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Yle, Elisa Viihde, MTV take part in first Focus Finland

Focus on Finland / PHOTO: FOF

Yle, Elisa Viihde, MTV take part in first Focus Finland

Focus on Finland / PHOTO: FOF

Finland’s leading TV drama commissioners were invited to give a snapshot of their upcoming slate and strategies at last week’s TV Drama Vision industry event in Göteborg.

The session moderated by Johanna Nunnu Karppinen, was held within the framework of the first ‘Focus on Finland’, joint export venture for the key players in the Finnish audiovisual industry, aimed at increasing awareness, funding, sales and distribution of Finnish content.

Partners joining forces to boost drama projects include Audiovisual Producers Finland (APFI), Yle, the Finnish Film Foundation, Elisa Viihde and Film in Finland.

Last Thursday, guest speakers who inaugurated the Focus on Finland dedicated to TV drama were Laura Kuulasmaa, Executive Director at APFI, Jarmo Lampela, Head of Drama at YLE, Jani Hartikainen, Head of Drama and Development at MTV and Ani Korpela, Chief Content Officer at Elisa Viihde.

Head of Drama Jarmo Lampela said the Finnish broadcaster commissions around 4 high-end series a year, financed with foreign partners, 2 to 4 series fully-funded by Yle, aimed principally at the domestic market, and around 16 web-oriented short series for younger viewers. Average budgets range from €400,000 to €1.2 million per episode.

With Yle’s digital platform Yle Areena driving content, Lampela said his drama strategy is to provide relevant and eclectic content for Finnish consumers, looking at a 2 -4 year period.
Read our recent interview with Lampela for further details: CLICK HERE.

Selected upcoming Yle original series:

  • Dance Brothers (Endemol Shine Finland).
    Co-production with Netflix. Created by Endemol Shine Finland’s Head of Scripted Max Malka, the 10-part series directed by Taito Kawata from a script by Reeta Ruotsalainen (Arctic Circle) is due to start filming this spring.
  • My Husband’s Wife (Lucy Loves Drama).
    Contemporary romantic comedy drama written by Juuli Niemi, directed by her sister Inari Niemi.
  • Zone B (Aamu Film Company)
    About being a teenager in multi-cultural Eastern Helsinki.
  • Transport (Tekele Productions)
    Created by Auli Mantila, nominated for the 2022 Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize.
  • Helsinki Syndrome (Fisher King)
    Contemporary thriller starring Peter Franzen, created by Bordertown’s Mikko Oikkonen.
  • Paradise S2, co-produced with Spain’s Mediapro.
    Created again by Matti Laine,directed by Marja Pyykkö.

Yle, Elisa Viihde, MTV take part in first Focus Finland

Helsinki Syndrome / PHOTO: Beta Film

Jani Hartikainen, Head of Drama and Development said he commissions 10-13 series a year for Telia's streamer C More and MTV broadcaster. The shows consist mostly of crime suspense, then dramas and comedies, based on book adaptations, true events relevant to Finns, and returning seasons of popular shows.

Selected upcoming series:

  • Freezing Embraces (Solar Films). Crime series.
  • Mobile 1.0 (Rabbit Films).
    Co-produced by Aurora Studios with co-financing from the Finnish Impact Film Fund.
    First account of Nokia’s rise from a small business to become a global player in the mobile phone industry, before its later fall from grace.
  • Helsinki Crimes (ITV Studios). Based on Matti Yrjänä Joensuu’s bestselling novels featuring detective Timo Harjunpää (Olli Rahkonen), and partner Onerva Nykanen (Olga Temonen), investigating a wave of murders in Helsinki.
  • Enemy of the People (Fire Monkey)
    Created by Roope Lehtinen (White Wall) with Timo Varpio (Easy Living, Downshifters), who also serves as co-writer with Laura Suhonen (Hooked). Focusing on an investigative reporter under threat when people don’t want to hear the truth. Starring Kreeta Salminen (All the Sins).

Yle, Elisa Viihde, MTV take part in first Focus Finland

Mobile 1.0, Sampo Sarkola / PHOTO: Anni, Rabbit Films

Elisa Viihde Viaplay
Chief Content Officer Ani Korpela said that the telco group Elisa’s streaming service has commissioned 25 original series since 2015. Through Elisa Viihde’s partnership with Viaplay initiated in 2020, their joint streamer Elisa Viihde Viaplay is among the biggest drama commissioners in Finland, with a footprint in Estonia.
“We want to tell meaningful, topical stories, guarantee quality, uniqueness, while encouraging risk-taking in storytelling,” said Korpela. Shows are either fully-financed, or increasingly co-financed with international partners.

See our full interview with Korpela: CLICK HERE.

Selected upcoming series:

  • The Man Who Died (ReelMedia)
    Black comedy based on a bestselling novel by Antti Tuomainen, adapted by Markku Flink and Brendan Foley (Cold Courage). About a man facing slow death through poisoning, trying to find out who did it. Starring Jussi Vatanen (Man in Room 301) and Saara Kotkaniemi (Peacemaker).
  • Next of Kin (Bufo)
    Produced in collaboration with A+E Networks.
    Futuristic drama about generic manipulation, co-written by Finland’s Minna Panjanen and Denmark’s Valeria Richter.
    Starring Nika Savolainen (Shadow Lines), Elmer Bäck (Idiomatic), Matleena Kuusniemi (Hooked), Antti Virmavirta (Man in Room 301).
  • Summer of Sorrow (Rabbit Films)
    Crime thriller created by Jani Volanen. Tale of one horrible summer in the early 1980s, when a child goes missing, with events seen through the eyes of the local children.

Yle, Elisa Viihde, MTV take part in first Focus Finland

Summer of sorrow / PHOTO: Elisa Viihde

Focus on Finland’s next drama content promotional stints will be at the Berlinale Series Market and Series Mania Forum.

The promotional platform will also highlight Finnish documentary films, in association with Yle, the Finnish Film Foundation and AVEK.
Planned events for Focus on Finland Special Docs will unfold this year at the Finnish Film Affair, in 2023 at the Berlinale, Sunny Side of the Doc, Doc Lisboa and Hot Docs.