More Swedish films to Toronto International Film Festival

Swedish Film Institute's picture

Short films The Burden by Niki Lindroth von Bahr and Push It by Julia Thelin, as well as feature films The Wife by Björn Runge and Thelma by Joachim Trier, are now officially slated for the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival in September.

The Burden and Push It will be screened in the Short Cuts section, The Wife will be featured in the Gala Presentations and Thelma will be shown in the Special Presentations section. As previously announced, Ruben Östlund's satirical Palme d'Or winning The Square will be screened in the Special Presentations section, while Janus Metz's Borg/McEnroe will become the first-ever Swedish film to open the entire festival.

Niki Lindroth von Bahr's animated short film The Burden kicked off 2017 by winning the Best Swedish Short Award at the Gothenburg Film Festival. The film then went on to compete at Quinzaine des Réalisateurs (Directors' Fortnight) in Cannes, and a brief month later was awarded a Cristal, the highest accolade at the world's leading animation festival, Annecy International Animated Film Festival, in France.
The Burden takes place at a shopping centre situated next to a major motorway, which provides the setting for an apocalyptic musical composed of auto-tuned music by Klungan. A film about liberation through a major catastrophe. Produced by Kalle Wettre for Malade AB, the film received funding from the Swedish Film Institute's prior short-film commissioner Andreas Fock.

Push It by Julia Thelin was one of nine short films selected out of nearly 5,000 submissions to compete in the Short Film Palme d'Or competition in Cannes. Push It also competed for the Best Swedish Short Award at the Gothenburg Film Festival earlier this year. Push It is the story of Adam, a king in the gymnastics hall. Hedda's efforts to challenge his position are not met with the results she had expected. In a precise and matter-of-fact manner, the film explores what is perceived and what is appreciated, and how group dynamics uphold hierarchical systems. Push It is produced by Eliza Jones and Markus Waltå for Grand Slam Filmproduktion AB.

The Swedish co-production The Wife by Björn Runge, with Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce and Christian Slater in leading roles, has been selected for the festival's Gala Presentations section. The film is an adaptation of Meg Wolitzer's 2003 novel of the same name, and is the tale of a woman who sacrificed both her talents and dreams to support her charismatic husband and his skyrocketing literary career. Having built their relationship on ground potholed with inequalities, she has now reached her breaking point. On the evening her husband is due to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, the crowning glory of his success story, she finally decides to denounce their greatest secret. Swedish co-producers include Peter 'Piodor' Gustafsson for Spark Film & TV along with Film i Väst, Chimney and SF Studios. The film received funding from the Swedish Film Institute's feature-film commissioner Yaba Holst.

Norwegian Joachim Trier's Thelma, a Swedish co-production, is a romantic supernatural thriller about a young woman who, upon falling in love, discovers the frightening, inexplicable powers she possesses. Trier co-wrote the script with Eskil Vogt. The leading role is played by Eili Harboe, and the film also features Okay Kaya, Ellen Dorrit Petersen and Henrik Rafaelsen. Thelma will have its world premiere as the opening film at the Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund in late August. The Swedish co-producer is Mattias Nohrborg for B-Reel Films, with funding from the Swedish Film Institute's feature-film commissioner Yaba Holst.

The filmmakers
Niki Lindroth von Bahr is a trained scenographer, and creates the props for her own films. Her previous short films include One Night in Moscow (2008), Gulbagge-nominated Tord and Tord (2010) and Bath House (2014). Von Bahr has won awards for her shorts at film festivals in Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, Brussels, Abu Dhabi, Fredrikstad and Baden. In addition she created the puppets for Johannes Nyholm's Las Palmas, which was screened at Quinzaine des Réalisateurs in 2011.

Julia Thelin is a director and scriptwriter. She studied film at Fridhem's Folk High School (2011-13) and scriptwriting at Brobygrafiska (2014-15). The human body always plays a crucial role in her films.

Björn Runge (Happy End, Mouth to Mouth) had his feature-film debut in 1996 with Harry & Sonja. In 2003 he won two Swedish Guldbagge Awards (Best Director and Best Screenplay) for Daybreak, which went on to win a Silver Bear in Berlin.
Director and scriptwriter Joachim Trier was awarded the Stockholm Film Festival's top prize – the Bronze Horse for Best Film – in both 2011 for Oslo, August 31st and in 2015 for Louder Than Bombs. Having studied at the European Film College in Denmark and the National Film and Television School in the UK, Trier had his feature-film debut in 2006 with Reprise. Trier has been awarded multiple awards at festivals around the world for his work as both a director and scriptwriter, and will be attending Toronto for the fourth time.

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