HAUGESUND, Norway — Paris-based Versatile has announced a raft of pre-sales on Ninja Thyberg’s debut feature “Jessica,” set in the adult entertianment industry in L.A.
World distributors that have pre-bought the Swedish drama take in Weltkino for Germany/Austria, Xenix for Switzerland, MK2/Mile End for Canada, KTH for South Korea and Movie Could for Taïwan. Several other territories are being negotiated, said Versatile co-founder Pape Boye.
The latest feature offer from Ruben Östlund and Erik Hemmendorff’s Platfform Produktion is one of the most anticipated projects to be pitched at Haugesund’s Nordic Film Market, running Aug. 20-23, and among six contenders for the €50,000 ($55,500) Eurimages Lab Project Award.
Pic is a feature-length version of Thyberg’s short film “Pleasure,” winner of the Canal Plus Critics’ Week Award in 2013 and Sundance foreign short film entry. Jessica is a 20-year-old girl who leaves her native Sweden for L.A. to become the next big porn star. Once there, she realizes it’s not as simple as she initially thought, and she is forced to choose between abiding by the men’s rules and showing solidarity with her female friends. Cast members include Sofia Kappel, Revika Reustle and Dana Dearmond.
“The film will be a human and behind-the-scenes look at the porn industry from a female POV, as well as a study of the power structures in the sector,” said Thyberg who studied sociology and gender studies on top of film. The director, who travelled several times to L.A. to familiarize herself with the sector and gain people’s trust, said her script is fully-based on adult industry-related stories and all actors -cast in different roles- are from the sector.
“There has been movies – like ‘Boogie Nights’ – about the porn business, but this is the very first fiction film that looks at the industry from a female perspective,” noted Thyberg.
The film is produced by Plattform’s co-founder Erik Hemmendorff, with Markus Waltå and Eliza Jones, in co-production with Lemming Film in the Netherlands, Logical Pictures in France, Film i Väst and SVT in Sweden, and with support from the Swedish Film Institute, the Netherlands Film Fund incentive scheme and Nordisk Film & TV Fond. SF Studios handles Nordic distribution.
“Haugesund is a perfect place to launch “Jessica” and introduce it to festival programmers and buyers,” Hemmendorff told Variety.
“Pape Boye and Versatile have already done a great job pre-selling the film. The Eurimages pitch is important. Winning it would help us finalize Ninja’s daring and engaging first feature, just the way we want it to be. We have high ambitions as usual,” he stressed.
Boye added: “Since the first presentation of ‘Jessica’ in Göteborg two years ago, we’ve fallen in love with Ninja’s world, and her way of describing it. This film is not only about porn, but also about free-will, friendship and introspection…and it is beautifully made!”
The Swedish release is set for 2020.