Exclusive: We speak to Ennis about her departure as TrustNordisk’s CEO and launching her own shop, REinvent Studios dedicated to development, co-financing and packaging of mainly TV dramas. 

After ten years at the helm of the leading Nordic sales company TrustNordisk and nearly two decades of close collaboration with Nordisk Film and Zentropa production powerhouse, Ennis is moving on to new challenges with some of TrustNordisk’s staff members. She tells nordicfilmandtvnews.com about her vision and her new company’s structure and strategy.

What triggered your decision to leave TrustNordisk?
Rikke Ennis: It’s been a tough decision but nothing I did overnight. We’ve been a key player in feature film and won awards all over the world, building a huge experience in working with talent, combining the local success with the global success. At the same time, we’ve been struggling some time with our business model and what to do in the future. It is a natural step for a sales agent with international expertise and know-how to get involved with the projects from idea stage and co-finance and help develop these from day one and not only when the project is shaped and formed.

Furthermore, my passion has always been in the creative development process. In our digital world, there are fewer players who actually put a cheque on the table. Broadcasters and big platforms like Netflix want to speak to creators and the brains behind the ideas. This is why I founded Trust Studios last year [sister company to TrustNordisk within the Zentropa group] which has been a company involved in co-development of projects from idea stage, co-financing and finding the ideal partners for distribution whether they are global players or traditional broadcasters.

There’s always been an entrepreneur in me. My family and three brothers are all entrepreneurs and therefore this is a natural step for me. I have always loved working at Zentropa because only the sky was the limit and personal growth was possible along the way. But now time has come for me to challenge myself in a new way.

Who is backing your new company and who will work with you?
RE: I am partnering up with Frederik Nelsson, CEO of Filmcash, specialised in delivering financial services to the film and television industry. The need for additional cashflow is in high demand and we will be in a unique position to offer producers flexible gap-financing solutions including bridge financing.

To start this exciting new venture, I’m bringing with me some of my colleagues at TrustNordisk: Isabelle Péchou, current Manager International Co-productions, Peter Ahlén, TV Sales Manager and Creative Producer, as well as Sofie Siboni, Legal Manager and Creative Producer among others.

What is your vision for REinvent Studios and what will make it unique, at a time when more than 20 global distributors are handling Nordic TV drama?
RE: I guess I would be worried if the value of content was decreasing but streaming platforms and traditional broadcasters are investing in content like never before, and consumers are craving for quality content. In other words, scripted content is becoming a currency and Nordic content is among the very best in the world. At the same time, the world of media is in a state of absolute disruption; specific expertise in finding new financing and distribution models is vital to survive in a competitive market, and the key to growth is owning IP.

REinvent Studios will be a new Scandinavian constellation not seen before. Our vision is to develop ideas in close collaboration with production companies, both locally and globally, and package high-end original drama for the global market. Many ideas come from our own creative hub but we are always open ideas from talent.

Our unique strength is the fact that we are Scandinavian, with more than 20 year-experience in sales, distribution, access to talent and local subsidies. Our dedicated team has great creative skills and again, thanks to our expertise, we know what stories work across the borders and internationally. On top of that, thanks to our group of investors, we will have a separate financing arm, to offer bridge financing and in the future more financial offers.

You have no intention to produce directly?
I have my head full of ideas and I know the talents but I see my role more like a creative producer, an executive producer and will always team up with producers. Sometimes a smaller slice of a bigger cake is much more interesting than a big piece of a very small cake.

What projects are in your slate and will you handle only TV dramas?
REinvent will focus on TV drama and we are bringing the Trust Studios slate developed over the last three years. I will be able to give more details soon, but I can mention a very exciting sci fi drama series co-created by Lars Lundström (Real Humans) and Cristiano Bortone (Caffè, Rosso come il cielo) for Nice Drama’s Stefan Baron and Warner Belgium’s Peter Bouckaert.

We’re also working with Sweden’s Brain Academy and France’s Sydney Gallonde at Make it Happen Studio, on the suspense drama Last Light, based on Alex Scarrow’s best-selling book of the same name. Furthermore, we have Vildmark/Wilderness, a super quirky, funny and warm drama series by Kim Fupz Aakeson produced by Paradox Norway.  We have more projects in early stage of development with super prolific talent attached.

Otherwise, I will also take to REinvent Studios three exciting Norwegian feature films produced by Paradox, Filmkameraterne and Hummel Film, as well as my pet projects from Zentropa China that I set up six years ago. Zentropa will continue to collaborate with me on some of the projects.

What will be the future for TrustNordisk?
TrustNordisk is a great sales company with dedicated people and I sure they will find a great way to continue the business as usual. I’ve had a fantastic time at TrustNordisk, enjoying every day and the people there have been like a family. I am so proud of what we have achieved together, which is helping to build a leading sales company in Northern Europe.

What is the future of feature film sales in today’s digital world?
The world is getting smaller, the buyers are getting global so in order to add value to the food chain, sales agents have to be super active to promote and hype feature films. But as long as we are talking about the more traditional distribution, such as selling to all rights distributors, there will always be a need. And the cinema experience will never die. It is a social experience and so much more than just entertainment.