HELSINKI SCRIPT – THE CONCEPT
“If it ain’t in the script, it ain’t in the series”, is a sentence often heard at international fiction series forums. This is what HELSINKI SCRIPT concept is all about. The one day event focused on creating and commissioning international TV/VOD drama series. It’s been arranged and sold out four times. In its inauguration year 2016, Emmy winner James Manos Jr (Dexter, Sopranos) talked about creating hooking anti-heroes. Since then top creators and producers from Nordic Skam, Mammon, The Bridge and Rides upon the Storm to European Line of Duty, The Medici, In Therapy and Young Pope have shared their thoughts, methods and experiences on stage. Themes deepen in a special way as speakers and delegates stay in the same room the whole day. In connection to the main event held the first Friday in September, Helsinki Script offered workshops for both professionals and students. The fourth event took place September 6th, 2019.
Moderators: Liselott Forsman and Dominic Schreiber
09.00 WELCOME AND WHAT THE DAY IS ALL ABOUT.
09.10 JONAS GARDELL: MIXING EXPERIENCE AND INTUITION
Swedish stand-up artist, novelist, playwright and scriptwriter Jonas Gardell knows how to touch our hearts and make a difference. His international breakthrough series Don’t Ever Wipe Tears without Gloves even woke up social scientists. The master of humaine storytelling talks about turning difficult subjects into drama, about his research and writing methods, about the important mix of experience and intuition.
10.00 ALL THE SINS – FROM FACTUAL TO FICTIONAL CRIMES IN THE BIBLE BELT
Merja Aakko has a background in journalism and Mika Ronkainen in documentaries. Their first drama series All the Sins won the 2019 Nordisk Film & TV Fund script award. Its engaging crime story takes place in the Finnish bible belt, an arena and a community well known to them and producer Ilkka Matila. How do they turn the familiar and authentic into suspense fiction?
10.30 AWARDED SANNE NUYENS, REVAMPING GENRES
Sanne Nuyens researched Belgian police work when preparing for Hotel Beau Séjour to find local authenticity and to distance herself from US style cop shows. Her crime series renewed the whole genre by mixing a truly local arena with a ghost story. In 2019 Sanne won the Cannes series award for best script with the fresh court story The Twelve. How did she learn to write in a way that helped Belgian drama go global?
11.00 WHY BELGIAN SERIES TRAVEL IN MANY LANGUAGES
Writer, script doctor Sylvie Coquart left France to head French-Belgian TV drama towards new levels. On the Flemish-Belgian side International Drama Executive Elly Vervloet finds original ideas that travel. She commissioned the beloved Team Chocolat series about a young man with Down syndrome on the road in Europe. Reel One Entertainment. Drama Executive Dominic Schreiber tells how and why his company is remaking the series in UK.
11.30 MOBILE HACKING AND ONLINE BATHROOMS
How does the intimacy of a cell phone create new online narration? What if your phone is hacked while watching a mobile series about a phone being hacked? What was the process from feminist theories to an online series taking place in a bathroom and is the story following traditional chamber play rules? Creator Kaya Pakaslahti and Executive Producer Hyppe Salmi reveal the new ways of web series.
11.50 THE 2019 EUROPEAN SCRIPT AWARD
The 2019 European Script Award winners are announced on stage by Louis Heinsman (EBU/EATC), head of jury Anne Nissinen and our guest writers. The series prize goes to the writing team behind the French-Belgian (!) series The Break. On stage we will celebrate writers Stéphane Bergmans, Benjamin d’Aoust and writer-director Matthieu Donck. The film award goes to Nora Fingscheidt, whose film System Crasher also is elected as Germany’s Academy Award nominee at the 92nd Oscars.
12.15 LUNCH FOR EVERYONE
13.15 WHAT HAPPENED SEPTEMBER 5TH
Greetings from the previous day’s Virtual Writers Room workshop and Pitch Circus. What sort of surprises did circus director Pierre Puget encounter on stage in Helsinki the evening before?
13.20 THE BUREAU: INTELLIGENCE AS A WEAPON IN SUSPENSE
American-French producer Alex Berger has looked deeply into producing in USA and Europe. What was the process behind the successful and complex, French agent series The Bureau? How does one summon a writer’s room to create dialogue in which there is double talk on many levels and intelligence is the number one weapon? How does a producer deal with hot, current subjects like ISIS and Russian hackers?
13.40 ESTONIAN SERIES CROSSING SEAS AGAIN
The Estonian series Klass (2010) travelled to USA in 2010. Now Estonian series are on the map again.How did producer Paul Aguraiuja get US distribution for The Bank? Klass director Gerda Kordemets, won the 2018 national script award for crime series Siberi võmm. Today Klass writer Margit Keerdo-Dawson chairs the Estonian writers Guild. Where is the Estonian industry going and what should happen next?
14.10 THE BANK: HOW MONEY MADE ESTONIA GO BERSERK
In 2018 Estonia celebrated its 100 years of independence by financing a series competition. The winning concept The Bank avoids traditional heroes and dives into the 1990’s financial chaos. Banking expert Tarmo Jüristo and art historian Eero Epner had written plays before. What was their road to mastering a 10-part complex story?
14.30 COFFEE AND SMOOTHIE BREAK
15.00 INVISIBLE HEROES – CREATING CROSS CONTINENTS
Finnish-Chilean series Invisible Heroes just received the Seoul Drama Award. What were the challenges of working across Europe and South America when fictionalizing living persons who performed heroic deeds during Pinochet’s terror? Main actor Pelle Heikkilä, producer Liisa Asikainen-Penttilä, writer Tarja Kylmä and director Mika Kurvinen know.
15.35 HANNE PALMQUIST ON HBO’S NEXT NORDIC STEPS
What is HBO looking for after this summer’s interesting Scandinavian openings? HBO Nordic’s commissioning editor Hanne Palmquist talks about working creatively with Nordic writers like Lukas Moodyson and Anne Bjørnstad
15.50 ANNE BJØRNSTAD: WHY CREATIVE RISKS PAY
Anne Bjørnstad has created several unique drama concepts with her husband Eilif Skodvin. The couple’s breakthrough series Lilyhammer featured US star Steven van Zandt and their newest series Beforeigners, Finnish Krista Kosonen. This Sci-Fi drama is HBO’s first Norwegian series. Next up is a Countrymen, a NRK series about a group of young, second generation immigrants who move from inner city Oslo to a farm in the countryside, about finding meaning in life where you least expect it – and cheese. What are the methods to deal successfully with serious subjects in light formats and various genres?
16.30 WRAP-UP DISCUSSION: HOW EUROPE CAN STAY SMART
Polish director-producer Dariusz Jablonsky (from The Ten Commandments to The Pleasure Principle) and Norwegian Executive Producer Tone Rønning (from Lilyhammer to State of Happiness) are experts in international co-producing. They fight on many levels for strong European series, as does Czech Serial Killer CEO Kamila Zlatušková. Today’s audiences need complex stories that matter. What did we learn today and what should be done to keep European drama strong?
17.00 THANK YOU + NETWORKING DRINKS!