Authentic, relevant, passionate, quirky, daring stories were some of the buzz words from drama commissioners who took centre stage at Göteborg’s TV Drama Vision.
Held under the theme ‘shaping Landscapes and Moving Mountains’ at Göteborg’s Stora teatret, the two day TV Drama Vision (January 30-31st) was an opportunity for 360 Nordic drama specialists and fans to be inspired by storytellers, discover what’s hot and coming out of the region in the next 18 months, and for commissioners to present their wish list.
Nordic pubcasters DR, TV2, SVT, NRK, Yle reiterated their role as unifiers and spaces for audiences to be challenged and to watch relevant stories about them, and C More/TV4 their taste for high end broad comedies, crime/thriller for the widest number.
Streaming services Elisa Viihde (covering Finland, Estonia), Viaplay and Netflix dazzled with their ramping up of ambitions and appetite, while HBO Europe gave a taste of standout drama from visionary auteurs Lukas Moodysson (Gösta) and Jens Lien (Beforeigners).
All selected Nordic dramas introduced as works in progress (Invisible Heroes, Twin, When the Dust Settles), in development (A Hustler’s Diary-The Series, The Minister, We Got This!), as Case Study (Magnus) as well surprise world sneak previews of HBO’s Gösta, Netflix’s Quicksand and NRK’s 22 July reflected the wide breath of quality storytelling, talent and ambitions in the region.
Hereby is a snapshot of the key Nordic commissioners’ wish lists and slate:
Christian Rank, Head of Drama
“As pubcaster we don’t want to be the biggest player but where people discuss about themselves and the world. Our core values are the double story model, stories that are current and relevant, honest and sincere, original and daring.
We leave the ‘middle ground’ to others, concentrate on the big prime time shows on one side, and at the other end innovative shows with lower budgets - Doggystyle directed by Anna Emma Haudal has been a hit online, with 500,000 views.
“We want to step up our digital productions for younger audiences”, said Rank.
Defining show: Follow the Money 3, selected for Berlinale Series. Major critical success.
Upcoming show: When the Dust Settles directed by Milad Alami, about 8 characters’ interweaving lives as they are impacted by a terror attack. (DR Drama, January 2020).
Ulf Synnerholm, Head of Production, Exec Producer Scripted Programmes
Looking for broad range, local shows, high quality, stories that move.
Defining upcoming shows:
- A Wedding, Funeral & a Christening by Colin Nutley (Sweetwater, premiere February 20).
- Blinded, by Jens Jonsson, Johan Lundin (FLX, premiere fall 2019), a true ‘drama drama’.
"In the future, we’ll look more closely at pure drama, about people’s everyday life, with a twist."
Laura Kuulasmaa, Acquisition Executive
Leading VOD service in Finland and Estonia, started investing in TV drama five years ago. Looking mostly for comedies, hard-hitting dramas.
- All the Sins, Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize winner, Best Nordic Screenplay by directed/co-creator Mika Ronkainen and Merja Aakko (MRP Matila Röhr Productions, premiere March 19),
- Shadow Lines, period thriller by AJ Annila (Zodiak, premiere October 19)
Hanne Palmquist, Commissioning Editor & VP, Original Programming.
Three shows coming up:
- Gösta, heart-warming and bitter-sweet comedy drama by Lukas Moodysson (Memfis Film, premiere end of 2019);
- Beforeigners, high concept sci-fi by Jens Lien (Rubicon TV, premiere fall 2019);
- Beartown, based on Fredrik Backman’s best-selling novel (Filmlance International)
Lina Brounéus, Director of Co-production and Acquisitions
Involved in co-productions and acquisitions, on a case-by-case, collaborations with local broadcasters for second windows and global licensing rights. Looking for authenticity, local stories that engage and have the potential to travel, whatever the genre.
Projects can be pitched at any stage. Passion, track record of the production company and directors /creators are essential.
Upcoming original shows:
- Quicksand (Sweden, FLX, premiere April 5). Selected for Berlinale Series.
- The Rain season 2 (Denmark, Miso Film, DK, premiere late 2019)
- Young Wallander (Yellow Bird UK)
- The Valhalla Murders (Iceland, Mystery Productions/Truenorth, RUV, premiere late 2019)
- Ragnarok (Norway, SAM Productions, premiere 2020).
Recent acquisition: - A Fortunate Man, Bille August
Ivar Køhn, Head of Drama
“As pubcaster, we create stories about us, by us and for us”
Upcoming flagship shows:
- Twin drama by Kristoffer Metcalfe. (Nordisk Film, premiere September 2019)
- 22 July, about everyday heroes who took action on the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Norway July 22, 2011. Premiere 2020)
Anna Croneman, Head of Drama
“As pubcaster our role is to be relevant to all audiences. We are investing in research to better know our audience and what they want.“
Looking for major prime time drama like Bron/The Bridge, mini-series, content for younger audiences and riskier/innovative shows like We Got This! (Jarowskij).
- A Hustler’s Diary-The Series. Directed by Ivica Zubak, Abbe Hassan. About a small-time gangster messing things up. (Indian Summer, premiere fall 2019)
- Tsunami (Filmlance International) directed by Henrik Georgsson (The Bridge). When the tsunami hits Southeast Asia, some people are forced to make choices that have major consequences for themselves and others nearby.
- White Wall, produced with Yle (Nice Drama, Fire Monkey, premiere 2020).
- Everything I Don’t Remember by Beata Gårdeler (Spark Film & TV, Kärnfilm, premiere December 2019
- Thin Blue Line (Anagram). A moving, gripping and realistic drama about police officers’ daily jobs on the street. (premiere 2021.
- We Got This (Jarowskij). Winner Best Pitch Series Mania 2018. Comedy created by Shiaffino Musarra & Santiago Gil.
Katrine Vogelsang, Head of Drama “Our mandate is to engage in the community and in our democracy, with emotional and relevant stories."
The main channel TV2 is looking for stories “about somebody, not something”, dealing with important issues. The period drama Badehotellet is the channel’s most successful show ever. Season 6 just kick-started with 1,589,000 viewers and a share of 69%. ‘We will continue with it as long as co-writers Stig Thorsboe and Hanna Lundblad will want to” said Vogelsang.
Traditional Christmas calendars are also hit shows (1.1m average viewers). “Let’s try to reinvent the genre.” TV2 Charlie: Almost same editorial as TV2’s main channel, but with stories on the brighter side. Something’s Rockin and The New Nurses have been huge hits for the niche channel. TV2 Zulu: for younger audiences, looking at their issues
Fredrik Ljungberg, Programme Director/Jon Petersson, Head of Scripted SE/FI
“Our ambition is to produce 21 originals a year. 19 Original series are slated for 2019 and we will keep going strong in the years to come.
The big change to come is that we’re looking at a broader slate. We’re focusing more on lighter drama, female-driven titles, young adult drama, be it horror or coming of age. The goal is to be fully diverse, to cover all segments of the population and be as representative as possible.
- Hidden (Yellow Bird, Premiere Feb 1),
- Darkness-Those Who Kill (Miso Film, March 1)
Currently shooting: Love Me (Warner Bros, October 2019) written/directed by actress Josephine Bornebusch. A drama/comedy across three generations, about people looking for love.
Liselott Forsman, Exec Producer, Int’l Drama
Looking for youth drama, drama for adults (all formats) with a twist, and kids content. The Finnish pubcaster’s strength is digital content for youth and it is ramping high-end international co-productions.
- The activists, period mini-series (Helsinki-filmi, premiere February 3)
- Invisible Heroes (FI/Chile, produced by Kaiho Republic, premiere April 2019).