Wild Bunch TV has boarded the Norwegian drama series “Holmlia Love” from Fremantle-backed Monster (“Pørni”, “Exit”, “The Girl from Oslo”). The six-part series is one of the first projects coming out of the New8 Euro pubcasters’ pact.
The Paris-based global distribution banner will cover rights outside the eight northern European territories, handled by the New8 partners: NRK Norway, which commissioned the show, ZDF Germany, NPO The Netherlands, VRT Belgium, SVT Sweden, DR Denmark, YLE Finland, and RÚV Iceland.
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For his debut as creator, co-writer and co-director, Mikael Diseth, producer of Monster Scripted’s hit series “Countrymen,” has teamed up with concept director Andre Chocron, credited for the “Paul McCartney: Appreciate” music video and Canneseries 2023 winning drama “Power Play”.
The six-part drama series is based on the true race-motivated murder of 15 -year-old Benjamin Hermansen by two Neo-Nazis, which shook Norway in 2001. The knife-stabbing of the teenager of Ghanaian and Norwegian origin, took place in Oslo’s multicultural Holmlia district. The story centres on the small knitted-community that came together after the tragedy.
In the show set in the summer of 2000 in Holmlia, teen boys Nader and Benjamin are enjoying sunny days at the beach, while single mom Ingrid moves from there for a fresh start. Six months later, one of the boys is brutally killed by neo-Nazis, and the other grapples with survivor’s guilt. Parents, friends, and neighbours – including Ingrid – struggle to cope with the consequences.
“I’ve always known I wanted to tell this story because I was there,” said Diseth, who attended secondary school with the victim.
“I was there when Benjamin’s chair suddenly was empty in our school, and our community was thrown into a crisis.”
“The way the people around me reacted – with love – is the most inspiring thing I’ve ever witnessed. This is what I’m most proud of and what has made who I am today. Therefore [debuting as a showrunner] could not have been with any other story,” said Diseth. “A memorial statue of Benjamin was unveiled back then saying ‘Do Not Forget,’ which is a promise I intend to keep,” he added.
Wild Bunch TV head of international sales and acquisitions Diana Bartha said she boarded the Norwegian drama because her outfit had “always wanted to work with such a stylish and successful company like Monster”. She also felt “Holmlia Love” was “a pioneering project”, as one the first shows coming out of the newly-created New8 alliance.
“Today’s geopolitical and economic situation has made Europe a relentless place where people are increasingly looking for stability, cultural identity and hope, which is the ‘leitmotiv’ of our show,” she added. “We believe the show will be relatable and resonate with a large audience internationally due to its universality and will meet with success across generations and countries worldwide.”
The show, produced by Malene Sandgrav, Mirja Minjares and Cathrine Simonsen for Monster Scripted, is due to start filming Feb. 20.
Standout Nordic crime series with global appeal on Wild Bunch TV’s slate also include SVT’s “Taelgia” and CMore/TV4’s “Riding in Darkness.”
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