Toplining the international cast are Norway’s Evelyn Rasmussen Osazuwa (The Oil Fund), Finland’s Johannes Holopainen (All the Sins) and France’s Alain Azerot (Black Earth Rising).
Created by head-writer/director Matti Kinnunen (Miss Blue Jeans, Time Out), Cargo (Rahti) filming is currently taking place in Malta and will continue in Finland early March until mid-June.
Playing against Osazuwa, Holopainen and Azerto are Amos Brotherus (Dogs Don’t Wear Pants, M/S Romantic) and Oona Airola (The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki, Bullets). The cinematographer is the experienced Anssi Leino (Deadwind, Bordertown).
Kinnunnen detailed to nordicfilmandtvnews.com the plot and how the story evolves across the eight episode season: “Kiki, the main character [played by Osazuwa) travels from Eritrea to Finland and tries to find her husband and daughter who went missing in the first episode. Elsewhere, Riku [Johannes Holopainen], a small-time criminal, gets pulled into the depths of human smuggling unwillingly. These two plots merge later and the theme and the thematics expand from human smuggling towards international human trafficking.”
To create a realistic drama and try to understand the murky world of human trafficking and illegal immigration, Kinnunen undertook fact-based research and personal investigation. “There’s all kinds of statistics on immigration, and all officials have been very helpful”, he commented. “But when it comes to human smuggling, I had to do a lot of investigation to find facts. I heard a lot of assumptions and guesswork. The police’s answer to many questions was: “That’s probably true” or “we can assume that...”
"Human smuggling and trafficking is a form of crime that is constantly changing when it comes to the routes, the people who do it and the countries people come from. It’s a kind of cat-and-mouse game where the law of demand and supply prevails. When officials try to stop the human smugglers, the routes get more dangerous and the people fleeing their countries have to pay more.”
The series is Fremantle Finland’s first major high-end drama, produced by Rea Dominicy and executive produced by Kirsi Hatara for Yle, with co-financing from Nordic 12’s DR, NRK, SVT, RÚV, Business Finland and support from Nordisk Film & TV Fond. London-based global distribution group Fremantle handles world sales.
The series will premiere on Yle in the fall 2021.