Standout series spur buyers’ interest at Scandinavian Screening

10 JUNE 2019

Scandinavian Screening / PHOTO: Annika Pham H

Helsinki’s TV showcase (June 4-6) gave 100 selected world buyers and programmers an overview of the Nordic trends and upcoming TV series. Read our comprehensive report. 

Hosted by Yle at the Helsinki Music Centre, the two-day pitching and screening event Scandinavian Screening gathered some of the top international clients of Nordic TV series, including the BBC, Nhz Networks US, AMC Networks, Netflix, Orange France, Arte, M6, VRT, Mediaset, Rai, HBO Spain, NBC Universal International, RTL Group, NDR, SBS Australia, NPS, Lumiere, Just Bridge Benelux among others.

Buyers enjoyed the overall high-quality of the 30-pitch, intimate and focused event, on top of the splendid weather and location in Helsinki’s cultural hub.


Standout series spur buyers’ interest at Scandinavian Screening

Musiikkitalo / PHOTO: Arno Chapelle

Among the most buzzed about shows were DR’s When the Dust Settles, NRK’s Countrymen, Discovery Networks Norway’s Big Kids, Viaplay’s Honour, Elisa Viihde’s The Hum and Summer of Sorrow, Yle’s Peacemaker, RUV’s Bankster, the docu series Would You Eat This? (Yle) and Snowhow (NRK). 

Sue Deeks, BBC Head of Programme Acquisition and her colleague Simon Chilcott, Editor of Programme Acquisitions, said they are usually interested mainly in finished programmes, but were “happy to see what’s coming from the region and to connect with distributors and producers of Nordic TV dramas”. “We started buying international foreign language drama around 12 years ago for BBC Four. Now there is more of it on screens, and the UK audience’s hunger for it keeps growing. Crime and drama in particular are very strong,” noted Chilcott, referring to the very good reviews that Follow the Money 3 received in the UK.

Hector Lavigne, Paris-based Head of Acquisitions & Productions at NBC Universal International, said that crime thriller is his focal point, but he was “pleased to see the large range of content now produced in the Nordic region”, from comedy to relationship drama, sci-fi and crime. Recent Nordic dramas acquired by Lavigne include Modus, Greyzone, Spring Tide.

French group M6’s Head of Artistic Selection Ridha Barkaoui, long time Scandinavian Screening attendee, said he has cut down on US TV shows and increased content from the rest of the world, including from the Nordics. “Nordic TV shows are entertaining and at the same time engaging and challenging”,’ he said. “Take the series When the Dust Settles. It deals with terrorism but from an interesting angle, demonstrating how it changes the characters and their lives.” The French TV buyer also underlined the topicality of the Swedish drama Honour, in the #MeToo era, a show that would fit the female skewing M6. Barkaoui’s most recent Nordic acquisition includes NRK’s fantasy comedy Magnus.

Barkaoui’s colleague Elise Caulliez, Head of Artistic Selection-Unscripted Content for M6 and first-time participant at Scandinavian Screening said: “Usually I buy documentaries from the UK, the US, Germany, among others, but I’m planning to widen my slate. This was a perfect opportunity to check what’s being made in Scandinavia."

Banijay Studios Scripted Format Director Denis Leroy was in Helsinki “to look for projects with co-production, co-financing and distribution potential.” “It was very useful to see the projects pitched. I will relay the information to our Banijay production companies and to our distribution arm Banijay Rights. I was also able to spot IPs and formats with remake potential, said Leroy, underlining that his group is handling the hit show Skam France.

Scandinavian Screening was co-organised by Yle Sales, DR Sales, SVT Sales, NRK and RUV, with REinvent Studios, Eccho Rights, TrustNordisk, Nordic World, Elisa Viihde, C More/MTV, Audiovisual Producers Finland, the Norwegian Film Institute and Nordisk Film & TV Fond. Besides the 30 pitches, more than 100 recent Nordic programmes were available on tablets.

Full list of projects pitched: 

  • Big Kids (Store barn) 
    22x12’ Norwegian comedy series directed by Mathis Fürst for Feelgood Production.
    About a group of adults, former high school friends as their own kids turn teenagers. “It’s about waking up, and being more hung over than your teenage kid, about friendship and how age is -in theory- just a number.” Premiere set for spring 2020 on Discovery Networks Norway/TVNorge. 
  • Falling Down (Mannen som falt
    6x45’ Norwegian true crime docu series directed by Tommy Gulliksen (Terror Island) for Norsk Fjernsyn. Investigation into the mysterious death of Norwegian civil engineer Jan Wiborg in 1994, who was working on the controversial construction of a new airport in Oslo. Premiere on Discovery Networks Norway/TVNorge  November 2019. 
  • Love Story (Kj)ærlighet 
    8x42’ Norwegian relationship dramedy produced by Anagram Norway for TV2 Norway and TV2 Denmark. Nicolaj Cleve Broch, Agnes Kittelsen, Lærke Winter and Johannes Nymark play the title roles in the series directed by Aigil Langmark and Charlotte Sachs Borstrup. Premiering this fall. Yellow Affair handles sales. 

