SF Studios greenlights action thriller The Nation’s Gambit, REinvent starts pre-sales

15 May 2024

Photographer: Jonas Laumann

SF Studios has greenlit the action thriller The Nation’s Gambit (Norwegian title: En nasjon i sjakk) which will now go into production. The film, directed by Jens Lien and based on Norwegian author Johan Høst’s successful crime novel of the same name, will be adapted into a feature film by the Norwegian production company Stig og Stein Studio with SF Studios and Film i Väst as co-producers. SF Studios will distribute the film in the Nordics, while REinvent handles international sales and has now begun pre-sales in Cannes. The film is planned for a theatrical release during the autumn 2025.

Norway's prime minister is kidnapped and disappears without a trace. The kidnapper makes only one demand; the politicians in power must play a game of chess over the prime minister's life. The chess pieces represent people who work for the state or as leaders in society. If the politicians win the game, the prime minister will live, but every time the terrorist takes a piece, a person must pay with their life. The politicians and their appointed rescue team, the Delta Squad, face an impossible dilemma: Can they sacrifice others in an attempt to save the prime minister? With only 48 hours to win the game and save the prime minister, they have no choice but to play, but with every move they make, death comes closer. And with no leads to go on, could sacrificing a first chess piece give them a clue to find the terrorist?

The Nation’s Gambit is based on Johan Høst’s debut novel, "En nasjon i sjakk", which is the first entry in a planned trilogy, and the story revolves around Delta Squad’s operational leader Anton Block and his right hand Björk Jönsdottir.

The internationally acclaimed and award-winning Jens Lien is directing based on a script by scriptwriter Rakel Kraft Biørnstad and Christopher Grøndahl. Lien has achieved international recognition for his unique visual style and ability to create complex narratives. His debut film Jonny Vang (2003) premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival, and his second film The Troublesome Man (2006) participated in the Toronto International Film Festival and received over 30 international awards, including the "Prix ACID" at Cannes. The Nation’s Gambit will be Lien’s return to feature films after 10 years of directing TV series, such as the HBO hit series Beforeigners.

"The Nation’s Gambit has a remarkably original plot. I look forward to creating a gripping action film that showcases how fragile our democracy is when challenged by cynical and ruthless forces. The strong concept developed by Stig and Stein Studio provides me with the foundation to make a spectacular action film unlike anything seen in Norway", says Jens Lien, director.

The Nation’s Gambit is produced by the Norwegian production company Stig og Stein Studio, with Stig Hjerkinn Haug, Fredrik Støbakk, and Tale Bryn Teigene serving as producers. Co-producers are SF Studios, represented by the team behind The Abyss – SF Studios Distribution's Yaba Holst and SF Studios Production's Joakim Hansson, along with Film i Väst, led by Kristina Börjeson, Head of Production. The film is financed with support from Film i Väst, Filminvest, and private investors.

SF Studios has also acquired the global distribution rights to the film and is distributing it in the Nordics. REinvent Studios is handling international sales and has started pre-sales during the Cannes Film Festival.

“This is a dream project for us at SF Studios! The Nation's Gambit will without a doubt be a great movie, with high speed, action, and excitement. When we read the book two years ago, it was clear to us that the concept and the intense plot would make a fantastic feature film for the big screen. With Jens Lien in the director's chair, the audience will be served world-class entertainment, and we cannot be happier to be a part of this journey", says Silje Glimsdal, Senior Acquisition Manager at SF Studios.

For information on international sales, please contact:
Helene Aurø, Sales and Marketing Director, REinvent International Sales, helene.auro@reinvent.dk, +45 23 42 00 07, 52 Rue D'Antibes, Cannes

For more information, please contact:
Silje Glimsdal, Senior Acquisition Manager, SF Studios, silje.glimsdal@sfstudios.dk,
+45 24 40 08 02

About SF Studios
SF Studios, established in 1919, is one of the world’s oldest film companies. Today SF Studios is the leading film studio in the Nordic region with its headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden and offices in Oslo, Copenhagen and Helsinki. The company is producing and distributing feature films and TV series as well as providing the streaming service SF Anytime. SF Studios is part of the leading Nordic media company Bonnier.

About REinvent International Sales
REinvent is a packaging, sales and financing studio all in one. REinvent has extensive knowledge of original trends and sales opportunities in both the Scandinavian and international markets and works with high profile European production companies.