Original Title



Drama, Crime, Redemption,


Production Year


Country of Origin


Language Spoken

Swedish, English, Maltese


91 mins


TIFF Competition “Platform” 
(World premiere) 
BFI London FF “Trill”
(European premiere)


Axel Petersén
Axel Petersén


Joel Spira, Christopher Wagelin, Julia Sporre, Jacqueline Ramel, Tommy Nilsson

Production Company

Sigrid Helleday

Release Date
24. November 2023 by TriArt Film

"Shame on Dry Land is a direct translation of 'Skam på torra land', a Swedish 16th century idiom illustrating that the shame has become so big that its overflowing; like a sea that floods the dry land or an island. The expression is used when describing a really bad scenario, pointing out that whoever is responsible for it ought to be ashamed." - Director Axel Petersén

Synopsis (short)

In the shade of Malta’s scorching sun, around the edges of the Swedish online gaming community, exiled lottery swindler Dimman shows up for his former best friend and business partner’s lavish wedding, kicking off a desperate and decadent pursuit of redemption.

Synopsis (Long)

After a decade in exile, Dimman arrives in Malta just in time for the wedding of his former best friend and business partner, Fredrik. Fredrik and his wife-to-be, Sara, who are both part of the huge Swedish online gaming community, in Malta, are taken aback – Dimman isn’t even on their guest list. Yet Dimman has come to apologize for vanishing ten years earlier, leaving Fredrik to clean up after their business collapsed. Fredrik has no interest in forgiving Dimman. Disgraced and anxious, Dimman is offered a job by his sugar mama, Kicki. She wants Dimman to keep tabs on Krumm, an investigator from the Swedish tax authority who’s snooping around the island’s Swedish ex-pat community. Dimman is torn between shadowing Krumm and courting Fredrik, between the romantic idea of a resumed friendship and the cynical insight of permanent exile. In his pursuit of redemption, Dimman finds himself on a manic wild goose chase, paved with lies, deceit and bloody murder.

THE team

Axel Petersén


Axel Petersén is a visual artist and filmmaker who has made a variety of fiction features and documentaries, video- and photo installations; exhibiting in galleries, institutions, film festivals and cinemas worldwide. Petersén is educated at FAMU, Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm and the Mountain School of Arts in Los Angeles.


Sigrid Helleday


Sigrid Helleday, Swedish producer based in Stockholm. Sigrid’s first fiction feature, The Real Estate, as main producer gained great recognition premiering in Competition at Berlinale 2018. Her experiences include several international fiction and documentary co-productions with countries as Egypt, the US, the UK, France, Holland, Norway.

Director's statement


“Shame on Dry Land is a direct translation of “Skam på torra land”, a Swedish 16th century idiom illustrating that the shame has become so big that its overflowing; like a sea that floods the dry land or an island. The expression is used when describing a really bad scenario, pointing out that whoever is responsible for it ought to be ashamed.


The run-up, the inspiration for the film comes from testimonies of near and dear in who jumped off the hamster wheel and abandoned Sweden many years ago. All of them left their motherland for a life in mental exile somewhere off the chart – too strung out to keep their heads above the surface, too lost to find their way back. A decadent pack of alienated desperados stranded in a place somewhere in between Xanadu and Gomorra.


Escapism and homecoming are themes that I’ve explored before, in Avalon and The Real Estate. Both films with corrupted baby-boomers as protagonists. Once again the two themes are present, only this time the story evolves around my generation, not my parents’, and over and above, redemption and reconciliation has been added to the mix of themes.


The film evolves around the restoration of a long lost friendship between ex colleagues and best friends Dimman and Fredrik, played by acclaimed Swedish character actors Joel Spira and Christopher Wagelin – best friends in real life, but never worked together on screen. Their long and deep friendship has been key in the work around the core of the film –  the relations and the drama.