Standout series spur buyers’ interest at Scandinavian Screening

Love Story Scandinavian Screening / PHOTO: Annika Pham
  • 16 
    Norwegian Documentary (60’/90’) directed by Kenneth Elvebakk for Fuglene Production. About being gay and the first ones to dare to tell the world. Ready in 2021. 
  • 5 From Hell 
    10x45’ Danish gangster drama from established writer/director Ole Christian Madsen who serves as showrunner. Produced by Creative Alliance in co-production with REInvent Studios, overseeing sales. Premiere on Viaplay late 2020. 
  • A Family Matter (En familiesag) 
    8x58’ Danish drama thriller from Pernille Fischer Christensen, produced by DR Drama. About love, power and lies. Premiere on DR in the fall 2020. DR Sales handles sales. 
  • When the Dust Settles (Når Støvet har lagt sig) 
    8x58’ drama from concept director Milad Alami, produced by DR Drama. Multi-plot drama following eight people, before and after a terrorist attack. Premiere on DR in January 2020. DR Sales handles sales. 
  • Peacemaker 
    10-part Finnish political thriller produced by MRP Matila Röhr Productions for Yle. AJ Annila directs. Co-stars include Louise Peterhoff (Blue Eyes) and Kardo Razzazi (Alex). Premiere fall 2020. “It’s the first time we look at the peace-making process how to build peace out of violence,” said producer Marko Röhr. REInvent Studios handles sales.

Standout series spur buyers’ interest at Scandinavian Screening

Peacemaker Scandinavian Screening / PHOTO: Annika Pham
  • Snowhow 
    4x58’ Norwegian docu series by Ole Andre Lagmandokk. Produced by NRK with Yle, SVT. About the Nordic winter and how it affects people’s lives. Premiere in 2020. 
  • My Husband’s Wife (Mieheni vaimo) 
    8x42’ Finnish drama produced by Lucy Loves Drama for Yle. Inari Niemi directs. About two women and rivals forced to live together when the man who had separate lives with each one of them suddenly dies. Premiere in 2021. 
  • Rideout 
    6x50’ hi-octane Finnish drama produced by Funfar Films for Yle. Set in the early 70s, the series is inspired by the life of Grand Prix motorcycle road racer Jarno Saarinen and his rivalry with Giacomo Agostini.
  • Custody (Kannattelijat) 
    8x50’ Finnish mystery drama directed by Hanna Maylett for Yle Drama. About two female social workers and their day to day involvement with children in a care unit in the Helsinki area. The series is based on real life custody cases and based on research. Shooting now. Premiere on Yle scheduled for spring 2021. 
  • Samuel 
    6x50’ historical suspense drama produced by Production House for Yle. The drama based on true events tells the story of a young Jew, working as an intelligence officer, who discovers classified documents on the holocaust. This is an important story as we have family connections to real persons who inspired the series,” said director Taru Mäkelä. Production in 2020. 
  • Countrymen (Jordbrukene) 
    8x45’ Norwegian satirical drama co-created and written by producer Anne Bjørnstad (Lilyhammer, Beforeigners) and director Izer Aliu (Hunting Flies). Rubicon TV produces for NRK. The series follows a group of young men who move away from Oslo to the countryside, pretending to share an interest for farming. Filming in 2020. 
  • Nudes 
    19x9’ Norwegian teen drama produced by Nina M. Barbosa Blad (The Manila Lover) for NRK. To be directed by newcomer Liv Joelle Barbosa Blad and Erika Calmeyer (Twin). Anthology series following three teenagers going through a serious life crisis when their nude photos go viral. Premiere on NRK this fall.
  • White Wall 
    8x45’ sci fi drama produced by Fire Monkey and Nice Drama for SVT/Yle. Directed by Aleksi Salmenperä. Starring Aksel Hennie, Vera Vitali, Ardalan Esmaili. “It’s about human curiosity and our inability to understand that we will never understand the world in full,” said co-creator and producer Mikko Pöllä (Black Widows). Premiere in the fall 2020. DRG handles sales. 
  • Pikkuli & the Starlight Reindeer (Pikkuli ja Tähtipeura) 
    Finnish Animated series produced by Sun in the Eye Productions with KiKa Germany for Yle. Children’s series directed by Antti Aittokoski and Metsämarja Aittokoski. About the magic of Christmas. Production in 2020. 
  • Transport 
    8x50’ Finnish series produced by Tekele Productions for Yle. Directed by Auli Mantila (Prix Europa winner for Silver Stars (Hopeanuolet) mini-series. Crime drama set in the meat trade across Europe, featuring three intertwined stories. Production is set to start late 2019.

