HBO’s ‘Beartown’ Among 50 Nordic Sneak Peeks at Göteborg’s TV Drama Vision

Annika Pham

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For the first time ever, a record number of 13 talent scouts -including U.S. reps from Wiip, CAA, Gersh- will set foot at Göteborg’s sold-out Nordic TV Drama Vision (Jan.29-30), where around 50 series in progress and in development will play to 420 industry delegates.

“This is the first time ever we have such a large presence of talent agents in Göteborg, but mirrors the worldwide trend of people trying to uncover and snap up the next big talent and stories, of which the Nordics abound,” said head of industry Cia Edström.

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Heading the works in progress is HBO’s Swedish original “Beartown,” to be discussed by HBO Nordic’s commissioning editor & VP Original Programming, Hanne Palmquist, director Peter Grönlund, and Filmlance International’s producers Bonnie Skoog Feeney and Mattias Arehn. The adaptation of Fredrik Backman’s best-selling novel will bow on HBO later this year.

The dramedy “Dreaming of England,” a “wonderful female driven series with refreshing ingredients and humor”, according to Edström, is another anticipated show from Sweden, produced by Art&Bob for Swedish public broadcaster SVT. Iceland’s short form comedy “My Funeral,” in the vein of Ricky Gervais’s “Afterlife”, will be pitched by producer Hordur Rúnarsson of fast-growing prodco Glassriver, while Finnish comic book artist and illustrator JP Ahonen will explain why his black metal mockumentary “Belzebubs,”, commissioned by Finland’s Yle, has evolved from a self-therapy project into a large cross-media project.

The works in development take in Finnish drama “The Social Worker” from “Black Widow” creators Mikko Pöllä and Roope Lehtinen, Norwegian teen crime “Svik,” produced by Mer Film (“Disco”), as well as four premium shows from other parts of Europe: Austrian crime series “Snow”, Estonian thriller “The Deep”, Bulgaria’s fertility drama “Babyland” and Ukraine’s dystopian thriller “Alive,” Ukraine’s rising drama output will be showcased as well with a case study of the crime drama “Hide & Seek,” produced for ICTV and Russia’s SVOD service Okko.

Rounding out the TV sneaks from the Nordics will be 40-plus trailers of upcoming series and the presentation of five high-end dramas competing for outstanding Nordic TV screenplay at the Nordisk Film & TV Fond Award: Norway’s “22 July” (NRK), Sweden’s “Caliphate” (SVT), Iceland’s “Happily Never After” (RÚV) and Finland’s “The Paradise” (Yle).

As always, top Nordic and international TV execs will take centre stage to discuss upcoming trends and challenges ahead. This year’s fact & figures specialist will be Ampere Analysis’ Guy Bisson, while Danish academic and formal philosophy professor Vincent F. Hendricks (Copenhagen University) will provide food for thought as TV Drama’s opening speaker.

European TV keynote speakers announced include ZDF’s international co-production specialists Simone Emmelius and Frank Seyberth, as well as influential French producers Caroline Benjo and Carole Scotta of Haut & Court (“The Last Panthers”, “The New Pope”).

Citing the challenges for producers to continue to create successful high-end shows in a peak TV market, to nurture talent and stay independent, Edström said four senior executives will contribute to the discussion in the panel titled The European Model: Endemol Shine Group’s Lars Blomgren, ZDF’s Emmelius, producer Dariuzs Jablonski, and SVT’s Anna Croneman.

Finally, to fuel the debate around tax credits and incentives (still lacking in Sweden), film & TV consultant Petri Kemppinen will moderate the roundtable ‘Simply cash or creative resources-the state of production incentives’.

At press time, the full program of Göteborg’s TV Drama Vision was yet to be finalized.

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