The film’s protagonist Dimman is the scapegoat, forever tip-toeing around the threshold, desperate to get back in from the cold, and the tax haven island of Malta is the playground, complete with a 10 thousand strong Swedish online gaming industry/colony.”


– The Real Estate / Toppen av Ingenting (Competition Berlinale 2018) co-directed with Måns Månsson.

– Under the Pyramid
/ Under Pyramiden (Gothenburg FF 2016)

– Avalon
(Winner of Fipresci at Toronto IFF 2011)

– The Tracks of my Tears 2
(Short, Venice Orizzonti 2011)


Joel Spira


Joel Spira, born in 1981 in Stockholm, was educated at the Malmö Theatre Academy. After appearing in plays such as The Jungle Book and The Brothers Lionheart, where he played the lead and secondary lead, came his break-trough on the silver screen. In 2010, he could be seen as Nippe, a brat in Easy Money (Snabba Cash) as well as the sequel a couple years later, and thus he became a household name in Sweden. Spira has since then done memorable work in projects such as Hinsehäxan opposite Vera Vitali, a performance worthy of a Kristallen nomination in Thicker Than Water (Tjockare än vatten), in Josephine Bornebusch’s Orca and festival-favorite Bergman Island.

Jacqueline Ramel


Jacqueline Ramel is a Swedish actor and director born in 1964. After high school, she started working as a model. In 1986, she returned to Stockholm and got her first film role in Den Frusna Leoparden. That same year, she attended a theatre workshop led by Elisabeth Seth and was advised by Seth to continue her studies in New York at The Rapp Theatre Company. In 1993 she returned to Sweden and appeared in the film Tryggare Kan Ingen Vara and the following year in Lust. During the rest of the 1990s, she appeared in several short films and TV series, including Anmäld Försvunnen, Snoken, Silvermannen and Sjätte Dagen. In 1998, she appeared in the films The Last Contract and the Johan Falk film Noll Tolerans.

Christopher Wagelin


A Stockholm native, Christopher Wagelin was born in 1978 and went to school at The State Theatre Academy in Luleå. He made his debut in 2006 and now has more than 40 credits to his name. During many years, he was a staple at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm. Wagelin is no stranger to the big nor the small screen. Appearing in anything from cult classics Gentlemen and Gentlemen & Gangsters, political thriller Moscow Noir (Dirigenten), heartbreaking drama Love Me (Älska mig), loved comedies Sommaren Med Släkten and Welcome to Sweden, cold case-crime The Truth Will Out (Det som göms i snö), and international film Stockholm featuring Ethan Hawk.

Michal Axel Piotrowski


Michal Axel Piotrowski is a Swedish actor, currently seen on Netflix in the mini-series Clark directed by Jonas Åkerlund. Since 2006 Piotrowski has performed in several theatre and music-theatre productions, mostly in Stockholm, where he is based. He is best known for the role of Billy Bloom in Billy Bloom – Ensam Som Gud (Turteatern & 4:e teatern), James St. James in Dö Klubbdöden (Dramalabbet) and Prince Ragnvald in Baba Yaga (Ung scen/öst). Piotrowski was one of the writers of the script of the popular Swedish comedy TV series Bauta (on SVT) in which he played various roles.

Julia Sporre


Julia Sporre is a Swedish actress based in Stockholm, Sweden. She studied at the Academy of Music and Drama in Gothenburg (2018-2021) and made her debut in the feature film The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo (2009). During the last 14 years she has starred in many Film and TV productions such as Ruben Östlund’s awarded feature film The Square (2017) and the awarded TV-series Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves (2012). Some of her recent productions is the TV-series The Restaurant (2020) and the feature film Stammisar (2022). 

Tommy Nilsson


Tommy Nilsson is a famous Swedish singer and composer, beloved by the people. With one of the best voices of Sweden he has released music and performed since the 70s with great success. Shame on Dry Land is Nilsson’s fiction feature debut.

Selected scenes

Clip 1

Clip 2

Clip 3

Behind the scenes

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