2023-02-10 09:03Press release

Swedish films at the Berlin Film Festival

Clockwise l-r: Fantastic Machine, Gizem Erdogan, Opponent, George Peterland, Madden. Photo: Scott Jayro / Sandra Myhrberg / Sebastian Winterø / Intermundos / Stellan Runge Clockwise l-r: Fantastic Machine, Gizem Erdogan, Opponent, George Peterland, Madden. Photo: Scott Jayro / Sandra Myhrberg / Sebastian Winterø / Intermundos / Stellan Runge

Swedish film has a strong presence at this year's Berlinale, headlined by Milad Alami's Opponent and Sundance winner Fantastic Machine by Axel Danielson and Maximilien Van Aertryck. Here is your guide to all things Swedish at the festival, including Shooting Star Gizem Erdogan, Berlinale Talents and co-productions, as well as an invitation to the Swedish press conference on February 19.

Welcome to the Swedish press meeting!

All the Swedish films listed below will be presented, in the company of directors, producers and actors.

Time: Sunday, February 19 at 6:30 – 7:30pm, followed by photo call and reception
Venue: 3 Schwestern, Marianneplatz 2
RSVP: Please e-mail press@filminstitutet.se (no later than February 17)

The Swedish line-up at the Berlinale:

Opponent – Panorama (world premiere)

In the aftermath of a devastating rumour, Iman and his family have been forced to flee Iran. As refugees, they end up in a run-down hotel in northern Sweden. Despite feeling powerless, Iman tries to maintain his role as the family patriarch. To increase their chances of asylum, he breaks a promise to his wife and joins the local wrestling club. As the rumours start to resurface, Iman’s fear and desperation begin to take a hold.

Writer-director Milad Alami's follow-up to San Sebastian and Palm Springs winner The Charmer (2017) is headlined by Iranian actor Payman Maadi, known from Asghar Farhadi films such as A Separation and About Elly. Also starring: Marall Nasiri, Björn Elgerd, Ardalan Esmaili and Arvin Kananian.

Opponent is produced by Tangy / Annika Rogell, in co-production with Filmpool Nord, Film i Väst and Sveriges Television and Ape & Bjørn (Norway), with support from the Swedish Film Institute, former Film Commissioner Madeleine Ekman. TriArt Film distributes the film in Sweden with a theatrical premiere set for March 31. International sales handled by IndieSales.

And the King Said, What a Fantastic Machine! – Generation 14plus (European premiere)

Filmmakers Axel Danielson and Maximilien Van Aertryck widen their lens to measure the depth of humanity’s infatuation with framing the world through the camera; chronicling how we went from capturing the image of a backyard to a multi-billion Euro content industry in just 200 years. The film, executive produced by Ruben Östlund and Erik Hemmendorff, recently won the Special Jury Award: Creative Vision in the World Cinema Documentary Section at the Sundance Film Festival.

Produced by Plattform Produktion / Axel Danielson and Maximilien Van Aertryck, in co-production with Film i Väst, Sveriges Television and Bullitt Film (Denmark), with support from the Swedish Film Institute, former Film Commissioner Juan Pablo Libossart. International sales by Heretic.

George-Peterland Generation Kplus (world premiere)

Five eight-year-olds found the imaginary world ”George-Peterland”. A dreamy forest land with cute chickens, to which you can travel by just shutting your eyes. When rules take over the imaginary world, it becomes a nightmare. YOU SHALL NOT EAT CHICKEN. YOU MUST LOVE YELLOW. YOU MUST BELIEVE IN THE CHICKEN GOD.

George-Peterland is an animated short directed by Christer Wahlberg and written by Wahlberg and Sebastian Rudolph Jensen. Produced by Wahlberg / Intermundo, co-produced by Film i Väst and Sveriges Television, with support from the Swedish Film Institute, Film Commissioner Jannik Splidsboel.

Madden – Generation 14plus (International premiere)

Malin Ingrid Johansson's film recently won Startsladden for Best Short Film at Göteborg Film Festival. Madden tells a story about relating to your herd. About duty versus longing. About high-heeled shoes stepping in dung and heavy animal bodies thundering across a Scandinavian landscape. A forest of tall tree trunks between our protagonist and the outside world. We live in a time where self-realization, individualism and freedom of choice collide hard with the tradition of inheritance and the collectivity that life on a farm can entail. Madden explores what it’s like to be a young girl stuck in the gap between these two diametrically opposed choices.

Produced by Pine /Joel Rostmark, Adam Holmström, Andrea Gyllenskiöld and Victor Lindström and co-produced by Film i Väst, with support from the Swedish Film Institute, Film Commissioner Janne Vierth.

Shooting Star: Gizem Erdogan

Swedish actress Gizem Erdogan has been chosen by European Film Promotion (EFP) as one of the 10 European Shooting Stars for 2023. The chosen actors and actresses attend a tailor-made programme, including meetings with casting directors, talent agents and producers, which broadens and strengthens their international industry alliances and networks. The activities culminate in a glamorous presentation of the European Shooting Stars Awards at the Berlinale Palast on February 20.

From her first feature film back in 2014, to her major breakthrough in the Netflix hit series Caliphate in 2020, Gizem Erdogan has become one of Sweden’s foremost actresses. After graduating from The Swedish Academic School of Drama, she starred in the 2017 feature Beyond Dreams (directed by Rojda Sekersöz) for which she received a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the Swedish Guldbagge Awards. She has since starred in Netflix's The Playlist, about the making of Spotify, and hit series Thin Blue Line.

Talent Project Market: Our Love and The Love Pill

In the Talent Project Market, which is organised in cooperation with Berlinale Talents, ten producers from all over the world who are still in the first decade of their careers will present their latest projects, having been selected from 166 submissions. Two Swedish projects will be presented at the festival:

Our Love, a documentary film by directing duo Lia Hietala and Hannah Reinikainen, who presented Always Amber in the Panorama section in 2020. Produced by Melissa Lindgren / Story.

The Love Pill, a queer rom-com by director Naures Sager, who recently won the Talent to Watch Audience Award for Best Pitch at Göteborg Film festival. Produced by Michael Detlef Petersen / The Uneven.

Swedish Co-productions 

Do You Love Me? (UA/SE) Panorama (world premiere)

One year before the Soviet Union collapses. 17 year-old Kira is stepping out of her adolescence into adult life at the very same moment as Ukraine steps out of Soviet slavery into the unknown. Together they will try all kinds of things for the first time – funny, dangerous, rebellious – as every teenager does. Directed by Tonia Noyabrova.
Swedish co-producer Jonas Kellagher / CommonGround Pictures, co-produced by Film i Väst. Sales by Urban Sales.

Family Time (FI/SE)   Encounters (world premiere)

A humorous and sharp study on family relations: on how we try to find connection, but don’t always succeed. Directed by Tiia Kouvo. Swedish co-producer: Fredrik Lange / Vilda Bomben Film, co-produced by Film i Väst. Sales: The Match Factory.

Heroic (ME/SE) Panorama (European premiere)

Luis, an 18-year-old boy with Indigenous roots, enters the Heroic Military College in hopes of ensuring a better future. There, he encounters a rigid and institutionally violent system designed to turn him into a perfect soldier. Directed by David Zonana. Swedish co-producer: Jonas Kellagher / CommonGround Pictures, co-produced by Film i Väst. Sales by Wild Bunch International.

Read more about the films in the new issue of Swedish Film.

The 73rd Berlin International Film Festival will take place February 16-26.

For interviews with Gizem Erdogan, please contact Aleksandra Mandic: aleksandra@agentfirman.com / +46-736 00 96 20

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