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TALENT / DOC/FIC

Scandinavian Screening’s 32 Pitches of top series and docs draw hungry buyers

16 SEPTEMBER 2022

Scandinavian Screening 2022 / PHOTO: Annika Pham 1

Next to the premium shows Carmen Curlers, Prisoner, Power Play, Oxen, Seconds Vigdis, new buzzy titles included Nordland99, E14, Escaping Bolivia, Hormones, Everyone But Us.

After Helsinki in 2019, Oslo was for the first time, city host of the Scandinavian Screening event, organised principally by NRK, with public broadcasting partners DR, SVT, Yle, RÚV, and the new Deichman Public Library was the perfect location to get conversations going about storytelling in the Nordics.

After two years of pandemic, many of the 170 international buyers and co-financiers were delighted to meet IRL again with their Nordic partners, and to witness the scripted/non-scripted environment, as vibrant as ever in the Nordics.

Among the buzziest programmes (see summary list below of all 32 projects) were TV2 Norway’s Escaping Bolivia, E14, NRK’ s Power Play, DR’s Nordland99, Hostage Takers, Prisoner, Carmen Curlers, TV2 Denmark’s Oxen, Yle’s Crème de la Crème, Ride Out, Hormones!, Seconds, Nelonen’s The Servant’s Saga, RUV’s Vigdís, SVT’s Brother and Discover+ Sweden’s Everyone But Us.

Diana Schulte-Kellinghaus, head of Series Programmes and Ole Kampowski, Head of Children & Youth at Germany’s NDR (co-producers of NRK’s Power Play and Yle’s Helsinki Syndrome) were pleased to “share ideas and find out about drama trends in the region”. “Our audience is quite similar to the Nordic audience-it’s always good to see what works there and what’s coming from the region,” said Kampowski who praised the Finns for coming up with bold ideas and for creators of YA dramas from Sweden and Finland to tackle masculinity from an authentic male point of view.

Krishan Arora of SBS Australia, which just acquired the Icelandic show Blackport, also appreciated the authenticity of the YA Nordic series pitched, and meeting up with the new generation of Nordic producers. “It's important to stress that the series [at Scandinavian Screening] are from the public service channels, therefore many of them tackle socio-political issues. After the pandemic, people are asking difficult questions about society and this is reflected here,” he noted. “In Australia Nordic series used to be associated with Nordic noir, but now there aren’t that many pure crime shows, and we actually have an eye on a few projects that break from the Nordic noir,” he said.

Arte France’s Alexandre Piel felt this year’s Scandinavian Screening line up covered a wide range of genres. “There are still lots of dark dramas in the pure Nordic tradition, but with sub-genres or definite attempts to innovate, with new directing voices,” he said. “On the other side of the spectrum, there were quite a few comedies, dealing with subjects such as sexuality, fertility and menopause. The overall quality was really good, but there were lots of shows and perhaps not enough time to screen them all,” said the Head of Arte Fiction’s International division.

His colleague Virginie Padilla Senior Acquisition Executive, Drama, underscored Arte France’s focus on social issues and human stories, and DNA close to public service-funded Nordic dramas. She also stressed the ability of Nordic YA drama to innovate and to portray urgent topics enabling the younger generation to be engaged, without excluding elder audience groups.

M6’France's Head of Artistic Selection Ridha Barkaoui was pleased with the large number of female-driven and historical stories, targeting his core audience of women over 50, while Caroline Wendt, Head of Acquisitions and Sales from Germany’s Polyband was satisfied with the good number of “realistic stories with commercial potential. I’m here for the first here and I’m impressed by the quality of Scandinavian Screening’s curated programme,” she said.

For her part, Rikke Ennis, CEO at REinvent Studios had identified 2-3 new series with clear international potential. Her company had four high-end series among the pitches: the Danish crime drama Oxen, Finnish suspense drama Seconds, Icelandic biopic Vigdís and Norwegian political period drama Power Play. "Scandinavian Screening is the perfect platform in the fall before MIPCOM,” she said. “To meet here physically, with so many clients is the sign that content is king and that the Nordics continue to be on the top shopping list of what people want to buy. Another very positive sign is that the showcase is organised by public broadcasters and we can see that they want to be relevant and continue to invest in top end content.”

All delegates praised the smooth and efficient organisation of Scandinavian Screening, overseen by NRK’s Head of International Programme Sales, NRK Content Bente Sagplads.

The latter urged Scandinavian Screening delegates to continue to use the showcase’s dedicated screening platform until MIPCOM and to visit the Nordic public broadcasters stand at the Cannes market.

