SF International takes top Nordic TV series to the Film Market
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- CANNES 2015: Denmark’s 1864 and Norway’s The Heavy Water War are on the Cannes line-up for Svensk Filmindustri’s SF International
Two of the most expensive Scandinavian television series ever produced, Danish director Ole Bornedal’s 1864 and Norwegian director Per-Olav Sørensen’s The Heavy Water War, will both be promoted at the Cannes International Film Festival (13-24 May) by Swedish major Svensk Filmindustri’s sales arm, SF International.
Based on Danish historian Tom Buk-Swienty’s best-selling books, Slaughter Bench Dybbøl and Doomsday Als, Denmark’s so-far largest film project, 1864 – comprising eight 58-minute episodes and a two-hour feature, and costing €23 million – depicts the Danish-German war of 1864. There was no victory for Denmark this time, as there had been in the 1848-1851 conflict: after its defeat at Dybbøl on 18 April 1864, Denmark lost more than 40% of its territory and 20% of its population, and was changed forever.
Staged by Danish producers Peter Bose and Jonas Allen for Miso Film, the historical drama was filmed with a cast of 130 actors and 6,000 extras in the Czech Republic and on the Danish island of Funen. It was premiered by Danish pubcaster DR TV on 12 October 2014, and on 16 May the UK’s BBC4 will start transmitting the series, which sees Jens Sætter-Lassen, Jakob Oftebro and Marie Søderberg in the starring roles.
The first TV series from veteran Norwegian producer John M Jacobsen, of Oslo’s Filmkameratene, the €8.7 million, 6 x 45-minute The Heavy Water War drew in a record-breaking 1.3 million viewers when it was premiered on 4 January 2015 by Norwegian pubcaster NRK – the last episode was watched by 30% of the population. At the Norwegian Emmy-equivalent (Gullruten) Awards on 9 May, it won for Best Drama Series and Best Actor (Dennis Storhøi).
Currently (since 4 May) being aired by Denmark’s TV2, and also acquired by the UK’s Channel 4, France’s Entertainment One and the US’ MHz Networks, the series depicts Operation Gunnerside – later judged to be the most successful act of sabotage during WW2 – in which a group of Norwegian commandos demolished Norsk Hydro, where the Germans were producing the heavy water they needed to develop nuclear weapons.
Head of SF International sales Anita Simovic will also launch two new Swedish features at the Cannes Film Market: Swedish directors Alain Darborg’s action-comedy The Master Plan [+see also:
film profile] (from Tre Vänner Produktion) and Kay Pollak’s drama Heaven on Earth (from GF Studios).
In the traditional Jönsson Gang vein, and starring Simon J Berger, Alexander Karim, Susanne Thorson and Torkel Petersson, The Master Plan follows Charles, who wants to avenge the murder of his best friend and mentor; together with a vain con man, a depressed explosives expert and a locked-up lock specialist called Rocky, he carries out the ultimate heist. The film was released domestically on 16 January.
Scheduled for a 4 September premiere, the independent sequel to Pollak’s Oscar-nominated As It Is in Heaven [+see also:
film profile] (2004) is described as “a new, heartfelt tale about the people in the small village of Ljusåker, in the northernmost part of Sweden”. Frida Hallgren, Lennart Jähkel and Niklas Falk play the leads. What will happen to the local choir now that its director, the renowned conductor Daniel Daréus, has died?