Scandi TV in focus

Greg Poehler on his 'Welcome to Sweden': 'It opened some doors having my sister on the project'

Welcome to Sweden
David Einar TV4

A bunch of attention-grabbing Scandi projects were presented at the opening TV seminar of the Nordic Film Market, “TV Drama Vision,” held at Goteborg on Thursday. One of them was “Welcome to Sweden,” the English-speaking Swedish comedy series created, directed by and starred by Greg Poehler, brother to Amy Poehler who’s executive producing and also doing a cameo in the show.

“Welcome to Sweden,” produced by FLX in co-production with TV4, Entertainment One and Syskon (the production company set up by the two Poehlers), has already been sold to NBC, making it the first Swedish TV series ever to be sold directly to a big network channel in the US.

“Of course it opened some doors having my sister on the project,” said Greg Poehler when presenting the first clips at Goteborg. “But I’m also really good at convincing people that I can do things, whether it’s true or not,” said Poehler, a former lawyer and a stand-up comedian.

“Welcome to Sweden” recounts Greg Poehler’s “very autobiographical” story, where the American Bruce Evans (Poehler himself) sets off to Stockholm with his Swedish girlfriend (Josephine Bornebusch).

“It’s about cultural classes, about being a stranger in a strange land, and whether their love can survive. I wanted to do a romantic comedy that are real and sweet, and in addition to that funny.”

Bruce Evans’ alleged mother-in-law is played by Lena Ohlin, a therapist disapproving towards her daughter’s relationship. Apart from Amy Poehler, Will Ferrell, Gene Simmonds and Patrick Duffy (as Bruce’s father) can be seen in cameos.

Skein will unspool domestically at TV4 in March, and at NBC during the summer.

In a more general presentation of the Nordic territory ten projects were reviewed. Also from Sweden: Johan Renck’s gangster thriller “The Fat & The Angry,” starring Gustaf Skarsgard and premiering on Swedish Television on February 9.

From Denmark was among others “1864,” penned and helmed by Ole Bornedahl (Nightwatch) for DR. Possibly inspired by the success of Nikolaj Arcel’s “A Royal Affair,” this ambitious period piece tackles the bloodiest war in Danish history, against the Germans. Sidse Babett Knudsen from “The Fortress” does one of the leads. Svensk is handling sales.

Another large-scale project presented was the $12.5 million-budgeted Norwegian “The Heavy Water War.” Produced by Filmkameratene in co-production with NRK and SF, Per-Olav Sorensen has directed six 45-minutes episodes. The series accounts the story when Norwegian saboteurs destroyed Nazi Germany’s dreams of developing the atomic bomb. The same issue was treated in “Anthony Mann’s The Heroes from Telemark” from 1965, starring Kirk Douglas. Svensk is handling sales.

Apart from presenting specific projects The Drama Vision offered a full-day seminar with keynote speakers focusing on Israeli and Icelandic TV Drama, and several panelists discussing international trends and what’s next in the successful Nordic Noir territory.