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DISTRIBUTION Scandinavia

SF puts out heavy artillery for Arn

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Arn: The Knight Templar is this year’s big holiday event movie in Sweden and, to some extent, in Norway. The most expensive project ever made in Scandinavia will be released by Svensk Filmindustri (SF) on 205 screens in Sweden on Christmas Day (including 37 digital prints) and on almost 70 screens in Norway on December 26.

“No other Swedish film has had such a massive print run,” said Eva Svendenius, SF’s head of theatrical distribution in Sweden. “In comparison, the last Lord of the Rings film, which was released by SF, had ‘only’ 160 prints.”

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The SEK210m (around €22.2m) project based on the best-selling novels by Jan Guillou consists of two feature films and a TV series for Scandinavia. The film was produced by SF in co-production with Germany’s Telepool (who kept rights for France, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Eastern Europe), the UK’s Sheba Productions, Film i Väst, SVT, DR, YLE, TV2 Norway, Dagsljus and ESP, with support from the Swedish and Danish film institutes, Nordisk Film & TV Fond and Eurimages.

SF is currently editing the sequel as well as the international version, which is a combination of both feature films. “We didn’t want to go for two feature films internationally because the story is not as well known as in Scandinavia,” stressed SF’s Head of Production Johan Mardell.

The film is the story of Arn Magnusson (newcomer Joakim Nättervist), born in western Sweden in 1150. He grows up to become an educated man and a skilled swordsman. He falls in love with Cecilia (Sofia Helin) but the two are forced apart and Arn is sent away as a Knight Templar to the Holy Land, where war is raging between Christians and Muslims. Other key cast members include Stellan Skarsgård, Simon Callow, Vincent Perez and Bibi Andersson.

After Sweden and Norway, SF will release Arn: The Knight Templar on January 10 in Denmark and on February 22 in Finland. The second feature film should be ready for a Scandinavian premiere next August and the international version for August/September 2008.

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