438 Days is based on the true story of the Swedish journalist Martin Schibbye and photographer Johan Persson whom under an assignment in the conflict affected region Ogaden, Ethiopia, were captured, accused of terrorism and sentenced to 11 years in prison. They were pardoned and released from jail after 438 days. After returning to Sweden, they wrote a book on their experiences which was published in 2013. The book reflects their time in jail and is described as a mix of One flew over the cuckoo’s nest and Black Hawk Down – naked and brutal (exposed). The book was an immediate hit and was nominated to the Swedish book prize, Augustpriset in 2013.
”We wanted to investigate how the ruthless pursuit of oil affected the population in the closed and conflicted Ogaden region. We wanted to go beyond the refugee reports and the alarm reports, and with our own eyes find out the truth”, Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson said after they were released.
Today Johan and Martin are delighted that a movie about their experiences has received a greenlight to transform into a motion picture.
"I am very happy with this project. The film will put a spotlight on the Kality prison and the situation in the Ogaden region and I am sure this will bring delight to many captivated colleagues”, says Martin Schibbye in a statement.
”When Johan and Martin were imprisoned I followed it carefully through the reporting in all media. What really happened to them is an extremely fascinating story with many layers based on courage, friendship, love and politics” says director Jesper Ganslandt.
Gustaf Skarsgård is portraying Martin Schibbye and is currently seen in Vikings and Westworld on HBO. Previously he has starred in a number of Swedish and international features and series including feature films such as Arn – The Knight Templar and Kon-Tiki.
Matias Varela is portraying the photographer Johan Persson and had his break-through in the Swedish box-office hit trilogy Easy Money (Snabba Cash). After numerous roles in local productions he also starred in Assassin’s Creed, Point Break and the TV-series Narcos.
Director Jesper Ganslandt had his break-through in Sweden with Farväl Falkenberg in 2003, followed by Apan (2009) and Blondie (2013), both screened at the Venice Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival. Later this year he will release his first English language film, Best of Burden, with Daniel Radcliffe in the lead.
438 Days will be shot in South Africa and in west Sweden during May-July 2018 and is planned for a fall 2019 international theatrical release.
438 Days is produced by Miso Film Sweden, producers Sandra Harms and Karl-Fredrik Ulfung, co-produced by SVT, Film i Väst in cooperation with DO Productions and with support from the Swedish Film Institute, film consultant Calle Martin.
SF Studios will distribute the film in the Nordic countries and also handle international sales.
About SF Studios
SF Studios, founded in 1919, is one of the world’s oldest film companies and the leading film studio in the Nordic region. Its business includes production and distribution of feature films and TV series and the digital services SF Anytime and SF Kids Play. SF Studios has its head office in Stockholm, Sweden and subsidiaries in Oslo, Copenhagen, Helsinki and London, and is part of the leading Nordic media company Bonnier AB.
About Miso Film
Miso Film is a Scandinavian production company founded in 2004 by the producer team Jonas Allen and Peter Bose with offices in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The company stands behind an array of successful TV-series such as VARG VEUM, DICTE, 1864, AQUITTED and upcoming WARRIOR and Netflix’ first Scandinavian original THE RAIN (release may 2018). Also films such as THE CANDIDATE, LONG STORY SHORT and the family films IQBAL FAROOQ. Miso Film Sweden has produced two seasons of the acclaimed TV-series MODUS.