Standout series spur buyers’ interest at Scandinavian Screening

Tran$port Scandinavian Screening / PHOTO: Annika Pham
  • Happily Never After (Pabbahelgar)
    6x45’ Icelandic drama series created by Nanna Kristín Magnúsdóttir. Produced by ZikZak Filmworks for RUV. About a woman and the choice she has to make when she discovers that her husband has cheated on her. Premieres in the fall 2019.
  • Sol 
    Icelandic sci-fi/fantasy drama produced by RUV. The series set in real life Reykjavik and in the online gaming universe, is based on a true story. Daví, an anti-social young boy falls in love with SOL, a mysterious video gamer. Currently in development. 
  • Summer of Sorrow (Munkkivuori) 
    10x60’ Finnish drama thriller produced by Rabbit Films for Elisa Viihde. Directed by Jani Volanen (M/S Romantic). Set in the early 80s, in a Helsinki suburb. A tale of one horrible summer, seen from the children’s perspective. Premiere set for 2021.
  • The Hum 
    8x45’ Finnish sci-fi drama in early development, produced by It’s Alive Films for Elisa Viihde. Teemu Nikki (Euthanizer) directs with Pekka Hara, Nalle Sjöblad. The drama follows a British journalist as she investigates the global phenomenon of a mysterious hum, from the UK to the Nordics. The thriller about sonic warfare is set in present day, and between 1988-1991. 
  • Reindeer Mafia (Poromafia) 
    8x42’ Finnish action drama produced by Kaiho Republic for MTV/C More. About a mafia family in Lapland. Starring Samuli Edelmann and Mikael Persbrandt. To be shot in Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, English. Production in 2020. 
  • Honour (Heder) 
    8x45’ Swedish drama produced by Bigster for Viaplay. Directed by Richard Holm and Manuel Concha. Starring Alexandra Rapaport, Anja Lundqvist, Julia Dufvenius and Eva Röse as powerful lawyers, fighting for justice, while hiding a secret. Premiere August 30. Sold by Ecco Rights. 
  • Swiping (Dejta) 
    8x45’ Swedish drama comedy about online dating, produced by BRF for SVT. Directed by Jens Sjögren (Torpederna) and Rojda Sekersöz (Beyond Dreams). Set to premiere on SVT in 2020. Sold by Eccho Rights.
  • 14th Santa (Fjórtándi Jólasveinninn) 
    Family animated series produced by Iceland’s Glassriver, with Caoz, Sonar Entertainment for RÚV. A tribute to Icelandic Christmas celebration and the local legend of Santa Claus. The family entertainment will go into production in 2020. 
  • Bankster 
    8x52’ Icelandic drama series directed by Baldvin Z (Let Me Fall, Case), produced by Glassriver for RÚV. Based on the true story of one of the largest bank robberies in history. After the fall of the Icelandic banks in 2008, Alex, a former banker returns to the police to try to cover up the crime he committed within the bank. It’s a run against time as Laura, a UK Serious Fraud Officer is after him. Their cat-and-mouse game leads them to a dark path of corruption and debauchery that goes all the way to the highest level of governments across Europe. The project is in development. 

Standout series spur buyers’ interest at Scandinavian Screening

Bankster Scandinavian Screening / PHOTO: Annika Pham
  • Would You Eat This? (Voiko tätä syödä?) 
    8x22’ Finnish docu series produced by Yle, in co-production with SVT, NRK, DR, RÚV. A scientist and a top chef investigate what will be on our plates tomorrow and how the world can feed the ever-growing population in a sustainable way. Filming will take place between 2019-2020. The premiere is set for late 2020. 
  • The Saga of Our Common Sea 
    6x50’ Finnish docu series produced by Yle about the Baltic Sea’s turbulent history, narrated by Irina Björklund. Producers Ari Lehikoinen and Laura Vehkaoja said the story will move from East to West, with each episode focusing on different prestigious wrecks, brought back to life via VFX graphics. The €2.1m series will premiere in 2023. Yle Sales handles world sales. 
  • Little Scandinavia 
    3x60’ Swedish series produced by Tomas Lindh for SVT. The Swedish prison system will be used as a model for a US prison in Pennsylvania, with 128 selected inmates taking part in the experiment. Filming will take place across nine prisons in 2020.

Standout series spur buyers’ interest at Scandinavian Screening

Helsinki skyline / PHOTO: HS