Finnish drama receives cash boost; Bordertown premieres this week

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bordertownI don’t normally relay news stories that deal with finances or corporate shenanigans, but I’m going to (a little bit) right now. Why? Because Finland seems to be pretty much the only Nordic nation that has missed out on our screens. I have a soft spot for the country – it’s a genuinely amazing place – and have waited for a crime drama to come along that would sit along the recent imports from neighbouring nations like Sweden, Norway and Denmark (as well as Iceland). It seems that moves are afoot to boost drama output, and we finally have one drama that has a good chance of making it over to the UK.

Nordic Film And Television Fond reports that YLE – the Finnish national broadcaster – has earmarked an extra €20m for development and acquisition. The article quotes Ville Vilén, Yle Head of Creative Content, who said: “TV drama is in a golden age internationally, and Finnish content is comfortably on the bandwagon. Together with Finnish production companies, we want to create new hits, including for the international market.”

Good news, then. The big Finnish drama that everyone’s talking about is Bordertown, which is being touted around at the big TV festivals. It’s a 12-hour drama that premiere in Finland this Sunday.

In Bordertown, Ville Virtanen stars as detective Kari Sorjonen, who moves his family to a small town on the Finnish/Russian border for a nice quiet life. But soon he finds himself on the trail of a serial killer.

Sounds good and I want to see it in the UK. BBC4, are you reading?

14 thoughts on “Finnish drama receives cash boost; Bordertown premieres this week

  1. Seija

    As do I. Here’s a bit of a preview of the forthcoming series in the form of Youtube trailers (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLNlAtrEoPuj9BVrU5ez7Ul1tZMwJqpTFi). Because they aren’t subtitled in English, you’ll just have to absorb the atmosphere, so to speak. Thus far I know that the series includes five separate 2- or 3-part stories by the names of (my own translations) 1. Doll’s house, 2. Dragonflies, 3. Fury, 4. Woman in the Lake and 5. Endgame. So here’s to holding my breath till Sunday!

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    • Charlotte Carling

      Never mind the UK but it seems Swedish TV have never shown much interest in importing drama from our neighbour in the east. How can that be? It’s quite sad really but I can’t remember having ever seen a Finnish drama series or film. There was that quite charming documentry about Finnish men contemplating all aspects of life while sitting in saunas in various parts of the country a couple of years ago, but that’s about it. I really do hope SVT will show Bordertown, the trailer certainly looks good.

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      • Seija

        CC, the lack of Finnish tv dramas on your tv screens is due to the fact that until some recent years most Finnish drama productions have been domestically oriented.
        If I am not mistaken, so far only ‘Nymphs’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQMBrMYtNzE) has been sold and shown overseas as a ready made Finnish tv drama. It was produced by the same people who made Bordertown.
        ‘Black widows’ was sold to other countries and Scandinavia as a tv format and has been made into a Nordic co-produced tv drama (http://www.svd.se/mordiska-ankor-i-ny-nordisk-tv-serie/om/kultur).
        Other than the few dramas, it seem that Finland has earlier succesfully produced some oddball tv shows mostly made by young(ish?) Finnish males that have sold abroad: The Dudesons, Madventures, Through Russia in 30 Days/30 Days on the Silk Road, Kill Arman, and Sound Tracker. Clips of these can be found on YouTube.

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      • Charlotte Carling

        Thanks for your extensive reply Seija. I’ve just watched The Dudesons doing a “shower rally” and I have no idea what to say about that. Half smiling half shaking my head.

        Even if nothing has really been produced so far with an international audience in mind, as you say, I still think that it would have been reasonable to expect that a couple of good quality drama series might have been broadcast in Sweden over the years.

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  2. Seija

    CC, I know what you mean. I myself feel too old for the Dudeson’s humour :). That “shower rally” insert is part of a Saturday night entertainment show called Posse so it involves other celebrities in Finland, also. Other than Posse the Dudes have had shows on and of their own both in the US and Finland. The other shows I mentioned are mainly travel shows of sorts.

    One should think that some Finnish dramas had crossed the threshold to Sweden earlier but it seems to be happening only now (http://www.svt.se/nyheter/uutiset/svenska/finskt-tv-drama-vinner-ny-mark-i-sverige).

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    • Charlotte Carling

      The one that seemed the best to me was Sound Tracker, though I only had a quick look.

      Well, that’s a step in the right direction but still a remake. I will keep my eyes open for Bordertown. I watched the first scene on the YLE areena. That’s quite a grim start, very promising. Too bad I can’t understand a word of it.

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      • Seija

        Yes, I think Sound Tracker has got very good reviews, as well as Madventures. I don’t understand either why there aren’t English subtitles in the two Bordertown clips on Youtube – surely that would make them more marketable? That aside, Sorjonen aka Bordertown starts in 25 minutes, so laters!

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  3. masa

    The best Finnish drama this far have been Raid from 2000, but hard to say whether it really would have an appeal outside Finland.

    Looking forward to Bordertown.

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