SF Studios greenlights action thriller The Nation’s

15. May 2024
SF Studios greenlights action thriller The Nation’s

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 by a terrorist and disappears without a trace. The terrorist makes only one demand. That the politicians in power are playing 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 human must pay with their life. The politicians and their appointed rescue team, the Delta Squad, are faced with an impossible dilemma: Can they afford to sacrifice other human lives in an attempt to save the prime minister? With only 24 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 Jónsdottir.

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.

I want to create an action thriller that is so gripping and intense that the audience can’t take their eyes off the cinema screen. How do we make choices in a situation we could never fully prepare for? What do we do when the threat is invisible, and the consequences are overwhelmingly vast? In The Nation’s Gambit our government chooses to play the terrorist’s game to buy time, and our hero Anton Block is at the center of it all, undoubtedly a highly demanding role“, 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 include 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. 

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