Svesnk prod'n boss Mardell to exit

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COLOGNE, Germany -- Johan Mardell, head of production at Scandinavian major Svesnk Filmindustri, is stepping down at the end of March to begin a new career as an independent producer, the company said Monday.

As production head since 2003, Mardell has overseen SF films ranging from Reza Bagher's art house comedy "Popular Music" (2004) to the medieval epic "Arn -- The Knight Templar," at $30 million the most expensive Scandinavian film of all time. He also shepherded SF's impressive TV slate including the politically charged miniseries "Crown Princess" and the popular "Van Veeteren" detective series.

"Johan Mardell has played a most important part in the development and increased production activities the last few years," Svensk president and CEO Rasmus Ramstad said. "As he now chooses to leave the company and play an independent role as producer, we wish him the best of luck. We will of course try to find ways of cooperating with him in the future."

Mardell will stay on with Svensk as an executive producer on "Arn 2," which is in postproduction.

As he ends production on Scandinavia's biggest-ever film project, Mardell said he feels "the time is right to change directions" and set himself up as an independent producer.

Svensk is now recruiting a new head of production.
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