Recent Alumna Nathalie Álvarez Mesén '19 Receives Swedish Film Institute's Wild Card Development Grant

BY Gina Hackett, December 10, 2019

Nathalie Álvarez Mesén ’19 received the Swedish Film Institute’s Wild Card development grant, which will support the development of her first feature film.


Mesén’s project, The Wolf Will Tear Your Immaculate Hands, is “a magical realist drama set in the 17th century about a woman who returns to her hometown to find out why her sister was murdered during a witch hunt,” according to Screen Daily.


The award, which is accompanied by a grant of $40,600, backs recent film school graduates embarking on the development of their debut features. Winning directors must also have a producer who has made at least two films attached to their projects.


“It's crazy the number of people that have to say ‘yes, this is a story worth telling,’ for a feature to be made,” Mesén said. “It's beautiful that those people exist, and that grants can go to early development is mind blowing. It's a privilege.”


Originally from Sweden, Mesén spent her teen years in Costa Rica before returning to Sweden to study physical acting at the Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts. 


Mesén’s other feature script, Clara Sola, was backed by the Hubert Bals Fund and is being produced by Cristina Gallego, who also produced Embrace of the Serpent, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2016. Mesén has presented Clara Sola at numerous co-production markets, including San Sebastian Film Festival’s Co-Production Forum, Film London Market, and Bogotá Audiovisual Market.


The film follows 32 year-old Clara, who struggles to find her sexuality when she falls for her sister’s new boyfriend in a remote village where everyone thinks of her as a child and a saint. 


Mesén will shoot Clara Sola in early 2020 and is currently in the midst of pre-production.


Mesén has participated in several filmmaker labs, such as the renowned Cine Qua Non Lab, the New York Film Festival’s Artist Academy, and the Berlinale Talent Campus.


Mesén’s short films have played at numerous festivals. One such short, Asunder, has played at a number of film festivals around the world, including in the prestigious Calling Cards program at Telluride Film Festival. Her other short film, Filip, played at the Hamptons Film Festival and took home the award for Best Live Action Short of 15 Minutes or Under at the Palm Springs International Shortfest.


Mesén was the subject of Columbia University School of the Arts’ Meet the Makers series in 2016. Read her profile here.