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FUNDING Sweden

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After five seasons on television, Sweden’s The Sunny Side will return as a feature

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- Directors Måns and Felix Herngren will create the big-screen version with support from the Swedish Film Institute

After five seasons on television, Sweden’s The Sunny Side will return as a feature
Directors Felix and Måns Herngren (© Henrik Montgomery/TT)

Sweden came close to national mourning when in 2015 TV4 – the country’s largest commercial broadcaster – decided to end its most popular comedy series, The Sunny Side, after five seasons, which had registered up to 2.5 million viewers per episode. Named after a part of the municipality of Saltsjöbaden on the Baltic coast, the series starts when a young couple, Alex and Anna, who are expecting their first child, have just moved into Alex’s childhood home there. Alex is reunited with his old friends Frede (who lives with his wife, Mickan) and Ove (along with his boring wife, Anette).

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Their everyday experiences will now return, but on the big screen: the Swedish Film Institute will chip in €840,000 for the silver-screen version of The Sunny Side, by Swedish directors Måns and Felix Herngren, who most recently collaborated on The 101-Year-Old Man Who Skipped Out on the Bill and Disappeared [+see also:
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(2016), which won the Audience Guldbagge, Sweden’s national film prize.

Swedish screenwriter Jesper Harrie, who previously scripted 14 TV episodes of the comedy, will deliver the screenplay, and Emma Nyberg, who staged Mats Lindberg’s Morran & Tobias – The Movie (2016), will produce for a new company, The Sunny Side.

Danish director Pernille Fischer Christensen’s €4.9 million Swedish biopic of children’s author Astrid Lindgren provided producers Lars G Lindström and Anna Anthony with €1.1 million in backing from the institute. Scripted by Denmark’s Kim Fupz Aakeson with Christensen, the Lindgren drama will be produced by Nordisk Film Production-Sverige and Avanti Film, with Germany’s DCM, Swedish regional film centre Film Väst, Sweden’s TV4 and Danish pubcaster DR.

Finally, award-winning Swedish-Iranian director Nima Sarvestani received €160,000 for his new documentary, Prison Sisters, which Maryam Ebrahimi and Farima Karimi will produce for Nima Film. The movie follows two young women who have been released from prison in Afghanistan; as women and former inmates, Sara and Najibeh don’t have the right to exist – Sara’s uncle intends to kill her to reclaim the family’s honour, but she escapes to Sweden, where she applies for asylum. Meanwhile, Najibeh has disappeared – and Sara hears she was stoned to death.

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