Keshet International (KI) has completed high-profile licensing deals with WarnerMedia Latin America and Spain’s Filmin TV on “Pørni,” the heartwarming Norwegian comedy-drama created by and starring “Lilyhammer” actor Henriette Steenstrup.
Steenstrup, who won a Dragon Award at Goteborg Festival in 2020 for her performance in “Beware of Children,” stars in the bittersweet series as a middle-aged single parent of three teenagers.
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The most-watched Norwegian Original series on NENT Group’s streamer Viaplay, “Pørni” screens next week at Series Mania 2021 in the Panorama competition. “Pørni” was previously part of the Berlinale Series Market Selects. Viaplay has ordered two more seasons of the show produced by Monster Scripted. Both seasons are set to premiere in 2022.
WarnerMedia Latin America acquired season one of the show exclusively for HBO Max. The WarnerMedia-owned streaming platform, which recently launched across 39 territories in Latin America and the Caribbean, has committed to picking up the second and third seasons of the popular show.
Filmin TV, the Spanish subscription-based service, has acquired an exclusive first window for all three seasons of “Pørni,” with Cosmo TV picking-up second window rights for both seasons one and two. Discussions are ongoing with broadcast partners in other territories.
“Pørni’ is one of the most thrilling and well-written series I have seen in a while. Spanish audiences will love Henriette Steenstrup’s supermom character,” said Jaume Ripoll, co-founder and editorial director of Filmin, who added that it will be one of the service’s highlight series for the fourth quarter of 2021.
Kelly Wright, KI’s SVP of distribution and new business, said: “Henriette is well-loved by Spanish-speaking audiences globally thanks to the massive popularity of ‘Ragnarok,’ further evidence of how more and more people around the world are enjoying dramas from foreign countries.” Wright described the series as “laugh-out-loud funny, so very touching and infinitely relatable.”
In “Pørni,” Steenstrup works in a child protection unit, and has three teenagers and an ageing father at home to take care of, leaving her very little time for her own love life.
“The starting point for me was I wanted to write a series about everyday people. My experience is that there is a lot of drama in everybody’s lives – there are always Shakespearian things going on for people,” Steenstrup told Variety.
The actor-creator said she didn’t expect the series to strike a chord within such broad audiences around the world. “When you hear about the series, it sounds like it’s a show for women between 30 and 50 years old. But my experience has been overwhelming – there are 16-year old boys, daughters and mothers, and even grand-mothers enjoying it — that reflects the fact that when a story is universal, it’s universal,” said Steenstrup.
Steenstrup said the show is more character-driven than plot-driven. “Pørni is a person in crisis, as a psychoanalyst friend said to me – so she is experiencing the grief of losing her sister. She is in crisis so I want to follow her development where she is, she has to confront some things in her life in season two.”
The critically-acclaimed actor said she was inspired to write “Pørni” after noticing that grown-up audiences in Norway are increasingly lured by good coming of age series like “Skam.” “I thought maybe we need some stories about coming of age, but for our own age – so we don’t need to steal theirs. We need this to see growth and not in a cynical way,” explained Steenstrup, who also cited “Better Things” as a source of inspiration.
“I don’t know if it’s right to call ‘Pørni’ a coming-of-age show for people in their 40’s but it’s something that I’ve thought about,” added Steenstrup. Another universal theme that “Pørni” explores is parenting. “Why is it so hard to feel like a O.K. parent?,” asked Steenstrup.
Directed by Gunnar Vikene and Charlotte Blom, “Pørni” also stars Jon Ranes (“Out Stealing Horses”), Vivild Falk Berg, Gunnar Eiriksson (“Twin”), Johanna Mørck and Nils Ole Oftebro.
Following Series Mania, “Pørni” will play at the Serial Killer TV Festival in the Czech Republic and Serielizados Fest in Barcelona this Fall.
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