Berlinale 2023: Beta Cinema secures pre-sales for "Hammarskjöld" and "The Offing"

The deals for the title are announced ahead of the Berlin International Film Festival EFM.

14 FEB 2023

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Beta Cinema confirmed plans to kick off presales for its working title, “Hammarskjöld,” an adaptation of the story of a UN Secretary General and Nobel Peace Prize winner, who devoted his life to ending colonization at EFM. The company also unveiled secured pre-sales ahead of the Berlin International Film Festival on the big screen adaptation of “The Offing,” the bestselling novel by Benjamin Myers. 

Francis Chouler, Cian Barry, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Colin Salmon, Richard Brake, Sara Soulié and Thure Lindhardt star in “Hammarskjöld” alongside Mikael Persbrandt. The title,  shot by John C. Rosenlund is produced by Patrick Ryborn of Swedish production house Unlimited Stories in co-production with Nordisk Film, SVT, C More, Film i Väst, Nordsvensk Filmunderhållning AB, Maipo A/S. It is supported by the Swedish Film Institute, the Norwegian Film Institute and the Nordic Film & TV Fund. 

The English-language flagship production by Beta Nordic Studios’ Swedish powerhouse Unlimited Stories serves as the first international collaboration since Beta Nordic Studios acquired a share of 51 % in the company in 2021. Shooting wrapped recently, postproduction including extensive vfx work is expected to take until Q3 2023. Nordisk Film is distributing in Scandinavia. Beta Cinema holds all rights outside of Scandinavia and will present first exclusive footage to buyers in Berlin.“For several years I have been fascinated by Dag Hammerskjöld and his idealistic struggle for a better and fairer world. With Dag, the dream of a strong UN came to an end, and the last nine months of his life delivered the tragic plot to a thriller drama about greed, violence and longing – set in the terrifying world of the Cold War where the killing of politicians was a part of normal affairs,” says Per Fly, director and co-screenwriter.

The story is set in the peak of the Cold War in 1961 in the UN headquarters in New York City. The diplomat and economist Dag Hammarskjöld has reached the pinnacle of his power, serving as Secretary General of the United Nations in his seventh year. After decolonization, he takes it upon himself to bring peace to the African countries, thwarting plans to further exploit resources of both powerful entrepreneurs and world leaders. His life is turned upside down when his old friend Peter shows up in New York. Dag realizes that he has missed out on an important part of life and starts questioning his unprecedented devotion and dedication to his job and vision. When UN peacekeepers are killed in open battle in the Congo, Dag sees no other way than to enforce by new means, leading UN troops into their first wartime operation. Well aware that his enemies might gather to plot against him, he boards a plane in a final desperate attempt to negotiate a cease-fire.

“Based on historical facts and including the results of recent investigations, this gripping political thriller puts one of mankind’s most respected diplomats into the limelight. His uncompromising moral stance will inspire audiences world-wide,” Tassilo Hallbauer, Head of Sales & Acquisitions at Beta Cinema said. “And to see how much he sacrificed for peace makes for highly emotional, unforgettable moments. We can’t wait to bring the story of the idealistic visionary, who ended colonization to the EFM.”

Jessica Hobbs will direct “The Offing,” based on the international bestseller of the same name by Walter Scott Prize-winner Benjamin Myers, alongside Helena Bonham Carter, who will star in the leading role and serve as Executive Producer. ” A tale of an unlikely friendship, “The Offing” is produced by Charlotte Walls and Emily Barttelot at independent producer Catalyst Global Media, who developed the film with support from Beta Cinema. Seasoned writer Amy Roberts is adapting the screenplay. Shooting is scheduled to take place later this year.

“We immediately felt very strongly about this very modern, warm-hearted and funny take on a period drama,” Tassilo Hallbauer, Beta Cinema’s Head of Sales & Acquisitions, said. “The characters, the language, the unapologetic nature of our heroine, make this film vastly contemporary and relevant.’ The Offing’ is incredibly charming, extremely entertaining and truly uplifting – exactly what audiences around the world want to see right now."

“The Offing” followed 16-year-old Robert, the son of a miner who sets out to see a little more of the world before he follows his father down the pit. He gets as far as Dulcie (Bonham Carter), a hard drinking, foul-mouthed, bohemian recluse several times his age. Under her eccentric tutelage, his life opens up to food, girls, and the transformative beauty of poetry as Dulcie recognises a potential in Robert that he doesn’t yet see in himself. But while Dulcie’s cottage and garden by the sea are idyllic, this place holds a tragic secret about Dulcie’s great love. When Robert discovers the truth, his brave and tender friendship compels Dulcie to open her own heart and re-engage with the world. Their encounter is a riotous clash of experience, personality and perspective which will leave them both forever changed.

“‘The Offing’ presents the notion that being introduced to the right person can transform your life forever,” Helena Bonham Carter said. “Dulcie teaches Robert how to live - everyone needs a Dulcie Piper in their life! And Robert, after uncovering Dulcie's secret, leads her to peace. From the beginning I wanted Jessica Hobbs on board. She is so brilliant with character and rigorous about being authentic with following the psychological and emotional story. If we can succeed in capturing an iota of Benjamin Myers’ novel the film will be beautiful and a life enhancer. In Jessica’s hands I have little doubt we will.”