2021-08-31 11:57Press release

Three Swedish co-productions to world premiere in Venice

Costa Brava Lebanon. Photo © Abbout ProductionsCosta Brava Lebanon. Photo © Abbout Productions

Three Swedish co-productions will premiere at this year’s Venice Film Festival. Anthology film Isolation, with Swedish Olivier Guerpillon as both co-director and co-producer, will be screened as a Special Event. Guerpillon is also the co-producer behind Costa Brava Lebanon, directed by Mounia Akl. Michel Franco's film Sundown will screen In Competition. The festival will also debut HBO mini-series Scenes from a Marriage, a remake of Ingmar Bergman’s acclaimed 1973 Swedish tv series.

Isolation – Special Event

Isolation is a collective documentary feature by five European directors portraying local dramas and responses to the pandemic, each of them from an intimate perspective. Each director oversees a 15–20-minute segment of the film, exploring a specific situation that the pandemic and the lockdown have generated. They offer their personal points of view with creative freedom and an emotional approach to the unprecedented events of these days, involving social, economic, psychological and existential issues.  

Swedish producer-director Olivier Guerpillon is behind Liberty, Equality, Immunity, with Michael Winterbottom, Jaco van DormaëlJulia von Heinz and Michele Placido directing the other four segments. 

– This is unreal! It’s a dream come true to be able to present your own film in Venice, especially when the film is as personal as Isolation. I feel happy and privileged to have been given the chance to direct the Swedish contribution in this unusual project, together with filmmakers I admire, as well as shed light on questions I’ve pondered during the pandemic. As a producer it’s also beyond belief to be able to present two films in Venice, Isolation and Costa Brava Lebanon. I’m delighted for the Costa Brava Lebanon team who has worked so hard to create the film, despite the tough circumstances in Lebanon, says Olivier Guerpillon.

Costa Brava Lebanon – Orrizonti Extra

Swedish co-production Costa Brava Lebanon will screen in the festival’s new official section Orrizonti Extra, in competition for both the Audience Award and the Luigi de Laurentiis Award for a Debut Film. The film, a co-production between Lebanon, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, France and Spain, is about the Badri family who lives in isolation in Lebanon’s mountains. When the government inaugurates a landfill outside their fence, everything they escaped catches up with them. Lead producer is Abbout Productions (Myriam Sassine, Georges Schoucair) in Lebanon, Swedish co-producer is Olivier Guerpillon, Fox in the Snow films. The film is the feature debut for Lebanese director Mounia Akl and stars actress-director Nadine Labaki.

Costa Brava Lebanon has received financial support from The Swedish Film Institute, former Film Commissioner Madeleine Ekman, and Film i Skåne. Folkets Bio is the Swedish distributor, with international sales handled by MK2 Films.

The film will also screen at the upcoming Toronto Film Festival.

Director-producer Olivier Guerpillon grew up in France and is since many years living and working in Sweden. He has directed a number of well-received short films that have screened at numerous international film festivals, for instance In/Out (2015). He was also co-writer for the Swedish feature film While we live (2016) by Dani Kouyaté which was awarded at the African Academy Awards 2017. Guerpillon has also produced Sound of Noise by Ola Simonsson and Johannes Stjärne Nilsson (Cannes 2010), Broken Hill Blues by Sofia Norlin (Berlinale and Tribeca 2014), and recently short film Earthbound (2021) and feature film Glacier (2021), both directed by Baker Karim.

Sundown – In Competition 

Mexican filmmaker Michel Franco returns to Venice after his political allegory New Order won the Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize at last year's festival. In Sundown, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Tim Roth play members of a wealthy UK family whose holiday in Acapulco is cut short by a distant emergency.

Sundown is a Mexican-French-Swedish co-production, produced Mexico’s Teorema produces in association with France’s Luxbox, and Swedish Common Ground Pictures, producer Jonas Kellagher, and Film i Väst. International sales: The Match Factory.

Scenes from a Marriage – Out of Competition

Additionally, HBO’s Scenes from a Marriage will have its world premiere in Venice. The mini-series, developed and directed by Hagai Levi, is an English-language remake of Ingmar Bergman’s tv series which originally screened in Sweden in 1973 (and was followed by a theatrical version that became an international hit). In Bergman’s series the leads were Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson; the new version stars Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac. The series was produced by MediaRes and Endeavor Entertainment in co-operation with Swedish production company Filmlance (Lars Blomgren and Daniel Bergman). Scenes from a Marriage will premiere September 12 on HBO.

The 78th Venice International Film Festival will take place on September 1-11.

Topics: Venice

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