After 16 years, Tsatsiki returns to the screen – and to Greece
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- Moni Nilsson’s children’s book character comes back to life in Lisa James Larsson’s Tsatsiki, Dad and the Olive War, shooting from this week in Crete
Sixteen years after eight-year-old Tsatsiki first appeared on the screen in Swedish director Ella Lemhagen’s Tsatsiki, Mum and the Policeman, he will return to cinemas in Tsatsiki, Dad and the Olive War, which will start principal photography today (4 May) and will mainly be shot on location in Crete.
Based on Swedish author Moni Nilsson’s children’s book character, the 1999 family feature from Anne Ingvar (for Felicia Film) introduced the boy from Stockholm who dreamt of finally going to Greece to meet his father, a Greek fisherman, while his singer-guitarist mother fantasised about becoming a rock star. The film won a Crystal Bear at the Berlinale and received four Guldbagges, Sweden’s national film prize.
After a 2001 follow-up, Tsatsiki – Friends Forever, the character has since lived in Nilsson’s books, which have been translated into more than 20 languages. Nilsson has herself delivered the screenplay for Tsatsiki, Dad and the Olive War, which will be directed by Lisa James Larsson (Ego/2013) and produced by Susann Billberg and Lotta Westberg for Jarowskij. Nordisk Film Sweden will handle the domestic release in December.
“It will be the best film ever, as Tsatsiki would say – now it is almost unreal to watch Tsatsiki, Hammarn and Alva stepping out of the pages,” declared Nilsson. “I want to breathe life into Moni’s script with humour, energy and respect for her wonderful characters,” added Larsson, who wishes to make “a warm and entertaining film for the whole family”.
Starring alongside Adam Gutniak, Sara Vilén, Liv Mjönes, Jonatan Rodriguez and Christine Meltzer, Emrik Ekholm will play Tsatsiki as he heads to Greece to see his father – but the village is not quite as he remembers it. Guesthouses and restaurants are empty: Greece is in crisis. But Tsatsiki has learned never to give up, so together with a 12-year-old girl, Alva, he takes on a mission to save the local hotel.