Swedish entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Oscars. In her upcoming project, The Curse - A Love Story (Förbannelsen - en kärlekshistoria), Kernell returns to Sámi surroundings with the story of a young female reindeer herder who we follow during her first year after her father’s death. The curse is both a love story and a story about healing, promises Kernell, who will shoot in the Kiruna region in northern Sweden. Eva Åkergren of Nordisk Film produces, with co-production by Forest People AS, Norway. The Eurimages grant is €500,000. Kernell and Åkergren’s joint presentation at New Nordic Films in Haugesund in 2023 was warmly awarded Best Project, and was granted production support from Nordisk Film & TV Fond in the first quarter of 2024.

Also receiving NFTVF funding at the same session was Eagles of the Republic (Republikens örnar/Les Aigles de la République), Swede Tarik Saleh’s third entry in what could be dubbed his “Fares Fares Cairo Trilogy” after The Nile Hilton Incident (2017) and Boy from Heaven/Cairo Conspiracy (2022). The considerable success of the latter, garnering a Best Script Award at Cannes, performing healthy international box office figures and becoming Sweden’s 2023 Oscar entry, should spark curiosity around this new offering. The story centres around a celebrated actor, played by Fares Fares (as significant a cohort to Saleh as De Niro to Scorsese), who is forced to accept the role of the president in a biopic film production, a gig that comes with some slightly noose-like strings attached, the protagonist soon finds out. Co-starring is the César- and Venice-awarded Lyna Khoudri, one of the busier young French stars at the moment, with production by Sweden’s Unlimited Stories, Denmark’s Ström Pictures and Memento Productions and Arte France Cinéma of France. Shooting takes place between May and August. Eagles of the Republic receives €500,000 from Eurimages, the top amount granted at the session.

Norway’s Joachim Trier receives €499,000 from the fund for Sentimental Value, again involving an actor protagonist, again starring Renate Reinsve, winner of the Best Cannes Actress Award in 2021 for her role in Trier’s subsequently Oscar-nominated The Worst Person in The World (Verdens verste menneske), and again featuring the dynamic and durable writing duo of Trier and Eskil Vogt, nominated for the Best Screenplay Oscar for the same film. Sentimental Value deals with two sisters, their recently deceased mother and their estranged father, a once acclaimed film director with his moments of glory well behind him (a possible nod to Trier’s own grandfather, Norwegian auteur legend Erik Løchen), now planning a comeback and envisioning his actress daughter in the lead. Trusty French cinephiles check in, proposing a career retrospective, where a chance meeting with a Hollywood actress leads to interesting turns of events. Maria Ekerhovd produces for Mer Film, as does Andrea Berentsen Ottmar at Eye Eye Pictures in Norway. On board is also France’s Agat Films and MK Production, Zentropa in Denmark and Sweden, and Germany’s Komplizen in Berlin.

Kasper Kalle Skovsbøl – or Kasper Kalle, his seemingly preferred “pen name” – is the dark horse in this foursome, born, bred and film schooled in Denmark with a background in visual concept arts at the Funen Art Academy in Odense. He already attracted attention when his student film Darkest Moon (Sorte måne, 2015) was nominated for a Robert prize at the Danish Film Academy Awards. His 2018 debut feature, C4 (Christian IV - Den sidste rejse) received further praise for its bold and inventive depiction of historical events – in this case 17th century Denmark. “My visual style is inspired by Dreyer and Bergman, but I’ve tweaked it and added something new. I love the darkness, the chills and the set-up, the looks between the characters, the expressions of animals, bodies and violent nature,” he has stated regarding his style. For his sophomore feature, with shooting starting in August, Kalle will take the viewer to the Faroe Islands in the year 1872. Here, a deceased fisherman rises from the grave in order to attend to some unfinished business, to great unrest for the locals. No Rest for the Wicked, an adaptation of the German writer Karl Heinrich Ulrichs’ iconic 1884 short story “Manor”, has received €480,000 from the Eurimages Fund as well as support from NFTVF this January. Lars Bredo Rahbek produces for SF Studios, Denmark, with co-production by TrueNorth, Iceland, and Kykmyndir, Faroe Islands, with sales handled by Charades, France.

With various stages of production still underway, premieres are expected from 2025 and onward. Some of the titles above may be working titles.

Other recipient directors of top Eurimages funding include the cherished doyenne of European cinema, Poland’s Agnieszka Holland for the Kafka biopic Franz, Spain’s winner of the 2023 Berlin Golden Bear Carla Simón for Romeria, and French actor-director Hafsia Herzi, winner of César as well as Cannes awards on both sides of the camera, for The Last One/La Petite Dernière.

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