‘Vikings’ Thorbjørn Harr Joins Göteborg Nordic Film Market’s ‘Sex Dreams Love”‘

Acclaimed Norwegian  helmer Dag Johan Haugerud (“Beware of Children”) has attached actors Thorbjørn Harr (“Vikings,” “22 July”) as well as Jan Gunnar Røise (“Pørni”, “In Order of Disappearance”) for the title roles in “Sex,” one of three pics with “Dream” and “Love” that form part of a trilogy about sexuality, longing and transgression. 

The project is being produced by Yngve Sæther and Hege Hauff Hvattum for Motlys, in association with Viaplay and the local theatrical distributor Arthaus.

“Sex Dreams Love” will be pitched as a works in progress at the forthcoming Göteborg Film Festival’s parallel Nordic Film Market, which runs Feb. 2-5.

Harr and Røise earned respectively a Norwegian Amanda film award for best supporting actor and best actor for Haugerud’s “Beware of Children,” which snagged a 2020 Dragon Award for best Nordic film at Göteborg.

In “Sex,” set to start shooting this spring, the actors play two colleagues who in different ways are struggling with their sexuality. Inspired by Kristof Kieslowski’s “Three Colors Trilogy: Blue, White, Red,” “Sex Dreams Love” is a ground-breaking cinematic work in its artistic and financing framework, explained Haugerud’s long-time producer Yngve Sæther of Motlys.

“In line with ‘Blue, White Red,’ the trilogy consists of independent but thematically interconnected works, tackling existential problems, but Dag Johan’s films will be lighter in tone, even funny in some parts, which should make them accessible to a wide audience. The three pics will explore sexuality – with a queer angle, how we use our bodies, language, how we look at ourselves in terms of gender, to figure out what our inner longings and dreams might be,” said the producer.

Sæther says another ambition was to portray different parts of Oslo across different seasons, so that each film would benefit from mirroring each another. Shot in the summer and fall of 2022, “Love” and “Dreams” are currently in the cutting room, with ”Sex” due to kickstart late April.

Toplining the pics “Love” and “Dreams” are respectively Andrea Bræin Hovig (“Hope”) and Ella Overbye, both cast as well in “Beware of Children.”

Credit: Mostlys/Agnete Brun

Sæther who set the budget for the three-pic slate at around $4.1 million, says having Viaplay on board was crucial to get it off the ground. “We could not have made it without them as it’s very rare to finance three movies in one go. They loved the project from day one and came on board very early,” he noted.

Scandinavia’s leading streamer will launch the pic trilogy in 2024, following a cinema release and hopefully a festival platform to create buzz. 

In Norway, Arthaus has secured a 60-day exclusive holdback period and aims to release the first pic “Sex” in February 2024.

A second Motlys feature project involving Viaplay and Arthaus in a split-rights deal, is Kaveh Tehrani’s comedy “Listen Up!” starring Bafta-nominee Asim Chaudhy (“People Just do Nothing”) and newcomers Mohammed Ahmed and Liza Haider. The warm-hearted comedy co-penned by Erlend Loe (“North”) and Nora Landsrød (`Stockholm Bloodbath’) is based on Gulraiz Sharif’s best-selling eponymous novel.

“Listen Up!” is set for a September 2023 cinema launch in Norway, followed by a premiere on the streamer Viaplay.

One of Norway’s longest-standing production outfits, Motlys has produced over the last four decades some of the country’s most internationally lauded films including Joachim Trier’s ”Oslo, August 31st.,” “Louder than Bombs” and Maria Sødahl’s “Hope,” on top of NRK’s soccer hit show “Home Ground”.

The prodco is behind one of Norway’s most anticipated series of the year: NRK’s “Power Play,” from “Home Ground” scribe Johan Fasting.

Yngve Sæther and Dag Johan Haugerud
Credit: Lars Olav Dybvig / Fin-Serck Hansen

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