2022-09-22 08:44Press release

Boy from Heaven named Sweden’s Academy Award submission

Tawfeek Barhom and Fares Fares in Boy from Heaven. Photo by Atmo.Tawfeek Barhom and Fares Fares in Boy from Heaven. Photo by Atmo.

At a press conference in Stockholm today, it was revealed that Tarik Saleh’s film Boy from Heaven is Sweden’s submission for the Best International Feature Film Academy Award.

Tarik Saleh’s political thriller about fisherman’s son Adam, who is thrown into a brutal power struggle between Egypt’s religious and political elite, won the Best Screenplay Award (Prix du scénario) at the 75th Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, as well as the François Chalais Prize (Prix François Chalais), which was created to pay tribute to French journalist and film historian François Chalais.

– I am honored to represent Sweden with our film. Sweden has become a great film nation and to be chosen by my fellow filmmakers makes me very proud, says Tarik Saleh.

– I would like to thank the jury and everyone who has worked with Boy from Heaven. It’s truly amazing that our film has been chosen as Sweden’s submission to the Oscars. The film has already received great international acclaim and made headlines in international press since the success in Cannes. Now it's sought after among distributors all over the world, says producer Kristina Åberg.

Boy from Heaven is a film with both political and personal depth where the little guy becomes a pawn in a game with high stakes. With his masterful script, fantastic acting, magnificent settings and cinematography that leaves the viewer breathless, Tarik Saleh has created a political thriller of high international standard. I am convinced that the film has a real chance of going all the way to nomination and beyond, says Petter Mattsson, Head of the International Department at the Swedish Film Institute and Chairman of the Swedish Oscar Committee.

Boy from Heaven is Tarik Saleh’s latest film, following his success with The Nile Hilton Incident which won the Grand Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival in the US in 2017, and a Swedish Guldbagge Award for Best Film in 2018.

The film was largely shot in Istanbul and is a Swedish, French, Finnish and Danish co-production featuring actors from Sweden, Yemen, Russia, Syria, Egypt, France, The Gambia and elsewhere. It has already been sold to more than 50 countries including the UK, Spain, Italy, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Benelux and the Middle East.

The cast includes Fares Fares (Westworld, 2018, Journal 64, 2018, The Nile Hilton Incident, 2017, The Commune, 2016), Tawfeek Barhom (The Way of the Wind, 2021, The Rhythm Section, 2020), Mehdi Dehbi (Messiah, 2020, A Most Wanted Man, 2014), Mohammad Bakri (Homeland, 2020, The Bureau, 2017), Makram J. Khoury (The Way of the Wind, 2021, Messiah, 2020, Homeland, 2015), Sherwan Haji (The Other Side of Hope, 2017), among others.

The film is produced by Atmo/Kristina Åberg and Fredrik Zander, in co-production with Film i Väst, SVT, Haymaker, Mikael Ahlström Films, Bufo (Finland), Memento Production (France) ARTE France Cinéma, Final Cut For Real (Denmark) and others, with funding from the Swedish Film Institute (commissioners Madeleine Ekman and Hanna Lejonqvist), Eurimages, Canal+, Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée, the Finnish Film Foundation, Business Finland, the Danish Film Institute and others. 

Boy from Heaven will open the Stockholm International Film Festival on 8 November and will be released at Swedish theatres on 18 November. The film is distributed domestically by Triart Film. International sales handled by Memento International.

International press contact:
Camilla Nasiell, camilla.nasiell@mondayrelations.se, +46 70 720 6563

International sales and festivals contact: sales@mementofilms.com

About the selection

Each year the Swedish Oscar Committee nominates a Swedish candidate for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film. Swedish films that have had their domestic premiere between January 1 and November 30, 2022, and meet the requirements for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), have been eligible for the 2023 Oscars.

For this year’s shortlist, I Am Zlatan (directed by Jens Sjögren) and Nelly & Nadine (directed by Magnus Gertten) were also chosen by the jury.

Members of the Swedish Oscar Committee:

Cicci Renström Suurna, The Swedish Film Critics Association
Goran Kapetanović, The Swedish Union for Performing Arts and Film – Directors
Agneta Fagerström-Olsson, The Swedish Union for Performing Arts and Film – Directors
Sara de Costa, The Swedish Film and Television Cooperation Committee
Lena Rehnberg, The Swedish Film & TV Producers Association
Christer Nilson, The Swedish Film & TV Producers Association
Jonas Holmberg, Göteborg International Film Festival

Chairman: Petter Mattsson, Head of the International Department at the Swedish Film Institute.

For more information, please contact:
Theo Tsappos, Festival Manager at the International Department: theo.tsappos@sfi.se, phone: +4686651133

About The Swedish Film Institute

The Swedish Film Institute is a collective voice for film in Sweden, and a meeting-place for experiences and insights that elevate film on all levels. We preserve and make available Sweden’s film heritage, work to educate children and young people in film and moving images, support the production, distribution and screening of valuable film, and represent Swedish film internationally. A broad diversity of narratives establishes discussions and insights that strengthen the individual and our democracy. Together, we enable more people to create, experience and be enriched by film.


Jan Göransson
Head of Press
Jan Göransson
Per Perstrand
Communications Officer – Press
Per Perstrand