Dutch Features has acquired international rights to Finnish streaming service Elisa Viihde’s crime series “Evilside,” a six-hour Archipelago thriller set in the Oulu region of northern Finland. Filming took place from Dec. 2021 through Feb. 2022.
“Evilside” is produced by Whatevergroup Oy in collaboration with Handmade Films in Norwegian Woods, Business Finland, Business Oulu and the Finnish Film Foundation.
“What drew us to ‘Evilside’ is that the script had all the characteristics of a good Scandi noir thriller, but with a very diverse mix of characters and so many new elements added,” Dutch Features CEO Pim van Collem told Variety.
He added: “Two women are at the center here: the detective trying to solve the case and the young woman who is accused of the crime. Including a teenage character as one of the leads will feed into a whole new younger audience and we are excited to be hitting the international market with this gem.”
“Evilside” (“Korvessa Kulkevi”) follows the aftermath of the brutal murder of a teen boy in a small fishing village. When both evidence and public opinion points to Johanna, a teenage victim of bullying, she must prove her innocence to everyone – including the police investigating the murder.
The series is for a domestic release in Finland on Elisa Viihde Viaplay in the fall of 2023, Dutch Features will launch show onto the international market with a special presentation to selected buyers at Series Mania, the prominent French TV festival which unspools over March 8-25. The series has also made the cut for this year’s MIPDrama, a sign of its potential industry popularity.
“‘Evilside’ is set in a small community in the archipelago, but its universal theme of feeling excluded is relatable around the world. We are proud that we can bring such strong stories to international audiences with our partners,” said Ani Korpela, Elisa Viihde’s chief content officer [job titles after a name are lower case]. Producer Antti Kaarlela also praised the series’ timely topics, from bullying to “internal tensions” plaguing the village in the Bothnian Bay.
The series is directed by Jussi Hiltunen, also behind “Bordertown” and “Arctic Circle,” with Olivia Ainali, Saimi Kahri, Amira Khalifa, Jacob Öhrman, Dennis Nylund and Matti Onnismaa rounding up the cast.
“When we were coming up with the story, we aimed for themes about outsiders in a tight-knit community. What does it feel like to grow up in a remote village, under the pressure from your own community only because you’re a bit different?,” said creator Aleksi Puranen, who co-wrote the series alongside Antti Kairakari and Oona Haapaniemi.
“We’ve seen plenty of ‘tough-as-nails detective with family issues investigates’ stories before and we wanted something more interesting,” he added.
So “Evilside’s” detective is “less tortured and more mellow – but obviously very smart and brilliant at her job.”
Also, Puranen noted, “Evilside” is a “community thriller with two equal and powerful leads – one investigating the crime and the other one being the teenage girl who is our prime suspect. Together, they lead us through the twists and turns of the story.”