Benny at The Gothenburg Book Fair’s ‘Cirkeln’ seminar

Post-production work on RMV Film’s adaptation of the bestselling Swedish fantasy novel Cirkeln (The Circle) is nearing completion. Last weekend, Benny and Ludvig Andersson together with the movie’s director Levan Akin, producer Cecillia Mardell and Cirkeln’s authors Sara B Elfgren and Mats Strandberg, participated in a seminar about the project at Scandinavia’s largest literary festival, The Gothenburg Book Fair.

The 45 minute session, listed in the fair’s programme as, The work continues – When a book becomes a film, was led by Radio Sweden’s Lisa Bergström.

During the discussion Levan Akin said that he had initially been attracted to the novel by the girl’s stories rather than the magic and witchcraft. Benny agreed with him: “I think Cirkeln has strong roots in reality,” he said.

The 'Cirkeln' production team on stage at The Gothenburg Book Fair
The ‘Cirkeln’ production team on stage at The Gothenburg Book Fair

Now that the editing process is over and the film’s final cut ‘locked down’, Benny can start recording the soundtrack, but he said that composing the music had proved to be an exceptionally difficult task, as it was the first time in a long while that he had not had free reign to write whatever he wanted. There were times when Levan said, “That is great, but maybe you could do it a little more like this…” Benny recalled.

Sara B Elfgren who co-wrote the screenplay with Levan Akin, spoke of how they had started out with very different ideas for the script, but said that the two versions had gradually knitted together as the project progressed, continually changing and evolving even in the editing room.

She went on to say that although some of the book’s storylines had been altered, for example they have completely written out one of the novel’s central characters, school caretaker Nicolaus, she felt that the movie had remained true to the most important aspects, the girls and their relationships.

“Nicolaus is a significant character in the book, but when you make a film you have to be economical and we wanted to give the girls this space,” Sara explained.

Mats Strandberg agreed: “It’s about how to best tell the story in a way that works on film,” he said. “I am so incredibly impressed at how Sara and Levan have reached smart solutions to effective storytelling,” he praised.

“By moving, removing or adding scenes here or there, you can raise the finished picture by yet another notch, “ Mats explained.

Both Sara and Mats are very happy and proud of how the finished film has turned out. “It has been an incredibly exciting process and I see this as having been the world’s most luxurious course in filmmaking,” Mats said. ”Plus it’s fantastic to see a fantasy film where you do not get angry over sexist jokes!” he added.

Sara said that she believes Cirkeln represents something completely new within the genre of fantasy movies.

Book 2 of the 'Englesfors Trilogy'
Book 2 of the ‘Englesfors Trilogy’

So far, only a  30 second teaser-trailer has been released to the public, however, during the seminar another short clip of the film was unveiled, exclusively, to the book fair’s visitors.

“It was fun to see the first audience response to the film,” Mats said afterwards. “Now I can’t wait to see it when the special effects and music have been added and I am really looking forward to 18 February when the movie premieres!“

Cirkeln, the first book in the Englesfors Trilogy, is classified as teenage fantasy fiction and although the team hope that the Swedish Board of Film Censors will consider the movie suitable for viewing by anyone age eleven or over, Benny thinks that the film will appeal to all generations.

“It is not only aimed at young people but also at people of my age,” he said. “If Cirkeln is well received at the box-office, RMV Film will go on to produce the second and third books, Eld (Fire) and Nyckeln (The Key), too,” Benny confirmed.

The Cirkeln seminar was not the only ABBA related event at this year’s book fair. Ingmarie Halling, curator of ABBA The Museum and co-author of ABBA The Backstage Stories also took the stage at Gothenburg’s Swedish Conference and Congress Centre alongside Jan Gradvall and Bengt Wanselius, creators of ABBA The Official Photobook, for a discussion about the group’s image and the secret of the their success. You can  watch a video of ABBA – The Seminar in Swedish.

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