Filmmakers Milad Alami (“Opponent,” “When the Dust Settles”), Kasper Barfoed (“The Chestnut Man,” “Trom”) and up-and-coming creatives Emma Sehested Høed and Jennifer Vedsted Christiansen are some of the Scandi talents plotting projects for the new Danish production banner Uma Film, formerly Good Company Films.
The Copenhagen-based shingle is run by three pedigreed female producers with a solid track record in Danish drama series and features. Stinna Lassen has produced for the Danish pubcaster DR their biggest hit in the last six-to-seven years,“Carmen Curlers”, under the spotlight at this week’s Göteborg’s TV Drama Vision as contender for the Nordic Film & TV Fond Prize for best screenplay of a Nordic series. Her earlier productions take in Alami’s acclaimed feature debut “The Charmer” and series “When the Dust Settled.”
Lassen’s colleagues Claudia Saginario and Marie-Louise Gyldenkrone were respectively producer and line producer on another DR’s smash local and international hit,“Cry Wolf.”
Uma Film’s fourth partner, who serves as executive producer and chairman of the board, is Denmark’s heavyweight film mogul and cultural personality Vibeke Windeløv, credited for more than 40 productions including Lars von Trier’s “Breaking the Waves” and “Dogville” and Susanne Bier’s “Love is All You Need.”
Discussing Uma Film’s DNA, Lassen says the producer-driven outfit’s ambition is to create high quality engaging content for a local and global audience, primarily long-form fiction, but also feature films.
“We all come from features, but these days our area of expertise is premium series and we just love doing it!” says the high-powered 39-year-old.
While Denmark is slowly recovering from the streaming crisis that paralysed the scripted business throughout 2022 and cost the local industry an estimated $200 million, Lassen says Uma Film was lucky to have a handful of projects in the works before the conflict kickstarted between Netflix, TV 2 Denmark, Viaplay and Danish creatives’ union reps.
“Development of drama series was almost dead for all 2022 and it will take time for the production wheel to get fully going again here,” admits Lassen, who says her company will produce fewer shows the next couple of years, but of very high quality, next to selected features with top talent.
Headlining Uma Film’2023 slate is the YA short form comedy “Killjoy,” set to premiere on TV 2 Denmark on March 26. The quirky six-part-series turns on the young Nanna who is living the seemingly perfect life with the perfect partner, until she is confronted with the fact that she actually fakes all her orgasms. That harsh truth triggers a desperate search for release in all aspects of her life.
Toplining the show as Nanna is Emma Sehested Høgh (“The Orchestra,” “The Cake Dynasty”) who serves as co-creator with helmer Jennifer Vedsted Christiansen.
“Emma and Jennifer are hugely talented new voices to watch. We are super proud to be working with them on this bold young adult show that will appeal to female viewers around the globe,” Lassen said.
The rest of the ensemble Danish cast takes in Gustav Giese (“Prisoner,”“Northwest”), Lila Nobel (“Cry Wolf,” “Elvira”) and Thomas Hwan (“The Chestnut Man,” “Follow the Money”).
Besides “Killjoy”, which is leading TV 2 Denmark’s revamped bet On YA drama, Uma Film is in final stages of development with the broadcaster’s upcoming flagship drama “Danefæ” (the English title TBC), created by writer Lars K. Andersen (“The Legacy”, “Norskov”, “Flame & Citron”). Barfoed will direct.
The six episode, 45-minute show weighs in as a marriage drama, paired with an archaeological murder mystery. The story revolves around the archaeologist Ester, who has neglected her own career, while married to the brilliant professor Michael Toksvig. This is about to change when she stumbles upon an archaeological find from the Vikings Age, which turns the history of Denmark upside down and puts her own marriage suddenly at stake.
Lassen said the series, to be produced with Nordic and European partners, is due to start filming this fall.
On the feature side, Uma Film is preparing Alami’s next Danish project after the Berlinale Panorama-bound “Opponent.” “No Child Left Behind” will reunite Lassen and Alami with “The Charmer” writer Ingeborg Topsøe. The realistic drama, turning on gang violence and crime – which is crippling many of Sweden and Denmark’s disadvantaged suburbs – will be built as a major European co-production.
Elsewhere, Lassen is finishing the shoot of DR Drama’s “Carmen Curlers” Season 2, serving as executive producer.
“I’ve had a brilliant collaboration with creator-writer Mette Heeno and we’ve been overwhelmed by the response from the Danish audience,”,she said, citing the strong ratings average of 1.2 average combined viewers on DR for the original show. Season 2 is scheduled to bow on DR later this year. “Carmen Curlers” is repped internationally by DR Sales.