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Simple Simon to represent Sweden in Oscar race

Swedish director Andreas Öhman’s feature debut, Simple Simon (I rymden finns inga känslor), has entered the race for an Oscar nomination as Best Foreign-Language Feature.

The Swedish Film Institute’s 14-member Oscar committee chose its candidate today (Sept 7) only four days after its domestic release through SF Film; so far it has reached about 32,000 admissions from 52 35mm and 52 digital prints.

The team of Öhman, Jonathan Sjöberg and Bonnie Skoog Feeney has previously collaborated on TV series, shorts and novella films. In the Simple Simon case, Öhman co-wrote and directed, Sjöberg co-wrote and co-produced, and Feeney produced.

Starring Bill Skarsgård, Martin Wallström and Cecilia Forss, the film follows Simon, who lives with his older brother Sam and his girlfriend, Frida. Simon suffers from Asperger’s syndrome and doesn’t like changes. Frida finds it difficult to adjust to Simon’s need of rock-solid routines and decides to leave them. Simon wants things as they used to be; when he realises Frida is not coming back, he sets out to find Sam a new girlfriend.

Produced by Naive Film, Simple Simon was originally set up for a package of novella films instigated by Swedish public broadcaster SVT and the Swedish Film Institute. But Ôhman & Co decided 30 minutes were not enough for the story, and made a feature-long version, too.

Most recently they have developed a pilot, JC,  for America’s Comedy Central, an animated programme of Jesus trying to adapt to contemporary life in New York, while God has lost interest in what he once created.

Swedish films have been nominated for the Foreign-Language Oscar 15 times, most recently Kay Pollak’s As in Heaven (Så som i himmelen/2004). Four – including three Ingmar Bergman titles – have won it.

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