Netflix Orders ‘Vinterviken 2021’ from Endemol Shine’s ‘The Bridge’ Producer Filmlance Intl. (EXCLUSIVE)

Vinterviken 2021
Niklas Johansso

Netflix has placed an order for “Vinterviken 2021,” a contemporary adaptation of the acclaimed 1993 Mats Wohl novel, “Vinterviken,” the U.S. streaming giant announced Thursday.

In a coup for Endemol Shine’s EMEA scripted division, “Vinterviken 2021” will be produced by Filmlance International, part of the Endemol Shine Group and producer of the original “The Bridge” (“Bron”/”Broen”), a milestone in Nordic Noir, as well as “Caliphate,” which earlier this year broke audience records on Swedish public broadcaster SVT’s VOD catch-up service SVT Play.

The original novel inspired a high-profile movie of the same title. The inclusion of the year in the new movie’s title looks like a declaration of intentions. A high school romantic drama, “Vinterviken 2021” plumbs social inequalities and prejudice which have only grown in the 25 years since the novel, doing so through a teen love story between Elisabeth and John-John where the audience discover, along with its young protagonists the force of such phenomena.

In the new Netflix title, in the brief plot line unveiled by Netflix, the two youngsters are raised in the same city, yet live light years apart, divided by an economic, social and cultural gulf – until, that is, the day when they start in the same high school class.

“Mats Wahl’s novel portrays a timeless theme: Love beyond social status and class,” said “Vinterviken 2021” producer Teresa Alldén. “The new film adaptation must reflect the development of society. ‘Vinterviken 2021’ should thus be a modern story about experiencing true love in a world full of prejudice and economic inequality.”

The film is directed by Alexis Almström and written by Dunja Vujovic, who collaborated with Alldén on upcoming Filmlance Intl. TV series “Top Dog,” made for C More/TV 4. It is set to be released globally by Netflix in 2021 and co-produced by Sveriges Television (SVT), Sweden’s public broadcaster.

“I will never forget when I watched ‘Vinterviken’ as a teenager in the ‘90s,” added Almström. He added: “A lot has happened since then, not only in a good way. A feeling of hopelessness is becoming prevalent amongst young people, regardless of background. So I’m excited to share this hopeful story about young lovers breaking class barriers with the global Netflix audience.

“We’re thrilled to be able to bring a contemporary version of this modern Swedish classic [novel] to a global audience and we believe that the universal themes of love, class differences and segregation will resonate with our audiences all over the world,” commented Lina Brouneus, director, co-production & acquisition at Netflix.

She added: “We can’t wait to see how Alexis Almström and the rest of the incredible team at Filmlance International will reflect the times that we live in and make this story come to life again.”

“Vinterviken 2021” adds to Netflix’s fast-building cannon of Swedish-language originals after it ordered its first, “Quicksand,” in 2017 from SF Studios Stockholm-based FLX and “The Bridge” co-writer Camilla Ahlgren, based on a Malin Persson Giolito novel.

Netflix was attracted by Sweden’s tradition of great crime literature and series, said Erik Barmack, then Netflix VP of international original series. While commissioning crime underworld thriller series “Snabba Cash” last June, Netflix has, however, gone beyond the boundaries of Nordic Noir, ordering up  quirky hostage-situation thriller “Anxious People” and romantic dramedy “Love & Anarchy” and now high-school love story “Vinterviken 2021.”

Headed by “The Bridge” executive producer Lars Blomgren, until he was appointed Endemol Shine head of scripted, EMEA, in June 2018, Filmlance International’s production credits take in “The Bridge,” a dark, melancholic crime procedural that was key in the current building popularity of non-English language drama series; and often edge-of-the-seat jihad terrorism thriller “Caliphate.”

Upcoming projects are  “Beartown” for HBO, adapting Frederick Beckman’s novel about how one terrible incident shatters the dreams of a small Swedish community; crime imbroglio drama-thriller “Top Dog,” a series based on best-selling author Jens Lapidus’ latest trilogy; and four new, predictably gritty, “Beck” crime drama movies.

Endemol Shine EMEA Scripted’s footprint continues to grow each year, with 69 non-English language dramas on air last year, compared to 50 in 2018.