Nordisk Film og TV Fond: Viaplay’s The Fortress among six Nordic series competing at Series Mania

By Annika Pham // Nordisk Film og TV Fond



A record seven Nordic series including six competing in various strands have been selected for Lille’s major drama festival and industry event.

A totally of 54 series from 24 countries out of 396 submissions from 63 countries have retained the attention of Series Mania artistic director Frédéric Lavigne, general manager Laurence Herszberg and their team.

From the Nordics, four out of the seven selected series are Viaplay Originals or co-productions, reflecting the Nordic-based streamer’s major role in financing - and distributing - top Nordic content with festival appeal.

The Viaplay Norwegian Original The Fortress produced by Maipo Film is among eight high-end TV shows in the International Competition vying for the Grand Prize-Best Series, Best Script, Best Actress and Best Actor.

“We are thrilled to be selected for this prestigious competition,” said Maipo Film’s CEO and producer Synnøve Hørsdal. “After a long and challenging production, during Covid, it is a very welcoming recognition.”

The 7x45’ dystopian drama set to world premiere in Lille, was co-written by Linn-Jeanethe Kyed (Rod Knock, Born2Drive) and John Kåre Råke (The Quake), with Cecilie Mosli (Mammon, Grey's Anatomy) and Mikkel Brænne Sandemose (State of Happiness) serving as conceptual directors. Tobias Santelmann, Selome Emnetu and Russell Tovey topline the international cast.

Set in the year 2037, an enormous wall surrounds Norway, where its people enjoy privileged and sheltered lives in a self-sufficient Nordic paradise. But when a deadly pandemic breaks out, the inhabitants soon realise that the wall intended to protect, is instead holding them prisoner.

"The topic is more relevant than we wish it was, unfortunately,” Hørsdal told The premiere on Viaplay is scheduled for spring 2023. TrustNordisk handles sales in selected territories.


Meanwhile Lars von Trier’s The Kingdom Exodus will be screening as a French premiere out of competition. The Viaplay/DR series world premiered in Venice.

Commenting on their overall 2023 programme Herszberg and Lavigne identified three major trends: stories either going back to the 80s-90s Wave, focusing on societal debates (such as the environment with The Fortress), or girl power.

“Although creativity is now a worldwide phenomenon, we must also acknowledge a certain uniformity in storytelling due to the influence of streaming platforms, exacerbated competition, and market tensions,” they said. “Within this context, the diversification of narratives and their visibility appear all the more important, and in this respect, festivals such as ours, as well as the press, have a vital role to play.”

Next to the Series Mania Festival unfolding in Lille , France March 17-24, the three-day Series Mania Forum (March 21-23) will be unveiling its programme February 24.

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