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Goteborg: Modern Times Group SVOD Service Viaplay Sets 2017 Production Lineup

Variety logo Variety 2/4/2017 Jorn Rossing Jensen
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Owned by Sweden’s Modern Times Group – a leading international digital entertainment corporation headquartered in Stockholm – Scandinavian SVOD service Viaplay Nordic has presented a line-up of 17 new TV films and series at the at 40th Göteborg Film Festival.

The roster came as Viaplay program director Fredrik Ljungberg re-confirmed that Viaplay, though it only moved into original production two years, has the ambition of becoming “the Nordic leader of scripted content.”

“Our strategy is to push hard on original content, primarily Nordic, or with a Nordic connection, without a slide in the quality of the works,” stated Ljungberg,  programme director for Viaplay & Viasat Nordic since October 2014.

Just announced for the fall is “The Lawyer”, a Swedish SF Studios production for Viaplay-TV3, sold in terantionally by Studiocanal, and based on an original concept by Jens Lapidus, “The Bridge” creator Hans Rosenfeldt and Michael Hjorth. Principal production for the 10 part series will begin in March with Alexander Karim as a successful defence attorney. He witnessed the murder of his parents and when, he finds out who did it, becomes obsessed with revenge.

Another original 10-part series, scheduled to air this spring, is “Veni, Vidi, Vici,” which follows an artistic film director who after 10 years is about to launch the work of his life. It bombs. He is forced to work at his father’s farm, until he returns to cinema, under the mantra of “Make porn not war.” Created by Swedish writer-actor Rafael Edholm, “Veni, Vidi, Vici” stars Danish actor Thomas Bo Larsen, with Edholm, Livia Millhagen and Mikael Segerström.

Upcoming programs also include “Hassel,” a 10-episode thriller series from Swedish author Olov Svedelid’s novels series about police detective Roland Hassel, which was also filmed for television in the 1980s to 1990s. MTG-owned Nice Drama and German TV giant Beta Film will produce the updated version, created by Henrik Jansson-Schweizer and Morgan Jensen, with Ola Rapace in the lead. It is scheduled for an exclusive fall premiere.

“I think the strong international interest in Nordic TV film and series is due to our way of storytelling that appeals outside Scandinavia,” said Ljungberg,

He added: “It started with the Nordic noir, but now the appetite for ideas is bigger than ever, and at the same time we have become better at realising them. So the productions are getting closer to international levels.”

Viaplay was launched in 2007 as Viasat TV To Go; in 2011 it changed names and in 2016 expanded from the Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland to the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. MTG also operates pay TV channels in the four countries, adding three commercial TV stations in Sweden, Norway and Denmark, with TV3 its largest

Viaplay’s first Nordic series was “Black Widows” – an eight-set thriller-relationship drama starring Swedish actor Peter Stormare, based on a Finnish original from Nelonen TV, which was produced with the TV3 channels in Sweden, Norway and Denmark and aired in 2016. It was followed by the eight-set Nordic noir YA chiller “Black Lake,” also produced with TV3, and local Kids’ Christmas Calendars in Sweden, Norway and Denmark.

The first Viaplay Nordic Original exclusive was “Swedish Dicks,” a half-hour comedy series with Stormare and Johan Glans as two unlicensed PIs in Los Angeles, produced by Brain Academy with the local company Viking Brothers Entertainment.

“It was foreign, all right, but with two Swedish actors in the leads,” said Ljungberg, who is readying a second season which will film later this spring.

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