Full list of titles pitched at Scandinavian Screening 2022

  • Adil (NRK)
    Directed by Adil Kahn and Julian Nazario Vargas, produced by Imaginær Film.
    Animation and mixed media. Story of Norwegian dancer, actor, and influencer Adil, based on his inspirational speech, followed by 500,000 youngsters.
  • Escaping Bolivia (TV2 Norway)
    6x44’ true crime drama directed by Emilie Beck (Royalteen), produced by 41/2 and Fremantle Norway. Inspired by the real-life story of three young Norwegian women caught with 22kg of cocaine in their bags in Bolivia and sent to prison. Two of them escaped to Norway, one remained in Bolivia. Filming due to start next spring.
  • Flateyri (RÚV)
    6x50’ disaster drama co-created by The Vallhalla Murders’ director Þórður Pálsson and head-writer Ottar Nordfjord. Produced by Glassriver. Flateyri tells the true story of Iceland’s worst natural disaster, through the eyes of a torn family. The series explores the grief this tragedy left behind, and the national unity it sparked.
  • E14 (TV2 Norway)
    Spy thriller directed by Anne Sewitsky, produced by Gudny Hummervoll for Rubicon TV. About how a group of secret agents recruited among civilians, happened to be in the centre of the worlds eye during the Balkan conflict. Filming set for 2023.
  • Nordland99 (DR)
    8x25’ crime drama written/director by Kasper Møller Rask, co-written by Josephine Leopold. Produced by Nevis. In 1999 small provincial Nordland, the young Alex goes missing after a party. His friends Lukas, Kris and sister Emma start searching for him and uncover gruesome secrets. The series in post-production is sold by DR Sales.
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Scandinavian Screening’s 32 Pitches of top series and docs draw hungry buyers

Nordland99 Presentation Scandinavian Screening 2022 / PHOTO: Torleif Hauge
  • Seconds (Yle)
    6x50’ disaster series co-created by Laura Suhonen, Mikko Pöllä, Roope Lehtinen. Produced by Fire Monkey. A train flies off the tracks in the middle of a small town, sparking an explosion and an enormous fire. Over 60 people die. While the ruins are still smouldering, accident investigator Marita Kaila arrives on the scene. Filming due to start in 2023. REinvent handles sales.
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Scandinavian Screening’s 32 Pitches of top series and docs draw hungry buyers

Seconds Presentation Scandinavian Screening 2022 / PHOTO: Torleif Hauge
  • Oxen (TV2 Denmark/ZDF)
    Six-part crime series written by Int’l Emmy-winning duo Mai Brostrøm and Peter Thorsboe from Jens Henrik Jensen’s eponymous book series. Produced by SF Studios. About war veteran Niels Oxen (Jacob Lohmann), forced to come out of his self-isolation and to go undercover to investigate a crime. Currently filming. Delivery in 2023. REinvent handles sales.
  • The Servants Saga (Nelonen)
    8x45’ period drama written by Katri Manninen and Kristi Manninen (Shadow Lines), produced by Aurora Studios. Based on Kristi Manninen’s book series about Enni Mustonen, a maid working for illustrious personalities. between 1890s to 1920s.
  • The Adrenalist (TV2 Norway)
    6X60’ gangster drama directed by Pål Sletaune (July 22, Junk Mail), produced by Ole Sondberg (Millennium trilogy) and Renée Mlodyszewski for True Content Production Norway. About the incredible life of Norwegian author Arthur Omre, who during the 1920s prohibition years in Norway, became one of the most successful smugglers. Due to start filming in 2023.
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Scandinavian Screening’s 32 Pitches of top series and docs draw hungry buyers

