'She Monkeys' Director Lisa Aschan Hands Back Stockholm's $730,000 Grant

Lisa Aschan - P 2011
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Aschan said her new feature, “The Deposit” was “not suitable” for the grant, handing the money over to director Sofia Norlin for her feature “Tenderness.”

COLOGNE, Germany – Up-and-coming Swedish director Lisa Aschan (She Monkeys) has turned down free money in the form of a $730,000 (5 Million Swedish Crowns) bursary from the Stockholm Film Fund towards the production of her second feature, the horror film The Deposit.

Saying her new project, based on a play by Johannes Anyuru and Aleksander Motturi, was “not suitable” for the bursary, Aschan handed back the grant, which will now go to director Sofia Norlin for her next film, Tenderness.

The annual grant from the Stockholm Film Fund, launched last year, rewards female directors in Sweden with fewer than two features to their credit by bankrolling their latest project. Aschan won the inagural award on the strength on her debut, She Monkeys, a story of two female athletes, which won best narrative feature at the Tribeca Film Festival last year.

The fund is part of a larger goal set out by the Swedish Film Institute to ensure that at least 40 percent of Swedish films are written, directed or produced by women.

But Aschan and her producer Anna-Maria Kantarius decided the genre-flavored The Deposit was not the most appropriate project for the fund. The project is still going ahead, however.

Tenderness is set in a mining town in Sweden's far north and focuses on young people trying to set up a new society even as the unstable underground mine threatens to tear everything apart. Actor Sebastian Hiort of Ornas, whose debut was as the troubled school boy with a bomb in Babak Najafi's critically-acclaimed Sebbe, will star.

Oliver Guerpillon is producing for Swedish shingle DFM. Under the terms of the funding, Tenderness has to be finished in time to have its world premiere at this year's Stockholm festival in November. As part of the award, Sweden’s NonStop Entertainment will distribute Tenderness throughout the Nordic and Baltic territories.