Fredrik Gertten

2005 59 min.

Original Version in English with Catalan or Spanish subtitles

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Technical specs

    • Director: Fredrik Gertten
    • Producer: WGFilm
    • Coproducers: Film i Skåne, Joaquim Strand, RTVVSpain. Associated with  TV ONTARIO Canada, YLE TEEMA Finland, NPS The Netherlands, ORF Austria and ETV Estonia.Supported by Sparbanksstiftelsen Skåne, Konstnärsnämnden, Kultur Malmö, MEDIA.
    • Suitable for all audiences



A dramatic, behind-the-scene-story about the building of Santiago Calatravas Turning Torso in Malmö. A 190 meter high, twisted residential building which was appointed “worlds best residential building project” at Mipim in Cannes, 2005.

A film that shows thorny confrontation between dreams and reality: cultural clashes, financial crisis and heavy personal defeats. A hazardous project: the deposits are high, everyone in it has something to loose.

Johnny Örbäck is a former social democratic top-politician. At the moment he is MD at HSB Malmö. He sees Calatravas sculpture and falls in love. An idea is born– would it be possible to build such a house at the old shipyard area in Malmö?

The first sod is turned and the project grows, the budget is exceeded over and over. Johnny Örbäck is putting his own reputation at risk. “If this project is in trouble, I’m in trouble!

Santiago Calatrava is an artist, an engineer and an architect. He has built bridges, airports, and opera houses all over the world. Turning Torso is his first skyscraper. It can’t go wrong. It will lead the way to the capital of all skyscrapers: New York City.

Ingvar Nohlin is in charge of HSB’s projects, and the one who handles the common intercessions between the entrepreneurs and the architects -the project must stay within the limits of the budget, without the design being neglected. It’s an uneven struggle and he often curses the “damned Spaniards” who don’t deliver the sketches in time.

The years pass and the project is delayed. In Malmö there is a raging debate over this “showpiece for the rich”. “A peoples-movement enterprise such as HSB should build for ordinary people.” The budget is now exceeded with nearly 800 millions. The pressure on all the involved is enormous. Will it be at all possible to finish the tower?

Through the key characters we get a unique glimpse of the world of architecture and of what happens when a vision meet the hard facts of reality.

The documentary filmmaker Fredrik Gertten follows the project from the turning of the first sod to the moment when the city has got its new landmark.

About direction (Fredrik Gertten)

Fredrik Gertten is a filmmaker, journalist since 25 years. He has worked around the world for radio, TV and news­papers in Africa, Latinamerica, Asia and around Europe during the eighties and nineties. Founded WG film 1994 together with Lars Westman. Since 2000 the sole owner of the company. He is also a board member of EDN, the European Documentary Network

Awards & Festivals

  • Best Documentary Award about A sobre Architecture Festival di Palazzo Venezia . Italy, 2006
  • DOKU.ARTS International Festival for Films on Art . Germany, 2006
  • Adelaide Film Festival. Australia, 2007
  • Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. US 2007