The Adrenalist Presentation Scandinavian Screening 2022 / PHOTO: Torleif Hauge
  • Beist (NRK)
    8x20’ youth drama created by Mads Stegger and Ernst De Geer, produced by NRK P3, about young footballer Elias. Within five days he must prove that he has what it takes to be signed as a professional.
  • Power Play (NRK)
    12x60’ political drama co-written by Johan Fasting, Silje Storstein, Kristin Grue, directed by Yngvild Sve Flikke. Produced by Motlys and Novemberfilm. When the Norwegian Labour Party is torn apart by an internal feud, the young idealist Gro Harlem Brundtland is unwillingly pulled into the tactics and scheming of modern politics. Currently shooting. REinvent handles sales.
  • Vigdís (RÚV)
    4x60’ biopic series produced by Vesturport. Portrait of Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, how she defied the patriarchal society, overcame adversities and made history by being elected the world’s first female president in 1980. Nina Dögg Filippusdóttir plays the title role. REinvent handles sales.
  • A New Kind of Wilderness
    Documentary by Silje Evensmo Jacobsen, produced by A5 Films. A family striving for independence, self-sufficiency and freedom gets their world turned upside down when the mother gets cervical cancer. Film to be delivered in 2023.
  • Hostage Takers (DR)
    Documentary by Puk Damsgaard and Søren Klovborg, produced by DR. Film about the IS members known as ‘The Beatles’ who brutally murdered many western hostages including war correspondent James Foley. Sold by DR Sales.
  • Hiding Saddam Hussein
    Documentary by Halkawt Mustafa, produced by Hene Films, Stotyline, Screen Story. Story of a simple farmer who hid Iraq’s former dictator Saddam Hussein in a hole in Salahaddin province.
  • Prisoner (DR)
    Six-part prison drama created by Kim Fupz Aakeson, directed by Michael Noer and Frederik Louis Hviid. Produced by DR Drama and sold by DR Sales. Realistic drama about four prison officers in a worn-down Danish prison, faced with daily challenges and dilemmas.Starring Sofie Gråbøl, David Dencik, Charlotte Fich, Bjarne Henriksen. Premiere on DR in the summer 2023.
  • Brother (SVT)
    10x20’ youth drama by Hanna Lagerberg, produced by SVT. About male bonding, in small town Eslow. The YA series received top ratings on SVT Play. SVT Sales handles sales.
  • Crème de la crème (Yle)
    8x40’ YA comedy series about two friends who start a sperm business. Shooting set to start next summer.
  • The Short Fuse (Yle)
    8x20’ YA series written by Pilke Salo, Janne Vanhanen, Milla Tuokkola, directed by Petra Lumioska. Produced by Tekele. Sold by Yle Sales. About a group of outsiders who develop a plan to build a bomb and explode it in town. The coming of age drama is due to premiere on Yle in February.
  • Ride Out (Yle)
    Six-part drama written by Sami Keski-Vähälä, produced by Finland’s Funfar Films. High-octane drama set in the world of motorcycle Grand-Prix road racing in the 1970s. Delivery set for late 2023.
  • Carmen Curlers (DR)
    8x58’ period drama created and written by Mette Heeno, directed by Natasha Arthy and episodic director Christian Tafdrup . Series inspired by the true story of the famous Carmen heated hair rollers, created by Danish entrepreneur Arne Bybjerg, who turned his invention into a global sensation, relying on a workforce of more than 3,500 women. First of three seasons.The premiere on DR is September 30, 2022.
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Scandinavian Screening’s 32 Pitches of top series and docs draw hungry buyers

Carmen Curlers Presentation Scandinavian Screening 2022 / PHOTO: Torleif Hauge
  • As Long as I Live (Channel 2 Iceland)
    6X60’ drama created and written by actress Anita Breim, produced by Glassriver. A woman struggling in a stale marriage hires a 22 year-old nanny and starts to play flirt games. Eccho Rights handles sales.
  • Dates in Real Life (NRK)
    7x30’ series directed by Jakob Rørvik, produced by Maipo Film for NRK. Isa (25) lives her life online. Dumped by her web boyfriend, she looks for new boyfriends in physical life.
  • False Nine (TV2 Norway)
    6x44’ series produced by The Oslo Company. Drama about game fixing in sports. Co-written by Nikolaj Frobenius, Stephen Uhlander, Goran Skaalmo. Directed by Simen Alsvik. Filming is due to start in 2024.
  • The Wedding Party-A countdown to Disaster (NRK)
    Series set in the Sami community of Kautokeino. Produced by Mer Film. Comedy drama about a dysfunctional family trying to organise the perfect wedding.
  • Sober (RÚV)
    8x45’ drama written by Óskar Jónasson, produced by Sagafilm. Drama about addiction, told through a family of 3.
  • Everyone But Us (Discovery+ Sweden)
    Comedy drama directed by Erik Johansson, Produced by Warner Bros ITVP Sweden. Eccho Rights handles sales.Alba August and Björn Gustafsson star as a young couple, struggling to become parents, and fighting off social pressure. The series was a massive hit on Discovery + Sweden. A Season 2 has been ordered.
  • Hormones! (Yle)
    8x45’ series by Johanna Vuoksenmaa, produced for Dionysos Film. Drama comedy about life after puberty, perpetual parenting, and the opportunities medicine can offer to improve the quality of life. Premiere on Yle set for the fall 2023.
  • Balls (RÚV)
    8x45’ series created by Hafstainn Gunar Sigurdsson and Hàlldór Laxness Halldórsson. Produced by ZikZak Films with co-financing from RÚV, SVT, NRK, Yle, DR. Ingvar Sigurdsson plays Scarpi, a former handball champion who becomes the trainee of an all-women handball club. Production is due to start very soon.
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Scandinavian Screening’s 32 Pitches of top series and docs draw hungry buyers

Balls Presentation Scandianvian Screening 2022 / PHOTO: Torleif Hauge
  • Threesome (Viaplay)
    8x23’ drama produced by Yellow Bird. A young couple living in London start a flirtatious game with a French art student.
  • State of Happiness season 3 (NRK)
    8x45’ period drama created by Mette M. Bølstad, directed by Petter Næss, produced by Maipo Film. New season in the oil drama set in Stavanger. Delivery is set for the spring 2024.
  • Super Hero Academy (NRK Super)
    33x15’ comedy family series produced Seefood.
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