Swedish independent film distribution Swedenbased company SWE Media AB has been racking its brain for a few years about what it would do when the streaming services decided to pimp them out and force them to make movies on demand. SWE Media was popular in the late ‘90s when it released psychological thrillers like The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and Ingmar Bergman classics like Aron’s Last Stand. In the 2000s, it started making feature films and signed collaborations with big names including Damien Chazelle, Oscar winner Jennifer Kent, and Alejandro Iñigo Martín. But now? Not much of anything but memories of old friends at a conference in Stockholm. So, what will it do next? Film distribution is all but extinct in Sweden and even fewer companies have put their name right on the map. SWE Media thinks that’s because they don’t really have one. They didn’t even know where to start looking for investors until recently when a new project came along that captured their attention. It was called Northmill 30m which translates from Swedish as “a major Nordic country”; this gave them an idea of what it would take to go through with this project — a big budget political thriller starring Idina Menzel and Jon Heder as politicians who have been caught up in a war between two rival parties in eastern Europe. So far, so good… *It’s not exactly going to be easy finding an
movies. Only the Sundance channel involved themselves with this one
Even though the Sundance Channel is just a part of the Disney/F guts, it’s not really a part of the Northmill 30m series. The whole thing is a successful Kickstarter campaign and a bit of a publicity exercise for the company. It’s not exactly a film that’s going to be found on a regular TV schedule. But the Sundance event, where the film was shot, is an important part of the Swedish film landscape and SWE Media has lots of connections there. As one of the organizers and executives of the event, they’re bound to be in the know about any upcoming projects or interests of the staff. Additionally, the financing and production is all set for about a million dollars. Which is about one-fifth of the production budget for the whole thing.
It’s a Swedish production
The themes of the film are much brighter than the Dark Horse Project and The Next Wall. Northmill 30m is actually an ethnographic travelogue about the life of a family in eastern Europe who have settled in Sweden and are trying to wake up the sleeping giant that is western Europe’s sleeping giant. The movie is shot in a modern, post-apocalyptic setting and features some great performances from the film’s stars. Idina Menzel is particularly impactful as the proud Swedish mother of two and Sweden leader of the opposition party. The film also starsEN-dish’s Idol Olympiad winner Timothy Hutton, who plays the family patriarch. The film’s script is based on a novel of the same name by Danuta Häggström, who also happens to be a co-founder of SWE Media. The movie will have a limited release in Sweden on May 29th and will also include a music video for the opening track “Overground”.
They want to produce their own content
After being funded in less than a day, the campaign is already completely funded and headed to production. The film will be made as a series, with each episode focusing on a different theme or world-building concept. The first few episodes are meant to be released as a single, like the first movie, complete with soundtrack and poster, while the others will be released as companion pieces, like a guide to the country and its culture, a travel guide to the city, or a guide to the environment. The grand total will be about one-fifth of the film’s budget, which will be used to create brand-new digital content, like a feature-length documentary on the project, or a collection of short videos, each with a different theme, theme music, and cover art.
The money is already there
This one might sound like an exaggeration, but it’s the truth. The entire production costs will be paid for with money already tied up in development and pre-production. The film’s first draft, which was finished in six months, was funded with about a quarter of a million dollars from a reliable source that knows of money-saving tricks. The rest of the money will come from silent-picture releases and Indiegogo campaigns, where SWE Media has been a consistent champion, raising more than $100,000 in less than a week for projects like this one. They’re also going to be working with investment banks to help them raise money, as well as with a variety of other venture capitalists and businesspeople, who will help them raise money for the project.
The world-premiere will be in Sweden
Thought to be the most-visited film in history, Northmill 30m is also the most ambitious project that SWE Media has ever undertaken. It’s a movie that’s dedicated to telling the story of eastern Europe and its relationship with western Europe, while being very much a part of that story, too. The idea is to go beyond the technical stuff, to the point where audiences get the full story behind the beautiful visuals, and experience the much more than a “best of” list of the film’s achievements. That’s why this is the world’s most ambitious film to premiere in Sweden, at the country’s biggest national theater. The film is expected to be shown in about a dozen cities throughout Europe, Asia, and North America before it is released in a box-office package.
It’s not exactly going to be easy finding an
It’s not exactly an easy project to make, either. The scripts are long, the story is complex, and the actors are all pretty different. The only people who can take up the production are the right people. The people who have the wherewith to make a film in the first place. So far, no one’s been able to pull off the part-time job of directing or writing a movie, but everyone seems to have their own idea and are willing to try. That’s a good sign and means that the project is well on its way.
#Is Northmill 30m the right project for SWE Media?
The answer to this one is definitely yes. While the financial projections for the project aren’t necessarily off-base, the production and distribution challenges are. You need a lot of money to make a budget for this, to have the people you hired to help you with the project understand the production process, and you need people who can help you sell tickets to the show. Especially since this is the most expensive film in history. The price of entry is practically nothing, and SWE Media has to show the public that this isn’t just a movie, but that it can compete with the best. For all these reasons, it’s likely that the project will go down as one of the most ambitious film projects in Sweden’s history.