Fallen Leaves’ production company Bufo is steering the multi-plot drama.
The 6x50’ series The Crashing is written and directed by promising talent Anna Äärelä whose short film Mad from the Sun won Haugesund’s Next Generation Award in 2021.
The multi-plot drama with crime elements explores the human capacity for resilience and connection in the face of tragedy. Set in small border town in Northern Finland, the story follows different characters who were involved in a multiple car collision, caused by the death of one of the drivers, shot by hitman. Mikael, a border guard among the survivors, starts to investigate the case. It turns out that the various characters had a reason to hide the truth.
Bufo producer Pilvi Waltzer who went to film school with Äärelä, said she was immediately hooked on the story “about strangers getting together by sharing a common trauma”, and the director’s style. I’m a fan of Anna’s sensitive and poetic way of telling character driven stories,” she told us.
Per Waltzer, the series’ unique selling point is that the whodunnit is driven by the victims and perpetrators, not the investigator. “Each of our characters have their own motive to find out what happened at the crash site. As they go through this trauma, they investigate their own history and life as well,” explains Waltzer.
The series with an estimated cost per episode of around €670,000 has received the backing from the Finnish pubcaster Yle, on board since concept development. Waltzer will be looking primarily for global distribution opportunities at Helsinki’s industry showcase Finnish Film Affair, unspooling September 20-22.
The Crashing and four other series in the works were selected by the Finnish Film Affair organisers and the export initiative Focus on Finland.
Outlining the selection process, Laura Kuulasmaa, executive director of Audiovisual Producers Finland (APFI) said the slate was put together based on the best Finnish shows ready for pitch (there was not time for an open call) and “different genres -drama, comedy, animation, doc series- to represent the wide scale of Finnish project”, she said.
The other four series to be pitched September 21 are the following:
Kona! - Dream Big, Pitch Hard
The 7x28’ sports docu series is produced by Tiina-Mari Pitkänen of Rabbit Films.
Director Lotta-Kaisa Riistakoski follows Konsta Kurikka, one of the best Finnish pitchers in pesäpallo, Finland’s national game, often compared to baseball. The young athlete’s dream is to be the first Finn ever to make it to the Major League Baseball in the US. On his way to the top, he experiences both thrilling wins and bitter disappointments.
“Our vision is to create a cinematic follow-up documentary series,” said Pitkänen who has collaborated several years with Riistakoski and shares with the director her love for pesäpallo and good stories. “We both originally come from small towns in Finland where people are big fans of pesäpallo!” stresses Pitkänen.
So far the project has received development support from AVEK and the Finnish Film Foundation, on top of personal grants to Riistakoski. “Konsta's own target is to get in Major League Baseball by 2027, so we hope to be able to follow his journey the upcoming years,” said the producer.
Supporting Actor (Kurjen Kirous)
The 8x24’ series is produced by hot TV producer Max Malka of Endemol Shine Finland, credited for the first Netflix/Yle co-production Dancing Brothers. Nelonen and Ruutu streamer are commissioning.
Kari Ketonen (Lapland Odyssey trilogy) stars as Aki Kurki, a talented but difficult actor, who realises he only lands supporting roles due a curse. He starts a process of self-reflection, while trying to find out who is behind the curse.
Writer/director Niklas Lindgren says his own obsession about other people’s success was the starting point for the show. “I soon realised that the world of the working actor was the most interesting and versatile place to set the story of ambition, insecurity, and search for meaning,” he noted.
Malka said buyers at the Finnish Film Affair will be teased with a first trailer. Global sales are handled by Banijay Rights.
The Boy Next Door
The 4x56’ mini-series is produced by Compartment No6’s Jussi Rantamäki of Aamu Film Company for Yle. Screenwriter/journalist Eva-Maria Koskinen (co-founder of Svenska Yle’s drama department) is making her TV drama debut. Former Cannes Cinefondation Residency alumna Hannaleena Hauru (Thick Lashes of Lauri Mäntyvaara) is directing.
The story centres on Linnéa (31) who recognises her first crush on television - Silas - and decides to trace him. The latter who was her neighbour and sister’s boyfriend 20 years earlier, disappeared without trace. Linnéa finds him and uncovers his burning secret.
Rantamäki said the series is due to start filming next summer.
The 8x30’ genre-bending adult animation series is produced by Oskari Sipola (HasBeen) and Juho Vesanen for Welhofilmi and Veli Studio. Sipola is co-directing and co-writing with Malin Nyqvist, based on Laura Gustafsson’s cult feminist pamphlet Huorasatu. Gustasson sits in the writers’ room.
The main characters are a middle-aged mythological goddess and two brave young women who join forces to fight oppression. The darkly humorous show hops between drama, fantasy, horror and action.
“It is a single tale, told in eight chapters, with each chapter upping the stakes until the fate of the world hangs in balance,” explains Sipola. The writer/director said his team will use “a stylised 3D animation with hand-painted textures and elements, aiming for a pulpy noir aesthetic fitting the book”. They will draw inspiration from Academy Award winner Alberto Mielgo.
TO SEE THE PROGRAMME AT FINNISH FILM AFFAIR: CLICK HERE.