The 7th MipDrama ended on Sunday with German series “House of Promises” named as the winner of the Buyers’ Coup de Coeur Award. While the showcase received mixed reactions from the participants, gathered onsite in Cannes – with only Italy’s “Bangla” opting for a more humorous approach – the event marked a win for Finland’s Elisa Viihde, presenting “Evilside,” “Summer of Sorrow” and “The Invicibles” (with Viaplay also attached.) 

It must be some kind of a record that three out of 10 series are from the same commissioning broadcaster,” said Sari Lempiäinen, executive producer at Elisa Viihde. “We are excited and proud, as all of them are unique and brilliant.”

Here’s a drill-down on the 10 shows profiled at this year’s MipDrama:

“All That Is Left” (Sweden)

Genre: Teen / Young Adult

Format: 8 x 20’-25′

Production Companies: Erik McAllister for SVT and Lia Cederström for Baluba

Main Broadcaster: SVT

Distribution Company: SVT Sales

With its palpable sexual tension and the chemistry between three leads bringing to mind Bernardo Bertolucci’s 2003 drama “The Dreamers,” this Swedish entry, marketed towards teens and young adults, sees Matilda (newcomer Madeleine Ferraud), dealing with a broken heart the best way she can – also by spending her summer with two other boys (singer Oscar Zia and “Tigers” star Erik Enge). Distributed by SVT Sales, it’s based on Sandra Beijer’s novel.

“Bangla – The Series” (Italy)

Genre: Comedy-Drama

Format: 8 x 30’

Production Company: Fandango

Main Broadcaster: RAI

Distribution Company: Fandango

In 2019, Phaim Bhuiyan presented “Bangla” at the Rotterdam Film festival. Now, the film that has already earned him a Donatello Award for best new director, and was based on his own life, expands into a humorous RAI series. Portraying many struggles in a relationship between a liberated young woman and a Muslim of Bangladeshi origins, born in Italy and torn between desire and his religious background, the series also offers a look at the multicultural district of Torpignattara in Rome.

“Billy The Kid” (U.S./Canada)

Genre: Drama-Western-Action-Adventure

Format: 8 x 60′

Production Companies and Producers: Michael Hirst, Donald De Line of De Line Pictures; Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey of Amblin Television, and Bathurst and Toby Leslie via One Big Picture/Epix Studios and MGM International Television Productions, in association with NENT’s Viaplay.

Main Broadcasters: Epix (U.S.), Viaplay (Nordics), Stan (Australia), MBC (Middle East)

Distribution Company: MGM

Michael Hirst follows “The Tudors” and “Vikings” with a surprising, personal take on Billy the Kid, starring Tom Blyth: an Epix Studios and MGM International Television production made in association with Viaplay. ‘You think you know Billy the Kid because you have heard his name,’ Hirst told Variety at Series Mania after the show’s premiere. “You think he is a bit of a rough guy, a gunman and a killer. But everything I am about to tell you is the exact opposite.” MGM handles distribution.

“Dear Vivi” (Germany)

Genre: Family / Crime

Format: 6 x 45′

Production Company: Seven Dogs Filmproduktion

Main Broadcaster: ZDF

Distribution Company: ZDF Enterprises

All it takes is one birthday party for this “perfect” family’s façade to come crashing down, as Vivi’s father suddenly stabs her mother when she turns 44. Forced to grow up overnight, also for the sake of her younger siblings, over the course of six suspenseful episodes she soon realizes that multiple secrets and lies are just waiting to be uncovered – also about her parents’ earlier life. ZDF is on board as the main broadcaster.

Elvira” (Denmark)

Genre: Crime drama

Format: 8 x 60′

Production Companies & Producers: Meta Louise Foldager Sørensen for SAM Productions, alongside producers Sara Namer and Johannes Rothaus Nørregaard

Main Broadcaster: Viaplay

Distribution Company: Studiocanal

Another Nordic proposition at MipDrama this year, this Viaplay Original from SAM Productions (“Chestnut Man,” “Ragnarok”) turns to the works of writer Anne-Sophie Lunding-Sørensen and comes up with the protagonist who is just trying her best to survive. Elvira is used to averting her eyes – especially in a brothel where she works as a receptionist. But when one of the “working girls” named Candy disappears, she doesn’t want to ignore the world anymore. Even if it means exploring the underworld of Copenhagen.

