Frida Bargo / PHOTO: B Reel Films

Midsommar producers’ first romcom Swiping premieres on SVT

B-Reel Films’ producer Frida Bargo explains why Swiping is relatable and authentic.

On the heels of the Nordic noir revenge drama Black Widow (Mustat lesket) and hospital series Syrror (Nurses), the latest Swedish remake of a successful Finnish series is the romantic dramedy Dejta (Swiping), which just premiered Monday February 24 on SVT and SVT Play.

The eight-part series is freely inspired by the Finnish series Klikkaa mua (Click Me), created by Johanna Vuoksenmaa and Dionysos Films. For B-RF (B Reel Films), producers of SVT’s crime series Before We Die and international film hit Midsommar, the series is their first foray into dramedy and a step forward in their ambition to transfer their know-how in high value content from film to TV drama.

Producer Frida Bargo, who also makes her debut in long-form format after several high profile films such as Lisa Langseth’s Euphoria, Hotell and Anna Odell’s X&Y, says she first heard of the Finnish original show while attending an EAVE workshop with Dionysos Films’ Riiina Hyytiä. In Finland, season one of Klikkaa Mua was the second most popular programme during the fall 2011 on MTV3, and doubled the broadcaster’s audience on Tuesday nights, scoring in particular with woman 25-44. Reviewers had also praised the show for its ‘authenticity, timelessness and recognisable everyday comedy’ according to B-RF, and it won 5 Finnish Golden Venlas 2012.

Bargo said she was drawn to the clever TV concept of a new date in each episode, humorous tone and female lead, portrayed as a not-so-perfect single mum in her 40s who tries to reinvent herself.

In the Swedish version adapted by seasoned screenwriter/author Sara Kadefors (Slador Slash Ida, Tsunami), the central character is Ella (Maria Sundbom of Quicksand, Before We Die) who struggles to keep her catering company afloat while at the same time trying to raise two younger children from one ex and a teenage daughter Siri (Nova Waldfogel) from another ex.

Her best friend, the free-spirited Nilo (Bahreh Razekh Ahmadi) who thinks Ella could use a partner in life, creates a profile for her on Tinder. Suddenly, through online dating, Ella’s life is turned upside down, with unexpected encounters, great disappointments, and some passionate moments. Other main characters are Monica (Klara Zimmergren), Ella’s ex-husband’s half sister who acts almost like a mentor to Ella, and her new hired chef Arvin (Peshang Rad) with whom Ella gradually develops a strong connection.

As in every remake, cultural twists were necessary for the new version to hit a core with the local audience, and other changes were made. For instance while in the original series, the main character works as an interior designer for television, Ella in the Swedish version is a caterer, which gave possibilities for her to enter different homes via her catering business.

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Midsommar producers’ first romcom Swiping premieres on SVT

Swiping Dejta Cast / PHOTO: B Reel Films

Bargo says it was also important for the creative of the Swedish version to take the story out of the hip and cool environment of a capital city and into a mid-sized city, to make the story more engaging to a wider audience. “We had a wonderful collaboration with Dionysos Films who gave us a lot of freedom with the original material,” noted Bargo.

Regarding Ella’s new dates in each episode, the priority for B-RF was to describe a canvas of different characters – men and women - and to avoid stereotypes. Ultimately for Bargo, the series is about “the courage to dare to change your life and see behind the façade, to be open-minded and unprejudiced."

Concept director Jens Sjögren (Torpederna) made full use of his signature mix of warmth, comedy and emotions, while episodic director Rojda Sekersöz (My Life as a Comedian) combined her drama skills “with a great attentiveness for comedy,” according to Bargo.

After its premiere on SVT, the series supported by Nordisk Film & TV Fond will be transmitted on the other Nordic pubcasters DR, NRK, Yle and RÚV. Eccho Rights who handles world rights has already attracted lot of interest from buyers, both for the original series and for format rights.

Swiping’s creatives are now hoping to get greenlit for second season.

B-RF’s other projects include:

  • Nathan Grossman’s documentary Greta about climate activist Greta Thunberg – to premiere on BBC, SVT, WDR, Hulu in 2020.
  • David Sandberg’s English language feature Kung Fury 2 starring Michael Fassbender and Arnold Schwarznegger-to premiere 2021.
  • the Swedish biopic I am Zlatan about the formative years of football star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, set to start production in the fall 2020.
  • Nordic Talent winner Fanny Ovesen’s debut feature Laura set to start production in 2021.
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