Federation Studios’ ‘Kids in Crime’ Wins Kenneth Karlstad the 2023 Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize

“Kids in Crime,” a high energy 22-minute episode coming of age drama with a notable turn by Scandi superstar Jakob Oftebro (“Kon Tiki,” “Black Crab”) as a not-to-be-messed-with local drug lord, walked off with the 2023 Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize for best drama series screenwriting. 

Federation Studios handles international distribution. 

Hardly known – his major calling card to date was a 2017 short, “The Hunger, a Young Director Award at 2019’s Cannes – Karlstad won out against stiff competition with a high-energy half hour drama set in 2001 in Norway’s drab Sarpsborg in which three roofie-fuelled teen friends run up with local drug kingpin Freddy Fingers (Oftebro).

“An impactful new offering, “Kids In Crime” presents Karlstadt’s nose for rebellious but tight narratives and a set of teenage characters hoping to live with the volume turned high,” Variety wrote in an interview with Karlstad.

Framed as eight less than half hour episodes at the request of broadcaster TV 2 Norge, in a play for a YA audience, the techno-scored series is part-shot in period VHS, plus wide-lensing for comedy. It was a hit last year on TV2 and with the jury of the Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize. 

“The jury is thankful for the possibility to watch and read series from across the Nordic countries. We have based our evaluation on three main criteria: craft, relevance, and originality. The winner has it all. It’s based on a true universe from a certain time,” the jury announced at a prize ceremony held at the Göteborg Fest’s TV Drama Vision on Feb. 1.

“The authenticity, honesty, brutality, and friendship drive the story and engage the audience. Accuracy, details, music, it’s all in the script! The writer really owns the story,” it added. The award carries a NOK 200 000 (approx $20 000) cash prize.

On paper, “Kids in Crime” was the outlier in a contest featuring “Blackwater,” a moody double period crime drama from Piv Bernth, behind “The Killing,” “The Bridge” and “Borgen”; DR ratings record buster, “Carmen Curlers,” a feel good Danish ‘60s-set drama; and Matti Kunninen’s knowing character-driven financial thriller “The Invincibles,” his follow-up to the appreciated “Cargo.” A kind of Finnish “Margin Call” but spread out over six episodes and two years, it tells how Finland plunged into its 1991-93 banking crisis, which still haunts the country. 

“The Tudors’” Anita Briem alos debuted as writer-creator with Glassriver-produced “As Long as We Live,” a seven year itch drama for a women with an 18-month son also struggling to have a life.

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