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Adam Price • Showrunner

"I dream of setting up a European version of Netflix to tell our stories"


- We met up with Danish writer and showrunner Adam Price, creator of Borgen and Ride Upon a Storm and guest of honour at Brussels' Are You Series? festival

Adam Price • Showrunner

We met up with Danish director and showrunner Adam Price, creator of Borgen and Ride Upon a Storm and guest of honour at the Brussels' Are You Series? festival.

Cineuropa: Tell us a bit about your background.
Adam Price:
My parents were actors and directors, mostly for the theatre, but they also did a bit of cinema and TV, too. I originally studied law and wanted to be a lawyer. But at the same time, I was working to earn money by writing a few things here and there for drama and TV, and then the Danish TV network DR offered me a 6-month contract to write a satirical show... 

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Have you always wanted to write for television rather than cinema?
I have written a lot for the theatre and continue to do so. I see theatre as the principle vessel for fiction. I also wrote a small film, but my work has mainly been in television. We're definitely currently living in a golden age of television series and I feel very lucky to be part of the movement. It feels as if there are no limits to the stories that we can tell on TV these days.

Where does the story for Borgen come from?
My generation has always been accused of being apolitical. It was my parents' generation that called for revolution, that changed society. While we were the children of the revolution and only care about our own interests. But that's not it at all! Obviously we have political and societal ambitions! This anger, this need to tell a story was channelled into Borgen.

How do you explain the TV series' success abroad?
I was very surprised by its success abroad. We were producing a Danish TV series, on coalitions that are typically found in Danish politics, in a very small country. We never dreamt that it would travel around the world.

But this is an idealistic show, which tells us that if we strive for great change, it can happen. A woman is offered the most difficult job of her life, and she must make immense sacrifices to do it. It’s a question of survival and integrity. It's pretty universal. 

Can you tell me a little more about your new series, Ride Upon a Storm?
After talking about politics, I asked myself: what topic is even more deeply rooted within us? The answer is religion, of course. Twenty years ago, we thought that religion would lose ground, but that's not what’s happening at all! I wanted to create an open discussion about faith and religion. I am not a religious person, but I am very curious about it. It still represents a large majority of the inhabitants on our planet. 

Borgen was a feminist show, does Ride Upon a Storm talk about the condition of men today?
There are strong and dangerous stories to tell about masculinity. My main character is a patriarch, and we witness his downfall. He loses everything that makes him who he is, bit by bit...

Television has changed a lot since the creation of Borgen, has that had an impact on your work?
It has definitely changed the way we fund TV series. But when it comes to writing, the goal is always for people to want to watch the next episode, which we give them at the same time every Monday night, or which they can watch one after the other.

How do you think we can survive these paradigm shifts, and the arrival of new market players?
It is important to write deeply European stories. Otherwise we will live in a world where fiction will become an essentially American language. Our voices are important. The most powerful actors are American, they advance quickly, and engage us, us European directors. We need to remember where we come from. My hope for the future is that we can create a European version of Netflix, a European streaming service. We are a Union, but there is still a lot of fragmentation and division in European television. If the big European broadcasters and producers could create a European streaming service, it might create more balance on a global scale, and perhaps favour specific European stories.

What projects are on the cards?
Well, I'm writing a show for Netflix. But it's a Scandinavian series, in a Scandinavian language. It's about another conflict that is close to my heart, climate change, and the opposition between my generation, that of my parents, and future generations, the way they might feel that we have sacrificed their planet.

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(Translated from French)

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