Still from the documentary Scheme Birds. Gemma is holding a dove with both hands.
Scheme Birds. Photo by Ellinor Hallin.

Swedish documentary Scheme Birds to compete at Tribeca Film Festival

Nyheter om svensk film

Swedish documentary Scheme Birds, directed by Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin, has been selected to compete at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.

Scheme Birds is set in a poor part of Scotland, plagued by violence, unemployment and criminal gangs. The film follows Gemma, a teenage girl and so-called ‘scheme bird’ known by the local police for often getting into trouble. Behind her tough appearance, Gemma has a close relationship to her grandfather Joseph, who has rejected a life of violence and instead spends his time raising pigeons. Gemma, however, finds it hard to abandon her gang. She falls in love with jailbird Pat and soon finds herself pregnant, risking living a life of crime and hopelessness. Scheme Birds will have its world premier in the Documentary Competition section at Tribeca.

"This feels so incredibly fun, massive, and such an honour!" Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin declare. "The fact that Scheme Birds is competing at Tribeca, a festival with only a few yet very high-quality documentaries, is huge. As directors, we hope that by premiering our debut film at Tribeca, we will establish our filmmaking style and make contacts interested in our breed of storytelling. We hope to continue developing our style and making the same sorts of films in the future."

"Right from the start, we set out to reach as many people with our film as possible and ensure international exposure – which boiled down to securing a great deal of non-Swedish funding. Presenting the film to a North American audience feels fantastic. Gemma and the others in the film are never granted the opportunity to tell their story to anyone outside of the scheme. Finally the entire world can experience their tale."

Ellen Fiske is a director and scriptwriter, a graduate in documentary filmmaking at the Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts. She has both directed and produced a handful of short films, most recently Lone Dads (2016), which follows three single fathers in Scotland, a setting she has returned to on a number of occasions.

Ellinor Hallin is a cinematographer and director. Earlier this year, she was nominated for a Swedish Guldbagge Award for Best Cinematography for her work on Anders Hazelius’ psychological thriller Wasted (2018). Hallin is also the director of photography on Lukas Moodysson’s upcoming television series Gösta for HBO Nordic.

Fiske and Hallin are currently working on documentary Josefin & Florin, which is due for Swedish cinematic release this autumn.

Scheme Birds is a Swedish-Scottish co-production, with Mario Adamson as Swedish producer for Sisyfos Film, and Ruth Reid as co-producer for Scottish Gid Films Ltd. 

The Tribeca Film Festival runs between the 24th of April and the 5th of May.

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