2021-05-20 17:25Press release

The Ape Star selected for Annecy Animation Festival

Gorilla and Jonna in The Ape Star. Photo: SF StudiosGorilla and Jonna in The Ape Star. Photo: SF Studios

Linda Hambäck’s new film The Ape Star (Apstjärnan) has been selected to compete at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, the world’s leading animation festival. The film is based on Frida Nilsson’s children’s book and voice actors include Stellan Skarsgård, Pernilla August, Rebecca Gerstmann and Melinda Kinnaman.

The Ape Star is the story of Jonna, who has lived at the Renfanan orphanage her whole life and has always dreamt of having a mother. But when a potential candidate drives up to the orphanage in an old car, she gets a big shock when the car door opens and a gorilla steps out. But it soon becomes clear that they have more in common than Jonna could have imagined. Just as Jonna is getting used to the gorilla and the wonderful scrap yard has become her home, Tord from the local authorities shows up and threatens their family life.

The Ape Star world premièred at BUFF, the International Children and Young People’s Film Festival in Malmö, Sweden earlier this year, and has now been selected for the competition at Annecy, the world’s leading festival for animated film.

“Honestly, it feels absolutely amazing! After a difficult year of repeatedly postponed launches, this is a real treat! Annecy has always been a dream festival, and to be selected for the main competition is a huge honour for all of us who’ve been involved with the film,” says Linda Hambäck, director and co-producer of The Ape Star.

Linda Hambäck is one of Sweden’s leading representatives of animated films for children as both director and producer. With the Who films, What if… and The World of Dolores and Gunellen, she has brought joy to many children – and adults – with other exciting stories full of fascinating, quirky characters. Several of Sweden’s leading actors, including Stellan Skarsgård, Pernilla August, Felix Herngren, Mia Skäringer and Melinda Kinnaman, have lent their voices to the characters. Linda Hambäck’s previous film, Gordon & Paddy, was in competition for a Crystal Bear at the 2018 Berlinale. At the Guldbagge Awards Ceremony a year later, she won the Gullspira Award for her contributions to Swedish film for young people.

Young shooting star Rebecca Gerstmann provides the voice of Jonna in The Ape Star, and other voices include Pernilla August (as the gorilla), Stellan Skarsgård, Melinda Kinnaman and Tova Magnusson.

The film is directed by Linda Hambäck, with screenplay by Janne Vierth from the book by Frida Nilsson. The Ape Star is a Swedish-Danish-Norwegian co-production, produced by Petter Lindblad and Hambäck for LEE Film, in co-production with Film i Väst (Peter Possne) and SVT (Anna Croneman), as well as Nørlum of Denmark and Mikrofilm of Norway, and with funding from the Swedish Film Institute, Film Commissioner Jenny Gilbertsson. The film was largely animated at Dockhus Animation in Trollhättan, Sweden. Attraction Distribution is handling international sales, while SF Studios is the distributor in Scandinavia. The Swedish première is set for June 11, and the film will open in French cinemas on September 22.

Some of the Swedish feature-length films to previously compete in Annecy are Per Åhlin’s The Journey to Melonia (1991) and Hundhotellet (2001), and Tarik Saleh’s Metropia (2010). The Swedish-Danish film Beyond Beyond (2014) by Esben Toft Jacobsen was screened out of competition, and was produced by The Ape Star producer Petter Lindblad. Many Swedish short films have also been shown, and winners of the short film award in recent years are Slaves (2009) by David Aronowitsch and Hanna Heilborn, and The Burden (2017) by Niki Lindroth von Bahr.

The Annecy International Animation Film Festival takes place on 15–18 June 2021. Read more here: www.annecy.org

For further information and interview enquiries, please contact the film’s publicist Manlin Sterner: manlin@manlin.se

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