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David Farr, Sally Phillips, Alexander Karim, among top speakers at Helsinki Script

Helsinki Script / PHOTO: Fiction Finland, City of Helsinki, NFTVF

David Farr, Sally Phillips, Alexander Karim, among top speakers at Helsinki Script

Helsinki Script / PHOTO: Fiction Finland, City of Helsinki, NFTVF

More than 25 top international TV writers/producers/financiers will take centre stage at the Helsinki event June 8, which coincides with the Fund’s Nordic Script closing workshop.

Set up by Fiction Finland with the support from the City of Helsinki, Helsinki Script itself is conceived like a one-day storytelling, with chapters focusing on topical issues, to be debated and followed live by industry delegates, as explained by Nordisk Film & TV Fond CEO Liselott Forsman, co-host of the event with UK-based executive producer Dominic Schreiber:

“The recipe of the international script event Helsinki Script is simple: All guests and hundreds of delegates stay in the beautiful Savoy Theatre a whole day to create a common story of captivating moments and future insights. The earlier editions (2016-2019) were sold out, but the event came to a natural ending with the pandemic, which coincided with my move to my current job in Oslo.

"When we needed to come up with something extra for the grand finale of Nordic Script lab in June in Helsinki, the lab’s Finnish partner, Taina Seitsara (Senior Advisor, City of Helsinki) suggested one more edition of the event. So here we go!"

Forsman continues: "I cannot wait to co-host it once again and to learn from all our wise and wonderful guests, and from the explosive, European panel on AI, the insights of which will travel from Helsinki to festivals in Cologne, Tallinn, Sarajevo, and Gothenburg.”


David Farr, Sally Phillips, Alexander Karim, among top speakers at Helsinki Script

Helsinki Script 2016 2019 / PHOTO: Mikko Lyytikäinen

Helsinki Script’s opening session “Fire in the Eyes-from generic to Authentic Storytelling’, will be monitored by series expert Tatjana Samopjan, who will address the core of where creativity stems from: writers’ own lived experience and perception of the world, which can “influence the reach, depth and resonance of the stories we create,” she underscored. “All the storytelling skill, experience and craft in the world is not worth much if the story is not burning with the fire of clear vision and deep insight,” she argues.

The day will continue to unfold notably with three Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize 2023 nominees - Norwegian winner Kenneth Karlstad (Kids in Crime), Iceland’s Anita Briem (As Long as We Live) and Finland’s Matti Kinnunen (The Invisibles) who will take part in different panels.

  • Karlstad who is currently working a second season of Kids in Crime for TV2 Norway, will discuss ‘How Norwegian Drama Series Dared and Made It’, together with Viaplay Group Norway’s EP Scripted Content Kari Moen Kristiansen.

    In a separate panel, music-video specialist Karlstad will also talk ‘Music and Dance as Narrative Elements’ together with Dance Brothers’ director Taito Kawata and writer Reeta Ruotsalainen.
  • Briem will share centre stage with British actress/writer/producer Sally Phillips (Smack the Pony, Veep) and Alexander Karim (The Swarm, The Lawyer) to discuss ‘Beloved Actors as Inventive Scriptwriters’.
  • Kinnunen, credited for the politically-charged Cargo and The Invincibles, will discuss ‘Fictionalising an Ongoing War in Ukraine and the Near Past in Finland’, with Ukrainian writer Anastasiia Lodkin and top producer/TV executive Kateryna Vyshnevska of Film.UA.

    The two Ukrainian nationals will go through the anthology series Those Who Stayed (co-produced by SVT, NRK, Yle) inspired by the stories of citizens who stayed in Kyiv after Russia’s attack. The show will be delivered late 2023-early 2024.

Meanwhile three writers, part of Nordisk Film & TV Fond’s inaugural Nordic Script scheme - Finland’s Ilja Rautsi (Memory of Water, Hatching), Norway’s Mahmona Khan (Tainted) and Sweden’s Johanna Ställberg (Family Entertainment) will talk ‘Developing Series with Nordic Peers: from Nordic Script to Next of Kin’.

Joining them will be Nordic Script mentor and seasoned writer Adam August (Darkland, Follow the Money), as well as Danish script coach/writer Valeria Richter and her Finnish counterpart Minna Panjanen who will discuss the co-writing of their sci-fi series Next of Kin.

Looking at what’s ahead for the scripted content community, British writer/director David Farr (The Night Manager, Hanna) will ponder upon creative freedom, while a packed panel of TV executives will tackle AI as a mind-changer and industry revolution, one of the central issues in the current dispute between Hollywood’s Writers Guild of America-on strike since May 2-and US studios and streamers.

The panel moderated by Samopjan will welcome Robert Franke, VP Drama, ZDF Studios, Leif Holst Jensen, dean TV & Games at Norway’s Innland University of Applied Sciences, Sami Kallinen, founder of 8-bit-sheep, Gerhard Maier, artistic director Seriencamp and Vyshnevska.

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