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Serial Killer gets a Finnish touch with a spotlight on Nordic series


- In addition to highlighting the newest European episodic productions, the festival's industry strand will delve into topics such as AI and strategies for audience engagement

Serial Killer gets a Finnish touch with a spotlight on Nordic series
The Finnish series Welfare Warriors, directed by Tiina Lymi

The Czech-based festival Serial Killer, the only national gathering dedicated solely to episodic production (running from 19-24 September), is preparing for its sixth edition. This year, the event will shine a spotlight on Finnish serial production, welcoming nearly 30 Finnish creators and thereby bringing a touch of the Nordics to Central Europe. Festival director Kamila Zlatušková commented: “I believe there's a surprising amount in common between the Finns and the Czechs – chiefly, our shared dark sense of humour.” The Finnish offerings include the satirical horror Welfare Warriors, which portrays the lives of people working in a Finnish employment office; the comedy Riding the Beat, which delves into the world of emerging rappers from a Helsinki suburb; and Reindeer Mafia, an adaptation centred on a dominant Lappish family clan.

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The festival aims not just to serve Finnish series aficionados, but also to provide a platform where prominent figures from the local TV market can interact with international professionals during the three-day industry event TV Days (20-22 September). The industry schedule boasts 50 speakers, including Antony Root, former executive director for European creation at HBO; and Jarmo Lampela, head of Drama at Finnish public broadcaster YLE. Notably, this year will see the festival welcome its first speaker from the USA, Molly Nussbaum, renowned for her contributions to The Umbrella Academy and Daredevil: Born Again. The industry programme will address the use of AI for audiovisual producers, see the presentation of new, original Ukrainian dramas and documentaries, and tackle the topic of how to engage the audience in advance, among other subjects.

Traditionally centred on serial productions from Central and Eastern Europe, alongside the latest European serial content, the line-up boasts premieres and screenings of 40 titles. The competition for series from this region will feature an entry from Slovakia – the comedy The Winner by Jan Hřebejk (see the news), which is aired by SkyShowtime. The festival will commence with the new comedy series Bananas, which pivots on the unforeseen discovery of a crate of cocaine in a Czech supermarket. The organisers have also enriched the schedule with exclusive Czech premieres, including a local adaptation of the hit Belgian comedy series Sense of Tumour and the introduction of The Markovič Method: Hojer by Pavel Soukup, a miniseries chronicling crimes, captures and convictions from Czechoslovakia's normalisation period. Other series taking part in the competition include The Stroke. A Dramedy by Paweł Demirski, Rafał Skalski and Antonio Galdamez (Poland), Spy/Master [+see also:
series profile
by Christopher Smith (Romania), Troll Farm by Ernestas Jankauskas (Lithuania), and Bot Farm by Taras Dron (Ukraine).

Serial Killer is keeping up its tradition of reflecting the most significant serial trends. This year, the focus is on the rising popularity of youth-orientated shows, which resonate with viewers across diverse age groups. “We've spotlighted five new European series, some of which, like Denmark’s Nordland ’99 [see the news] or Norway’s Kids in Crime, have quickly become iconic. They offer nostalgic glimpses into 1990s youth culture, interpreted through modern perspectives,” commented programmer Táňa Zabloudilová. The Progressive Killer Award will this year be presented to Petr Badač (see the interview), a producer and the former head of the Slovak Audiovisual Fund, who was relieved of his duties in August.

The full line-up of the Serial Killer international festival of TV and web series is available to peruse here.

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