Momento Film, the leading Swedish banner founded by David Herdies (“Winter Buoy”) and Michael Krotkiewski (“Bellum — The Daemon Of War”), is boasting a slate of projects including the documentaries “Leaving Jesus” and “The Underdog,” as well as Simón Mesa Soto’s “A Poet.”
While at Cannes, the banner also started teasing one of its biggest project so far, “The Swedish Torpedo,” Frida Kempff (“Winter Buoy”)’s period film inspired by the life of Sally Bauer, the first Scandinavian to swim across the English Channel in 1939. “The Swedish Torpedo” will start shooting in August with a topnotch cast led by Josefin Neldén (“Border,” “438 Days”), Mikkel Boe Følsgaard (“Royal Affair,” “Borgen”), as well as Lisa Carlehed (“The Emigrants”).
Co-produced by Sweden, Estonia, Belgium and England, the film opens in 1939, as Europe is on the brink of war. Sally, a 30-year-old single mom, dreams of being the first European woman to cross the English Channel. While society and her family pushes her to follow her duties as a mother, she breaks free from conventions to pursue her dreams.
“The Swedish Torpedo,” penned by Marietta von Hausswolff von Baumgarten, marks the third directorial outing of Kempff, who previously won the Cannes jury prize with her short film “Micky Bader” and helmed “Knocking” which played at Sitges, among other festivals. Kempff said “The Swedish Torpedo” was a “story that needs to be told, about a woman who accomplished the impossible and shattered both social norms and world records.”
The banner is also soon completing “Madame Luna,” Daniel Espinosa’s (“Morbius,” “Easy Money”) drama about an Eritrean refugee who became a notorious human smugglers in Libya and was connected to the Italian Mafia. Penned Maurizio Braucci and Suha Arraf, “Madame Luna” is represented in international markets by Goodfellas.
“‘Madame Luna’ is a darling for me. Like ‘The Swedish Torpedo,’ this is a film portraying a strong woman and that goes a long way. I’ve been working on it for almost ten years,” said Herdies.
Momento Film, whose credits include some hit documentaries such as Eloy Domínguez Serén’s “Hamada,” is also currently in post production with “Leaving Jesus,” a docu directed by Ellen Fiske about a group of Christian ex-fundamentalists who come together at a retreat in San Fransisco to free themselves from their communities and traumas. Fiske previously directed “Scheme Birds” which won Tribeca’s best documentary and best new documentary director (shared with Ellinor Hallin) in 2019.
“‘Leaving Jesus’ is about the people who have grown up in religious cult environments in the U.S. and who have decided to leave that behind them and find a way forward in society,” said Krotkiewski. He pointed out that the project reflected Fiske’s own spiritual quest. “She grew up in a family where there was no religion and wondered how to would be to grow up in a structure where everything is about religion,” Krotkiewski continued.
Herdies is producing the documentary with Michael Krotkiewski and Mirjam Gelhorn at Momento, with Helle Faber at Danish outfit Made in Copenhagen, as well as Anit Rehoff Larsen, Tone Grøttjord-Glenne and Helen Prestgard at Norway’s Sant & Usant.
Momento is also developing “The Underdog,” about the famed Swedish rapper Douglas León whose stage name is Dogge Doggelito. “Dogge Doggelito is Sweden’s first rapper. Back in the early 90’s, he created a band called a group called the Latin Kings and is kind of a pioneer because he’s one who invented Swedish hip hop and put the urban culture from suburbs on the map,” said Herdies. Today, Doggelito is struggling to make ends meet and support his family with small gigs. The doc will be directed by Iván Blanco, a Chilean Swedish director who met Doggelito in strange circumstances in Colombia and decided to make a film about him, said Herdies, who is producing with Simon Klose (Nonami) and Michael Krotkiewski.
Along with these projects, the company is co-producing “A Poet,” a drama directed Colombian filmmaker Simón Mesa Soto whose drama feature “Amparo” won a prize at Cannes’ Critics Week and played at San Sebastian, among other festivals. The film will revolve around Óscar Restrepo, a poet who meets a humble teenager and helps her cultivate her talent.
Herdies is producing “A Poet” with Juan Sarmiento, Mesa Soto and Katharina Bergfeld. “A Poet” will mark Momento’s third collaboration with Mesa Soto, following “Amparo” and the short film “Madre.”
Here’s a still of “Madame Luna” (copyright: Juan Sarmiento G.):