Showrun by Oscar-nominated Danish director Lone Sherfig, “The Shift” will battle it out with Series Mania top winner “Blackport” and Canneseries winner “Countrymen” for 2022’s 6th Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize.
Also in contention are Finnish crime drama “Transport” and psychological thriller “Vi y Villa,” an early show from Sweden’s Discovery Plus.
All five titles, however diverse, underscore the strong social issue drive of much upscale Nordic and indeed European drama, affording a snapshot of larger tensions coursing society at large.
Winners of the Nordic TV Drama Screenplay Award, which goes to a show’s main writer, will receive a €20,000 ($22,600) cash prize, announced during the Göteborg Film Festival’s TV Drama Vision, a highlight of the festival, on Feb. 2.
“Good scripts form the basis of our strong Nordic drama series,. Writing talents should be cherished every day and celebrated through script honours and awards,” commented Liselott Forsman, CEO of the Nordisk Film & TV Fond.
She added: “This year’s five finalists skillfully communicate significant themes in an inspiring way, through both comedy and social issue drama genres and also through combinations of two.”
Cia Edström, Göteborg’s head of TV Drama Vision, praised “the diverse stories and creative talent of this year’s selection.”
Here’s a drill-down on the nominees:
“The Shift” Nominated writer: Lone Scherfig
The return to TV work of Scherfig, a triple Oscar nominee for “An Education,” and starring Denmark’s Sofie Gråbøl (“The Killing,” “The Undoing”) in a modern-day maternity ward drama sold by Beta Film and scheduled to air in May 2022. “My ambition is for the series to possess quality and emotion but still contribute to the narrative of our society, both politically and humanly,” Scherfig told Variety, calling the series “Nordic Light.”
Denmark, 2022. Eight-part drama. Broadcaster: TV 2. Produced by: Creative Alliance. Producer: Malene Blenkov. Directors: Lone Scherfig, Ole Christian Madsen, Søren Balle . Premiere: May 2022 Sales: Beta Film (World Sales), TV 2 Denmark (Nordic territories)
“Blackport” Nominated writers: Gísli Örn Gardarsson, Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, Mikael Torfason
Half family saga, half tragic farce and a deep-dive into recent Icelandic history kicking off in 1983 as Harpa, a village council secretary, builds a local fishing empire in a stunning western fjord but at an ever larger cost as the decade plays out. Shot on location and based on true fact, “Blackport” oozes two of the calling cards of contemporary drama series: a sense of authentic local detail and a lid-lifting on a little known period in European history.
Iceland, 2021. Eight-part drama. Broadcasters: RÚV, Arte France. Produced by: Vesturport. Producers: Nana Alfredsdóttir, Gísli Örn Gardarsson, Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, Nina Dögg Filippusdóttir. Directors: Gísli Örn Gardarsson, Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, María Reyndal. Premiere: Dec. 26, 2021. Sales: About Premium Content
“Countrymen” Nominated writers: Izer Aliu, Anne Bjørnstad
A ensemble cast winner at Canneseries, and penned by revered Norwegian screenwriter Anne Bjørnstad (“Lilyhammer,” “Beforeigners”) alongside newcomer writer-director Izer Aliu (“Hunting Flies”). A dark-humored tale and vision of a modern multi-cultural Norway following four Muslim men who move to a rural part of Norway and end up creating Norway’s first halal cheesemaking business.
Norway, 2021, Eight-part drama. Broadcasters: NRK, Arte France. Produced by: Rubicon. Producers: Mikael Diseth, Fridrik H. Mar. Directors: Izer Aliu, Aurora Gossé, Brwa Vahabpour Premiere: Oct. 2021. Sales: Banijay Rights.
“Transport,” Nominated writer: Auli Mantila
From Prix Europa winner Auli Mantila (“Silver Stars”, “The Geography of Fear”), who serves as showrunner, a crime drama set in the food trade. “It’s the tale of ordinary people under immense pressure, all of whom are connected to the illegal transport of horses along the roads and wires of Europe,” said veteran producer Miia Haavisto (“Tom of Finland”).
Finland, 2022, Eight-part drama. Broadcaster: YLE. Produced by: Tekele Productions. Producers: Miia Haavisto, Tia Talli. Director: Auli Mantila. Premiere: March 25, 2022. Sales: Reinvent.
“Vi i villa” Nominated writer: Tove Eriksen Hillblom
The latest from top Swedish outfit FLX, behind early Netflix Swedish hit “Quicksand,” a psychological thriller about Anders who loathes his middle-class family existence. When finds out his daughter is being ostracized at school, he begins to harass his neighbors.
Sweden, 2022. Half-hour drama. Co-writers: Henrik Schyffert, Maria Nygren. Broadcaster: Discovery Plus/Kanal 5. Produced by: FLX. Producer: Lejla Besic. Director: Henrik Schyffert, John Nordling. Premiere: Spring 2022.