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Goteborg Highlights the Best TV Drama From the Nordic Region – and Belgium

Variety logo Variety 1/27/2017 Jorn Rossing Jensen
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“We were early introducing TV drama into the Göteborg program, so this year’s Game Changers and Creators is the eleventh time the festival is dedicating a two-day seminar to this part of the industry,” said head of industry, Cia Edström, of the Göteborg International Film Festival, who has organised the program with Finnish-Swedish film critic and TV presenter Andrea Reuter.

“From the beginning we have had a special interest in screenplays, so we will introduce a large number of upcoming TV series from the Nordic production companies, as well, commented Edström, who has been working for the festival since 2004. She added that  – as the title says – the seminar will also highlight new commissioners, what stories they are looking for, their strategies and how they stitch together a budget in today’s drama landscape.

One changers/creator opens events: U.S.-French former senior vp at HBO, Anne Thomopoulos, who was an instrumental part in creating  America’s quality drama brand. Her first job was to set up a dramatic series department at HBO; she developed ”Oz” (1997-2003), HBO’s first one-hour drama series, then established the company’s mini-series division with, among other works, the Emmy-winning ”Band of Brothers” (2001).

Thomopoulos executive-produced the historical drama series ”Rome” (2005-2007, HBO/BBC) ”Generation Kill” (2008, HBO), and ”Borgia” (2011-) and ”Versailles” (2015-) for Canal Plus. In an interview, she will talk about the formative years at HBO, her love of Nordic drama series, and what it takes to get lavish historical dramas off the ground.

Owned by Sweden’s Modern Times Group (MTG TV), Viaplay is transforming from a traditional broadcaster into a digital entertainment firm; besides the Nordic countries of Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway, it has since July 2016 serviced the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Having backed the ”Black Widows” series (2016, MTG TV-TV3), it is involved in SVT’s ”Our Time Is Now” project, presented during the seminar.

As game changers, Nordic streaming services Viaplay and HBO Nordic – the Scandinavian arm of the U.S. cable and satellite TV network – will present their strategies for the future and priorities in original content. Program director Fredrik Ljungberg represents Viaplay; commissioning editor, VP original programming Hanne Palmqvist will stand up for HBO Nordic; Palmqvist, former head of the Nordisk Film & TV Fund, started in her newly-created job last year.

This year’s national seminar focus covers Belgium. ”The country has recently premiered a large number of high-quality TV series, so we have asked Belgian producer Pieter Van Huyck to take us through the creative process,” explained Edström, who is looking forward to a series of sold-out meetings at Göteborg’s BioPalatset: 295 registered participants, for the first time, from 19 countries.

The Nordic TV series presented at Göteborg take in Norwegian pubcaster NRK-Monster Scripted’s eight-part “Nobel,” which won the Prix Europa for Best Mini-Series of the year; TV2 Norway’s “The Third Eye” (Rubicon TV/TV2 Norway); and “Meglerne 2” (Monster Scripted/TV2 Norway).

Also in the line-up: Sweden’s “Spring Tide” (Filmlance, pubcaster SVT) and “The Most Forbidden” (Göta Film/SVT); and “Gåsmamman” (Kanal 5-C More) and “Black Widows.” (Moskito/TV3, Viaplay). The line-up is completed by Finland’s “The Red Couple” (pubcaster YLE). Iceland’s “Case” (Saga Film/Channel 2) and Denmark’s “Splitting Up Together” (Happy Film-TV2 Denmark).

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