Yesterday at Göteborg Film Festival, the Talent to Watch program was presented, with pitches for ten Swedish features in development. Queer rom-com The Love Pill by director Naures Sager won the Audience Award for Best pitch.
Poor unsuspecting Zozo is busy being a fashion icon when something horrific comes his way – LOVE. He is secretly falling for his straight(?!?) hunky best friend Malik who is about to get married to their other bestie Darya and somehow all of this starts unraveling on their goddamn wedding day?!? Ye, it’s a lot. And it all starts with a boy's trip and a drug called The Love Pill.
– We're so happy that the audience appreciated our crazy rom-com about queer Middle Eastern superstars. Thank you for this huge honour! says writer-director Naures Sager.
The Love Pill is next headed for the Berlinale's Talent Project Market, as one of ten projects picked up amongst 166 applicants. The film was co-written by Elmira Arikan, produced by Michael Detlef / The Uneven and developed with Film i Skåne and Moving Sweden, a talent program run by the Swedish Film Institute and Sveriges Television.
As the Audience Award winner, The Love Pill will receive a Handling Story session with Copenhagen-based Creative Consultant Paul Tyler, who works with writers, directors and producers to identify and explore themes and helps shape stories to reach their fullest potential.
The pitch event, moderated by Wendy Mitchell, took place on-site at Nordic Film Market, Göteborg Film Festival’s market for Nordic film. The Talent to Watch program is an extensive collaboration between the Swedish Film Institute and the regional film funds in Sweden. The intended outcome of this program is to discover and develop the next generation of Swedish filmmakers, and allow them to establish their voice and sensibility through a first feature film.
Naures Sager is an Iraqi-Swedish filmmaker. Together with Michael Detlef, he is the founder of Malmö-based production company The Uneven which produces LGBTQ+ films, with a focus on people from the Middle East. Earlier productions include short films 1-1 (2020) and Habib & The Thief (2021) both of which have been screened at numerous international festivals.
Read more about all films here: Talent to Watch at Göteborg Film Festival 2023
The ten projects marked Pitching at Nordic Film Market were included in the pitch event.
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.