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HBO Max announces its first Finnish series, ID


- Helmer AJ Annila is now attached to direct HBO Max's first Finnish Original, created by Mia Ylönen and Aleksi Bardy

HBO Max announces its first Finnish series, ID
Director AJ Annila (© Oskari Hellman/HBO Max)

UPDATE (9 February 2022): AJ Annila, best known for his work on Shadow Lines, Peacemaker, Sauna and The Eternal Road [+see also:
film review
interview: Antti-Jussi Annila
film profile
, is attached to direct HBO Max’s first Finnish premium TV show, ID. Annila also previously worked on HBO Nordic’s anthology series of short films At Home. The announcement was first reported by Variety. In addition, HBO Europe’s VP executive producer Steve Matthews is serving as an executive producer on the series.

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The crime series ID, consisting of six 50-minute episodes, revolves around Finnish art-fraud investigator Emma, who goes undercover to infiltrate an auction house in Stockholm in order to investigate the firm’s connection to a notorious money launderer known as “Blanko”. To go undetected, Emma chooses the cover identity “Annika”, a hot-headed socialite who lives for wild parties, drugs and alcohol, and is the mirror opposite of the cool, calm and collected Emma. By adopting this wild persona, doors begin to open to the hidden world of high-class art fraud. However, becoming “Annika” means that Emma must confront memories from her past.

ID, the first-ever Finnish original series for HBO Max, created by Mia Ylönen and Aleksi Bardy for Helsinki-Filmi, follows in the footsteps of the At Home (Eristyksissä) anthology series of Finnish short films released in summer 2020.

ID examines questions of identity, morality and personal limits. We all live in the crosswinds of many identities,” says Ylönen. “There’s the work me, the private me, the hero me from our dreams, the victim me hurt by the past, and the happy and ideal me on social media. Who would you be if you could be anyone? Would you cherish the chance to reinvent yourself, even if it meant abandoning your old self?”

Bardy adds: “We want our series to stand proudly beside its thematic and stylistic HBO predecessors. It will combine the pulsating world of a high-stakes thriller with the visually mesmerising world of art and forgeries. The combination is unique and previously unseen – an explosion of action, emotion and art.”

Executive producer for HBO Max Christian Wikander says: “We are excited to greenlight our first Finnish series and give the local creative community an opportunity to showcase their talent at HBO Max. ID offers an insight into the billion-dollar black market of art. Shot over the Nordic summer months, the series will create a unique visual storyworld: we call it ‘Nordic noir in colour’.”

Production is expected to begin in 2022, and the series will premiere exclusively on HBO Max.

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