Yellow Bird (company)
Yellow Bird is a Swedish film and television production company founded by novelist Henning Mankell and film producers Ole Søndberg and Lars Björkman. The company was founded to produce films based on Mankell's Kurt Wallander novels.
From 2005 to 2006 13 new stories starring Krister Henriksson as Kurt Wallander were produced. The first film is based on the Linda Wallander novel Before the Frost and was released in cinemas. The rest of the films are original stories based on plots written by Mankell with scriptwriting completed by others. Two more were theatrical releases and the rest were released on DVD and shown on TV. In 2008, a further 13 films were commissioned. Filming began in August 2008, and filming will continue, and releases begin, in 2009. The first of these films, Hämnden (The Revenge), was a theatrical release on 9 January 2009, directed by award-winning Paris-based Franco-Swedish director Charlotte Brändström. The remaining 12 films will be released on DVD and then be broadcast on TV4 at a later date. After filming is completed on the 2009 series, Henriksson will not play Wallander again, having only signed the new contract because he thought the 2005 series could have been better.
As a series, Mankell's Wallander has been nominated for The International TV Dagger at the 2009 Crime Thriller Awards, an awards ceremony presented by British television channel ITV3 and the Crime Writers' Association.
Yellow Bird recently co-produced two English-language series series, starring Kenneth Branagh as Wallander, with the British broadcaster, the BBC. Series 1 premiered in the UK in November 2008 and series 2 aired in January 2010.
The first series won several BAFTAs. Branagh’s portrayal won him the award for best actor at the 35th Broadcasting Press Guild Television and Radio Awards (2009). The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has nominated Branagh for the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television for his performance in One Step Behind.
Stieg Larsson's Millennium books
Yellow Bird produced three films based on Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy. The Millennium books were originally intended to be released as one motion picture and two television mini-series, but popular demand and pressure from the Swedish Film Institute, one of the main financiers behind the films, altered the original plans. The Millennium films have been sold to most European and many Latin American markets. The films will also see a US release.[dated info]
Yellow Bird executive producer Sören Staermose confirmed in an interview with Swedish newspaper Expressen that negotiations are taking place to produce English language Millennium films.[dated info] This would not be a US remake of the Swedish films but rather new Hollywood films based on the books. In the interview he states that the possible US films might be produced in a similar way as the Wallander TV series starring Kenneth Branagh, shooting in Sweden using English speaking actors. He also states that it is up to the director and says that the story could just as well take place in another country, like Canada.
On December 16, 2009 Svenska Dagbladet reported that Sony Pictures Entertainment are in final negotiating with Yellow Bird about the film rights according to Yellow Bird Managing Director Mikael Wallén. Steve Zaillian has been in discussions to adapt the first book.
Liza Marklund's Annika Bengtzon series
The company has acquired film rights to six of best-selling author Liza Marklund's books featuring the criminal reporter Annika Bengtzon. Plans to produce movies for the Scandinavian and international markets are currently underway for each of the six titles: Studio Sex, Prime Time, The Red Wolf, Nobel’s Last Will, Lifetime and A Place in the Sun.
Marklund’s Annika Bengtzon series has a following all over the world. The eight books have sold more than nine million copies internationally and have been translated into 30 languages. Liza Marklund is currently working on the ninth book in the series.
Filming is expected to start at the end of 2010 with an estimated budget of approximately SEK 100 million. 
In March 2009 the company acquired the film rights for Norwegian crime writer Anne Holt's books about inspector Yngvar Stubø and Inger Johanne Vik – a psychologist and lawyer with a previous career in the FBI.
The company recently purchased the rights to Blekingegadeligan, the bestselling book by Danish journalist Peter Øvig Knudsen about The Blekinge Street Gang, a group of about a dozen communist political activists who during the 1970s and 80s committed a number of highly professional robberies in Denmark and sent the money to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The series consists of 8 episodes and was shown on Danish channel DR1 in 2011.
Yellow Bird Germany
Yellow Bird recently produced a 2x90 German TV series based on the Henning Mankell novel Kennedy's Brain. The series is made for broadcaster ARD.The leading role is played by German actress Iris Berben. The series also stars Swedish actors Michael Nyqvist and Rolf Lassgård.
In October 2008, Yellow Bird launched "Yellow Bird Pictures", a subsidiary based in Munich, Germany. The start up is a joint venture between Yellow Bird and producer Oliver Schündler. Yellow Bird Pictures will focus on feature films and TV fiction for the German-speaking market. Initial productions will be based on rights that Yellow Bird already controls.
Notes and references
- Filmbolaget Yellow bird i Ystads säljs - Nöjen - Sydsvenskan - Nyheter dygnet runt[dead link]
- Rehlin, Gunnar (26 March 2008). "TV4 picks up more Wallander pics". Variety (Reed Business Information). Retrieved on 28 November 2008.
- Gerhard, Joakim (20 May 2009). "Slutet för Wallander". Nöje (Kvällstidningen Expressen).
- Allen, Kate (7 September 2009). "Coben, Cole, Atkinson vie for crime awards". The Bookseller. Retrieved 7 September 2009.
- "Kenneth Branagh to star in BBC 'Wallander' series". The Local. 2012-01-26. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- "Shooting begins on three new feature-length Wallander adaptations". Press release (BBC). 2009-05-05. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- Douglas, Torin (27 March 2009). "Winners - 35th BPG Television and Radio Awards". Broadcasting Press Guild. Retrieved on 27 March 2009.
- "Nominations & Winners (2009)". Golden Globe Awards. Retrieved on 15 December 2009.
- "Nordisk Film & TV Fond Yellow Bird Puts SEK 106m Millennium Project In Production". Nordiskfilmogtvfond.com. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- Rehlin, Gunnar (25 October 2007). "Yellow Bird plans Larsson franchise". Variety.
- "[Entrevue exclusive] Le producteur de Millénium nous raconte la création de la trilogie" (in French). Lebuzz.info. 2009. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- ""Män som hatar kvinnor" slår utomlands" (in Swedish). DN.SE. 2009-08-05. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- Rossing, Jorn (2009-10-05). "Music Box takes US rights to Swedish smash Dragon Tattoo". ScreenDaily.com. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- "Nu planeras en amerikansk version av Millenium" (in Swedish). Expressen Nöje. 2009-02-17. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- "Millennium-trilogin till Hollywood | Kultur | SvD" (in (Swedish)). Svd.se. 2009-12-16. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3if667a78777fe70e11a6c9ce587998a4a. Missing or empty
- Rossing, Jorn (2009-09-10). "Yellow Bird seeks to replicate Millennium success with new book deal | News | Screen". Screendaily.com. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- http://www.sfinternational.se/Docs/NewReleases/Movie.aspx?id=72ea7520-cf87-4e7e-b928-93df2b20f4e6[dead link]
- "Mer krim till Ystad". Expressen Nöje. 2009-03-11. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- "Peter Øvig Knudsen - Assens Kommune". Assensbib.dk. 2008-08-20. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- Andreas Relster. "Det er min, min, min!". information.dk. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- "German films: Kennedys Hirn". German-cinema.de. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- "Resumé: Zodiak exporterar Yellow Bird". Resume.se. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- http://www.yellowbirdpictures.de/index.php?option=com_seyret&catid=48&Itemid=15[dead link]