Sweden, Italy, Finland, Denmark


In a working-class area of Sweden, sisters Laura (16), Mira (12) and Steffi (7), get by on their own, left to their own devices by an absent mother. With summer on the way and no parents around, life is wild and carefree, vivacious and anarchic. But when social services call a meeting, Laura has to find someone to impersonate their mom, or the girls will be taken into foster care and separated. Laura keeps the threat a secret, so as not to worry her younger sisters. But as the moment of truth draws closer, new tensions arise, forcing the three sisters to negotiate the fine line between the euphoria of total freedom and the harsh realities of growing up.

Director's Statement

PARADISE IS BURNING is a declaration of love to sisterhood. To those who know your story and made you who you are. A bond that’s stronger than everything else. A blessing and a curse all at the same time. For me the film is about the transience of time and life. About memories and reconciliation. I want to show what it’s like to be a human being in those moments when euphoric freedom lies cheek to cheek with total despair and the everyday humor in between.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Mika Gustafson

Written by: Mika Gustafson, Alexander Öhrstrand

Produced by: Nima Youssefi, Marco Valerio Fusco, Micaela Fusco, Maria Stevnbak Westergren, Venla Hellstedt, Jenni Jauri

Cinematography: Sine Vadstrup Brooker

Editing: Anders Skov

Production Design: Catharina Nyqvist Ehrnrooth

Costume Design: Susse Roos

Make-Up & Hair: Kaisa Pätilä

Original Score: Giorgio Giampà

Sound: Lavinia Burcheri, Gustaf Berger

Visual Effects: Antonio Cola, Massimiliano Battista

Casting: Elin Ström

Cast: Bianca Delbravo (Laura), Dilvin Asaad (Mira), Safira Mossberg (Steffi), Ida Engvoll (Hannah)

Nominations and Awards

  • Feature Film Selection 2023