RIDE UPON THE STORM wins the 2018 Nordisk Film og TV Fond Prize

The Danish television drama Ride Upon the Storm has picked up the 2018 Nordisk Film go TV Fond, which rewards the outstanding writing of a television series. The winner receives SEK 200,000.

Adam Price, the writer of Ride Upon the Storm, was in attendance to accept the award. We of course know Price from Borgen, which he created.

Ride Upon the Storm is a character-driven series that explores good and evil and the spiritual journey towards seeking a greater meaning in life. The story centres on a family of priests that traces its roots back more than 250 years. We saw it at the festival a couple days ago and wrote about it here. 

Ride Upon the Storm is an unsurprising winner; it was up against four crime series. Deadwind was Finland’s entry, and follows the more classic Scandi Noir format. Borderliners, Norway’s entry, is interesting as it is about a detective trying to cover up a murder his brother is involved in. Sweden’s entry, The Lawyer, is about a straight-shooting lawyer who, along with his sisters, investigates his parent’s mysterious deaths when he was a child. Its take on the crime series is also rather different, though creator Hans Rosenfeldt (the creator of The Bridge) has made another series that uses Sweden and Denmark equally. Iceland’s entry was Stella Blomkvist, which is a fast-paced, neo-noir mini-series that’s just damn fantastic.

Honestly, I was hoping Stella Blomkvist would win due to how it really changes the typical crime drama format. But again, Ride Upon the Storm was up against four crime series, so it stood out for that alone. Perhaps the industry is trying to move away from Scandi Noir into more high concept dramas? Either way, Ride Upon the Storm is a damn good drama and well-worth watching.

The jury consisted of jury president Walter Iuzzolini, TV executive/curator of Walter Presents, Sofia Helin, the Swedish actress from The Bridge, and Kirpi Uimonen Ballesteros, a board member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association TV committee.

The full jury statement is:

The first time the three of us met for lunch and sat down to discuss the selected programmes, each one of us had a clear winner in mind. The problem was – were we talking about the same show? Five hours later, we discovered we were… so in many ways, it was the simplest task ever… all we ended up doing was discussing the series for hours, telling each other why we had loved it so much and why it meant so much to us.

All the nominated programmes are exceptional examples of Scandinavian storytelling at its best, showing breadth and scope but also superb crafting. But the winner stood out for a very simple reason – it is unlike any Scandinavian show we had ever seen before.
A bold, original approach to a deeply unfashionable subject.
An innovative push into a genre that does not mirror the hugely successful Scandi formula for fast, slick thrillers.
We all felt this was a piece of television destined to transform and refresh the Scandi canon.

Quite simply, it was a show with a beating heart and soul.
For all of us, the plot was almost insignificant (we hope the writer won´t take this personally). Very quickly, all we cared about was the characters, their emotional life, their troubles and dilemmas.

TV drama at its best is an art form as magnificent and dignified as a Caravaggio or a Rembrandt. Some artists are fashionable, others are Masters. One thousand years from now, in an imaginary Museum of TV Masterpieces, this programme will come to represent what it was like to live in Scandinavia in 2018… not what was trendy or what was considered pretty – but what was true.

The fact that such a story would be written, and commissioned by a big terrestrial broadcaster is nothing short of miraculous. But then again, the writer probably does believe in miracles.

This year´s Nordisk Film and TV Fond Prize for Best TV drama script worth 200,000 Swedish crowns goes to RIDE UPON THE STORM.


Emma Vestrheim

Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.