Zaida Bergroth to direct a film on a religious leader of the 1920s

March 1, 2018

The film will be a modern-style epoch which will bring out the tragic, dark events as well as the speed, energy and color of the era. Åkerblom’s character fascinates Bergroth. The shooting of her fourth feature film will begin next summer.

“Maria Åkerblom is a charismatic and controversial young woman who saw people’s fears and dreams, and knew how to take advantage of them. Maria and her frightening power over her followers are immensely interesting subjects for me. What makes a person trust a charismatic leader and give their life over to someone else?” Bergroth asks.

Anna Viitala and Jan Forsström have scripted the film which is set to be shot in Estonia and Finland. The name and actors of the film will be released later. The film is produced by Daniel Kuitunen and Kaisla Viitala from production company Komeetta. The Finnish distribution is handled by Nordisk Film, with an anticipated premiere date in 2019.

Previous success brought international representation for Bergroth

Bergroth’s previous film Miami premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and has been received well internationally. Its success brought Bergroth a contract with the prominent American agency ICM. Bergroth’s agents are Doug MacLaren and Christina Bazdekis whose other clients include Jim Jarmusch, Peter Weir, Thomas Vinterbergh, and Tomas Alfredson.

Synopsis of the film

The 1920s, Kokkola, Finland. Charismatic and angelic Maria Åkerblom leads the members of her ostracized religious sect to Helsinki where they temporarily house themselves in the beautiful Villa Toivola. At nights, Maria falls into a trance and preaches her followers the message brought to her by an angel. One of Maria’s most dedicated followers is the passionately religious teen Salome. But what is hidden behind the magnetically intriguing Maria?

Further information:

Producer Daniel Kuitunen, 040 777 2880,

Press officer Katja Viitalähde-Annala, 050 395 6084,