After an unavoidable break during spring of 2020, the cameras continued rolling in the NSFA region. Although COVID-19 is still keeping the film industry on its toes, with new measures and safety guidelines in place, many productions have been able to carry on or return to shooting despite the pandemic, creating exciting internationally produced TV shows, fiction films and documentaries. We will be looking at the three NSFA countries – Estonia, Finland and Latvia – in three different articles and here are six exciting projects that were being shot this autumn in Finland!
The third and final series of the Nordic Noir crime series Deadwind started shooting in September after being postponed due to COVID-19. The first series premiered in Finland on Channel Yle TV2 in March 2018 and was made available on Netflix in August the same year, while the second season hit both channels during the pandemic in 2020. The Nordic Noir crime drama created by Rike Jokela (Protectors, 2008) follows a recently widowed detective Sofia Karppi, played by Pihla Viitala, who returns to the Helsinki police force after her loss. Having been compared to the Danish hit The Killing and Swedish-Danish The Bridge , Deadwind has received positive reviews and attracted fans all over the world, reaching as far as South America where Viitala’s character is considered a feminist hero.
Finnish Dionysus Films are producing the show with the German H&V Production as co-producers and the French About Premium Content behind the distribution. Deadwind was also one of the first projects in Finland to receive the audiovisual production incentive funded by Business Finland. The fans can expect the third season to air this August.
More Finnish productions have been acquired by Netflix. Another suspenseful Nordic noir – Bordertown: The Mural Murders – a feature spinoff of the critically-acclaimed crime series, started filming in and around Helsinki in October. The story revolves around a social media contest with fatal consequences. Helmed by director Juuso Syrjä – who also directed some episodes of the series – brings back Bordertown‘s main cast, including Ville Virtanen reprising his role as Inspector Kari Sorjonen and Anu Sinisalo as constable Lena Jaakkola. Netflix holds the rights to the three seasons of the show and also handles the global rights to the feature. The domestic distribution company Aurora Studios will be behind the nationwide theatrical release in autumn 2021.
In the field of sci-fi, Finnish company Bufo is producing an eight-part futuristic series Next of Kin based on an original scipt by Copenhagen-based screenwriter Valeria Richter that began filming in September. Set in Helsinki in the near future, the series, directed by Akseli Tuomivaara (Korso) poses some fundamental questions about humanity through the story of Liv (Nika Savolainen), pursued as she tries to discover what has become of her DNA sample stolen from a biobank.
Richter elaborated the idea to Nordisk Film and TV Fond: “My original inspiration for the series was the question of how and why we have children, what happens when we can control this in the smallest detail and what does it mean for the lives of those children? The implications of genetic manipulation impact all of humanity and speak to the core of what makes us human, what we all share, and I think a global audience can connect with the hopes and fears that this science inspires.” Next of Kin is produced in association with Business Finland and received support from the Finnish Film Foundation. With global group A+E Networks handling world distribution, the series will premiere next year on Elisa’s Viihde Viaplay.
What if in the future all of Scandinavia is connected into one single super-state? This is the situation in Memory of Water, a dystopian drama based on Emmi Itäranta’s 2014 novel of the same name. Directed by Saara Saarela (Twisted Roots, 2009), the film entered production at the end of July after a three-month delay due to COVID-19. Adapted for the screen by Ilja Rautsi, Memory of Water is about a young woman battling over fresh water in the Scandinavian Union after it has been bled dry by ecological disasters. The shooting locations of the film also include, in addition to Germany and Norweigan Lapland, those in the fellow NSFA country Estonia.
Produced by Finland’s Bufo and co-produced by Norway’s Mer Film, Germany’s Pandora, and Estonia’s Allfilm, the project is supported by YLE, Creative Europe, the Finnish Film Foundation, the Nordisk Film and TV Fond and NRW.
The whole team is very pleased with the results so far and the long working days are really paying off. I also feel like we are truly making something unique.
Producer Mark Lwoff (Bufo) to Cineuropa.
Another adaptation, Author Ilkka Remes’ best-selling novel 6/12 is the basis for filmmaker Antti J. Jokinen’s (The Resident, 2011) action franchise Omerta comprising two feature films: Omerta 6/12 and Omerta 7/12, plus a six-part TV series commissioned by C More. Following the top European special unit called Omerta, the plot kicks off when a Serbian terrorist group executes an attack on the presidential reception ball on Finland’s Independence Day, December 6.
The first of the features, 6/12, taking place in Helsinki, Brussels, Moscow and Minsk, is currently in production and partly filmed in Estonia. Produced by Jokinen’s Cinematic, Estonian Stellar as co-producers, and adapted for the screen by Jokinen and co-writer Mika Marttunen, the franchise stars Jasper Pääkkönen, best known for HBO’s Vikings and Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman.
6/12 is set to hit the screens in autumn 2021 and 7/12 a year later, with the televised series to be released between 2021 and 2023. SF Studios will handle international sales and Nordic distribution.
As proved by the example of Deadwind, Finland is on par in producing top-quality crime shows with its Nordic cousins Sweden and Denmark. Another gripping TV series to look forward to is a Finnish-Belgian eight-episode co-production Transport. Exploring money laundering and food fraud that spans Europe, Transport follows a young journalist played by Berlin Festival’s Finnish Shooting Star of 2015 Emmi Parviainen trying to trace a microchip found in baby food. Written and directed by Auli Mantila (The Collector) and J-P Passi (The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki) as the DoP, the series is continuing to shoot in and around Helsinki after two weeks of photography in Belgium in September.
Produced by Finland’s Tekele Productions, in co-production with Belgium’s Jonnydepony, the project received support from the Nordisk Film & TV Fond, the Finnish Film Foundation and the Creative Europe programme and is scheduled for release next year with the Danish REinvent Studios handling the sales.