HBO Europe, NBCU, Fremantle & ITV to Battle for 2021’s Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize

Titles backed or produced by HBO Europe (“Welcome to Utmark”), NBCU (“Sisterhood”), Fremantle (“Cargo”) and ITV  Studios (“Thin Blue Line”) have been nominated for the 5th Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize, the most prestigious Nordic award for drama series screenwriting.

In a powerful smackdown, a fifth series, “Cry Wolf,” is produced by DR Drama, the Danish producer of Nordic Noir icons “The Killing” and The Bridge” as well as “Borgen.”

Adding another edge to competition, the five contenders are produced by companies based in the five main Nordic countries and backed by three of its biggest public broadcasters, Sweden’s SVT, Denmark’s DR and Finland’s YLE, as well as pan-Nordic pay TV giant Viaplay, part of the Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT).

The winner of the award, which goes to the main writer, will be announced on Feb. 3 at Sweden’s Göteborg Film Festival during its TV Drama Vision, its ever more important drama series forum.
“In this time of social distancing, engaging and diverse stories that bring us together is more important ever,” said Cia Edström, head of TV Drama Vision. “The variety of form and expression shows the present high Nordic quality in multiple genres, in old, new and mixed ones,” added Liselott Forsman, Nordisk Film & TV Fond CEO.

The nominees:

Finland. Nominated writer: Matti Kinnunen. Sold by Fremantle, and marking Fremantle Finland’s incursion into high-end drama, the latest by film (“Time Out,” “Miss Blue Jeans”) and TV (“Tarinanmetsästäjät”) writer-director, which begins with Kiki, an Eritrean woman, arriving in Finland find her husband and daughter who have gone missing. When she runs into petty criminal Riku (Johannes Holopainen), the drama gradually broadens its canvas to expose the sale and iniquities of international human trafficking business.

“Cry Wolf”
Denmark. Nominated writer: Maja Jul Larsen

Created by “Borgen” writer Larsen (“Borgen”), a discomforting social drama captures the teen psychology and complexities of social services welfare driving a seemingly innocent man to be accused of aggravated assault of his own step-daughter, Holly, 14, who is horrified by her loss of safe world of childhood and the sexuality her stepdad symbolizes. Selected for Series Mania’s 2020 main competition, co-directed by Pernille Fischer Christensen and sold, among major territories, to France (Salto), Spain (Movistar Plus9, Australia (SBS) and Germany (Telepool).


Iceland. Nominated writer: Jóhann Ævar Grímsson

The first completed series to emerge from a multi-year development and distribution deal inked by Icelandic powerhouse producer Sagafilm (“Stella Blómkvist,” “Cold Courage”) and U.K.-based Sky Studios in 2019, with NBCUniversal Global Distribution handling sales. From creator/scribe Jóhann Ævar Grímsson, whose writing credits include “Stella Blomkvist” and “Thin Ice.” Initial Nordic Noir – the skeletal remains of a young girl, Hanna, who disappeared 20 years ago, are found in a gravel mine in Iceland – the series exposes the guilty party becoming less a whodunit, more about “notions of guilt, shame,” Grímsson told Variety.


“Thin Blue Line”
Nominated writer: Cilla Jackert

Sold by ITV Studios, which presented it in its sales lineup at its 3rd Drama Festival in February, the 10-part crime procedural is produced by Anagram Sweden for Swedish public broadcaster SVT, another Nordic Noir prime mover partnering Denmark’s DR on “The Bridge.” Steered by head writer Jackert, who wrote movie “Shed No Tears” from Midnight Sun directors Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein, “Thin Blue Line” is set in Sweden’s multicultural Malmö, where six cops attempt to balance professional and personal lives. Adding to a strong female talent package, the series is lead directed by “My Skinny Sister’s” Sanna Lenken.


“Welcome to Utmark”
Nominated writer: Kim Fupz Aakeson

HBO’s first time in competition, an HBO Europe series produced by Oslo’s Paradox Film 8 AS but tapping talent across the region including Danish lead writer Kim Fupz Aakeson, nominated for 13 Danish Film Awards in a two-decade career, and Icelandic director Dagur Kári, who burst onto the film scene with his 203 debut “Noi the Albino,” a Göteborg Festival best Nordic Film winner. Together, they draw a rogues gallery of tarnished oddballs – a corrupt sheriff, alcoholic shepherd, nature-loving bootlegger, God-hating pastor, and grieving pimp – packing a remote Nordic hamlet which doesn’t take kindly to outsiders.


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