TV series Arctic Circle goes beyond polar landscapes
by Vassilis Economou
- The Finnish-German crime series aims to attract an international audience with an A-list cast and gripping narration
The first international TV series produced by Finland and Germany, Arctic Circle (or Ivalo, to give it its Finnish title), is in production in Finnish Lapland and features cast members from both countries. The main characters are portrayed by Iina Kuustonen (Nurses) and Maximilian Brückner
(War Horse), while Clemens Schick (Casino Royale [+see also:
film profile]), Pihla Viitala (Black Widows) and Joi Johannsson (The Deep [+see also:
film profile]) also star.
Set amidst the polar landscape of Northern Lapland, Arctic Circle follows police officer Nina Kautsalo (Kuustonen), who, while investigating a serial-murder case, finds a prostitute at death’s door in an old cabin in the wilderness. Everything will escalate when a deadly and mysterious virus is discovered in the victim’s blood. Kautsalo will thus seek help from Helsinki-based German virologist Thomas Lorenz (Brückner). They will both get caught up in an unexpected investigation that will force them to act outside the law. Their efforts will encounter more complications when the multimillionaire CEO of a pharmaceutical company (Schick) gets involved, as he financed Lorenz’s previous work in the field of virology.
Created by Yellow Film & TV CEO Olli Haikka and the company’s head of Drama and International Development, Petja Peltomaa, the crime series is budgeted at €6.5 million and comprises ten 50-minute episodes. The head writers are Joona Tena (Nurses, FC Venus [+see also:
film profile]) and Jón Atli Jónasson (The Deep), and Finnish-born, German-based Hannu Salonen (Downhill City, Shades of Guilt) is directing. On his approach to the series, Salonen stated: “I want Arctic Circle to be a physical experience. The audience will feel the desolation, the blistering wind, the taste of blood and the cold; but also, the love, warmth and commitment created by our strong main characters.”
Arctic Circle is the first co-production between Finland’s Yellow Film & TV, the largest indie production company in the Nordic countries, and Germany’s Bavaria Fiction GmbH, one of the leading firms in European TV production, which is now opening up to international co-productions. Milla Bruneau and Moritz Polter are executive-producing. The series has received support from the Lapland Film Commission, which is run from the House of Lapland, and which provided both location assistance and its 25% cash rebate on productions costs.
Regarding the co-production, Bruneau and Polter said: “This ambitious new crime-thriller brings together an impressive array of acclaimed talent from across Europe both on and off screen, and will deliver a compelling and atmospheric drama with strong appeal for global audiences.”
Arctic Circle is scheduled to be premiered exclusively on the Finnish streaming service Elisa Viihde by the end of 2018, and the Finnish public broadcasting company YLE will launch it afterwards. Paris-based Lagardère Studios Distribution has picked up the international rights.
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