“Evilside” (Finland)

Genre: Crime

Format: 6 x 45′

Production Companies: Antti Kaarlela, Whatevergroup, Einar Loftesnes, Handmade Films in Norwegian Woods

Main Broadcaster: Elisa Viihde

Distribution Company: Dutch Features, Dutch Prime

Directed by “Bordertown’s” Jussi Hiltunen, this thriller zooms in on a bullied girl who needs to prove her innocence after a murder rocks her remote village. While its snowy setting might feel familiar, the cast is more diverse, anchored by Amira Khalifa’s performance as a detective who is helping her out. “I truly believe that we should portray the world as it is and in Finnish cinema and TV, we are not there just yet,” producer Antti Kaarlela told Variety after the showcase. “I am a firm believer in making interesting casting choices.”

“House of Promises” (Germany)

Genre: Drama/Historical/Period

Format: 12 x 60′

Production Companies: X-Filme Creative Pool for RTL Plus

Main Broadcasters: RTL Plus/VOX

Distribution Company: Beta Film

Clear favorite for the MipDrama audience, awarded the Buyers’ Coup de Coeur, the series casts Naemi Feitisch and Ludwig Simon as young lovers hoping for a better, more stable future in 1920s Berlin – a new credit department store, which is on everyone’s lips, might offer them just that. Boosted by its period setting and spirited leads, “House of Promises” was directed by Sherry Hormann and Umut Dag. The series was produced by X-Filme Creative Pool for RTL Plus, with RTL Plus and VOX as the main broadcasters.

“Summer of Sorrow” (Finland)

Genre: Crime

Format: 10 x 45′

Production Company:  Rabbit Films

Main Broadcaster: Elisa Viihde

Distribution Company: Keshet International

Jani Volanen, star of Sundance hit “Hatching,” goes back in time to Helsinki in the 1980s. But this time, it’s not just about the nostalgia – it’s about heartbreaking loss, as a boy goes missing in what appears to be a peaceful, nice neighborhood. Sticking to children’s point of view, he ratchets up the suspense that slowly transforms a warm Finnish summer into something much more sinister. A Rabbit Films production, with Keshet International attached as a distributor.

“The Invincibles” (Finland)

Genre: Political

Format: 8 x 44’

Prod Cos: Mari Kinnunen, Moskito Television

Main Broadcasters: Elisa Viihde, Viaplay

Distribution Company: Fremantle

Set in the banking world of the early 1990s, this Finnish series,produced by Moskito Television with Aurora Studios, is inspired by real events. But despite all the money talk, the viewers are bound to appreciate the complicated relationship between its two leads, whose conflicting world views are on a collision course. “The idea was to make them as different as possible,” admitted director and head writer Matti Kinnunen in Cannes. “I am interested in the struggle that comes with trying to stick to your beliefs in this world and how much you are willing to sacrifice in order to do so.”

“The Net” (Germany, Austria, Italy)

Genre: Drama/Thriller/Mystery/Sports/Social Criticism

Format: Two series of 8 x 60′ – 1 series of 6 x 60′

Production Companies: Netz – a joint venture between Red Bull Media House and Beta Film. Local producers: MR-Film, Sommerhaus Serien, Cross Productions

Main Broadcasters: ARD, Servus TV

Distribution Company: Beta Film

This ambitious endeavor focuses on the dark side of soccer, echoing recent scandals and the Super League fiasco. Starting with three standalone series which will “form one global universe,” as it was teased during the showcase – “Promised Land,” which will show a woman investigating the death of her fiancé, “Prometheus” and “Power Play” – it will dive into the world of managers, investors and players. With various characters poised to reappear again in other settings, it should create “a cosmos just as diverse and compelling as soccer itself.”

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