Exclusive - The Norwegian film is being produced by Motlys in co-production with Sweden’s B-Reel Films. SF Studios handles distribution.

Seasoned TV director Ida Sagmo Tvedte, credited for the popular NRK kids series Stardust and Sofia Flux (Sofia Flux og det magiske høreapparatet) will be making her feature film debut, based on the novel Stargate-A Christmas Story by Ingvild H Rishøi.

Published simultaneously in Norway, Sweden and Denmark in 2021, the book was deemed a modern classic and Rishøi was even compared to Astrid Lindgren, H.C. Andersen and Charles Dickens for her ability to tell a magical Christmas story with unflinching social pathos.

The book was sold to more than a dozen territories - including France, Germany, Italy - and acquired by the production outfit Motlys after a fierce bidding war.

In the film, Christmas is around the corner, and as their father is getting drunk at the local Stargate pub, the sisters Ronja (10) and Melissa (16) take on his job as a Christmas tree seller to cover for him.

“The film is a heart-warming and beautiful film that the world needs,” said Rikke Ennis, CEO at the financing and global sales company REinvent, which boarded the project at script stage alongside distributor SF Studios. “Although it is a tough topic about alcohol abuse, it is also a story about unconditional love and about never giving up. It is one of the most touching scripts I have read. And we can’t wait to show the world this beautiful pearl of a film,” Ennis said.

Motlys’ producer Hege Hauff Hvattum says the story will be realistic, but also hopeful, and in the true tradition of Scandinavian Christmas stories.

The €2.4m film produced by top indie company Motlys (Louder than Bombs, Ninjababy), is being co-produced by Sweden’s B-Reel Films, with support - so far - from the Norwegian Film Institute and the Oslo Film Fund. Filming is set to start in 2024.

Hvattum who produced NRK’s Christmas family series Luka and the Magical Theatre pitched Stargate to 200+ industry delegates at New Nordic Films’ Co-Production Market last week.

She also pitched with Motlys’ long-time producer Yngve Sæther, the highly anticipated film trilogy Sex Dreams Love directed by Dag Johan Haugerud. The ambitious three pic comedy drama inspired in form by Kristof Kieslowski’s Three Colours trilogy, will be released in 2024, via Arthaus in Norway, Triart in Sweden and Camera Film in Denmark.