EXCLUSIVE: Viaplay, Iceland’s Sagafilm and Finnish investor IPR.VC have boarded the English language Finnish TV projects Cold Courage and S.o.S. (aka Sands of Sarasvati)

The crime show Cold Courage (8x45’ or 4x90’) has also been picked up for world distribution by Germany’s Beta Film , while S.O.S. (8x60’) which was successfully pitched at the recent Series Mania, has attracted interest from Pinewood Television as potential UK co-producer, with support from Northern Ireland Screen, as well as DR. 

The two premium dramas are the first productions coming out of Helsinki-based Luminoir, launched in 2015 by seasoned producers Markku Flink (Devil’s Bride, Miss Blue Jeans) and Pauli Pentti (Naked Harbour), former assistant director to Aki Kaurismäki. 

“Pauli and I started discussing about the way the industry is changing, the fact that talents and directors are moving away from the film industry and decided to join forces,” explains Flink. “Our goal at Luminoir is to deliver TV dramas and feature films targeting the international market from the idea stage, which is why we have hired established English language writers for both TV projects to strengthen the international element of the stories based on successful Finnish novels.”

Cold Courage is based on the first book in the ‘Studio’ series written by Pekka Hiltunen, winner of Finland’s 2012 Clue Award for Best Detective Book. Three books have been published and a fourth is planned for 2018. UK writer David Joss Buckley (Hinterland, Casualty) has penned the television adaptation.

It’s the story of two Finnish women and a multicultural team of specialists who risk their lives to solve crimes that the police can’t -or won’t-handle. “It’s dealing with the political chaos in present Europe and how a group of ordinary people put their forces and minds together to challenge the big powers”, said Flink.

The show is set to start production in 2018, with filming split between London, Finland, Germany and Belgium. 

S.o.S. is based on the eponymous book by sci-fi writer and scientist Risto Isomäki, translated into more than a dozen languages. UK writer Brendan Foley (Johnny Was, Heroic Age) is attached. “We needed a writer who would understand the issues covered in the series and Brendan was the perfect match for us, with his background in journalism, specialised in the environment and world conflicts,” said Flink. 

In the action-adventure eco-thriller, ordinary people team up to halt a series of climate change events that could destroy the world. By using clues from ancient history and combining them with modern science technology, the SoS team starts to advance their cause as their personal lives go further off the rails. 

“With S.o.S. we want to do for the environment what Borgen did with the politics,” told Flink to nordicfilmandtvnews.com. We have also created a universe that will hopefully have a life over several returning seasons, with different seasons focusing on different climate events around the world. We have a pilot script, a bible and hope to start production in 2019.“