Seasoned Finnish writer-director-producer Aku Louhimies (“Rebellion,” “Frozen Land,” “Unknown Soldier”) is plotting multi-season TV drama “Conflict,” a near-future political action thriller that turns on a Finland threatened by an unknown military force.
Comparing the project to high-profile Norwegian TV show “Occupied,” the director said he had the idea for “Conflict” after his war epic “Unknown Soldier,” Finland’s record-breaking movie with over 1 million ticket sales. “I started thinking what if Finland was suddenly threatened by foreign forces. How would we react and how would that affect geopolitics in the Nordic region?” reflected Louhimies, who contemplates building the project as a major international TV drama.
The project is co-penned by actor Andrei Alén (“Man in Room 301,” “Unknown Soldier”), novelist and officer in reserve Helena Immonen, and long-time writing partner Jari Olavi Rantala (“Frozen Land,” “Omerta 6/12”).
Set on Midsummer’s Eve, the story follows an unknown military unit, as it invades a peaceful sea-side town in Finland. All residents are taken hostage, and civilians, used to living in a welfare state, are left to face how it feels like to be shot at. Among them is Annika Berg (21), a Finnish army soldier. In seconds, her military exercise turns into a real crisis, with true casualties. No one knows if this is an isolated incident or the first step towards a global conflict.
Louhimies said Finnish defense forces have committed to supporting the project with “expertise, material and military equipment.” Pilot scripts for a couple of episodes are locked for the TV show, due to run across three-seasons.
In the meantime, Louhimies is wrapping the shoot of the big-budget Finnish thriller “Omerta 6/12”, one of two pics to be pitched at this week’s Haugesund’s New Nordic Films confab (Aug. 24-27).
Based on Ilkka Remes’ best-selling eponymous novel, the action-packed feature follows Finnish special agent Max Tanner, under E.U. command, in charge of negotiating a hostage crisis with terrorists. Toplining the cast are Jasper Pääkkönen (“BlacKkKlansman”) Nanna Blondell (“Red Dot”) and Sverrir Gudnason (“Falling”).
Produced by Helsinki-based Cinematic, in association with SF Studios, the pic has been pre-sold by REinvent International Sales to Spain (A Contracorriente Films) and German-speaking territories (Splendid). The national premiere is slated for the fall 2021, to be followed by a TV version.
At the other spectrum is Louhimies’ female-centric “The Wait,” also in post.
The intimate drama will be pitched on-site in Haugesund by main actor Inka Kallén (“All the Sins”), a co-writer with Louhimies. Set on the Finnish archipelago, “The Wait” is a modern version of the 1893 classic novel ‘The Vicar’s Wife’ by Juhani Aho, 12-times nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
“It’s a coming of age drama about a woman who undergoes a huge emotional battle between sense and passion,” said the director, expecting some steamy scenes to be challenging material for some territories. Starring opposite Kallén are Andrei Alén and Aku Hirviniemi (“Unknown Soldier,” “Reunion”).
Filmed last summer under COVID-19, with a small crew and fully outdoors, “The Wait” was tagged as the first carbon negative feature, created in collaboration with Compensate, a Finnish non-profit environmental organization.
The romantic drama also features the first film score from Esa-Pekka Salonen, the world renowned Finnish conductor of the San Francisco Symphony. “We’ve known each other a while, and because of some cancelled events due to COVID-19, he was able to dedicate some time to this project,” Louhimies explained.
The pic is produced by the director, Alén and Kaarina Gould for Backmann & Hoderoff. It is due to open later this year via Finnish Aurora Studios, followed by a run on C More/MTV. Louhimies and his partners will be looking for a sales agent at New Nordic Films.
Also on the Finnish director’s busy slate is “Lapland War”, a loose sequel to “Unknown Soldier,” and English-language projects, marking follow-ups to RTÉ’s “Rebellion” and Nent Group Viaplay’s “Rig 45” TV shows.
Louhimies is repped by Eric Garfinkel at The Gersh Agency in the U.S. and Richard Cook at The Lisa Richards Agency U.K./Ireland.