Norwegian writer-director Kenneth Karlstad has won the 2023 Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize for his gritty coming-of-age series Kids in Crime.
Karlstad was awarded the prize Wednesday evening during a ceremony on the first day of the Göteborg Film Festival’s series focused sidebar TV Drama Vision.
As part of the award, Karlstad receives a NOK 200,000 ($20,000) cash prize, funded by Nordisk Film & TV Fond.
This is the seventh year Göteborg has been awarded the Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize. This year’s jury comprised actor Amanda Collin, producer Nebojša Taraba, journalist Wanda Bendjelloul, and producer Leif Holst Jensen.
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Announcing Karlstad’s win, the jury said: “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 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.”
Set in 2001, Kids in Crime is billed as an “unusual coming-of-age series” about the three teens, Tommy, Pål, and Monica, who get into trouble after incurring a large debt to the local drug lord Freddy Hell. In the midst of this chaos, they move into a house, to party and use as much drugs as possible. But all parties come to an end, and this particular end could be bloody.
The series was commissioned by TV2 Norge and produced by Einar Film Drama. Audun Fagervold Hansen is a co-writer on the project and Karlstad directs all eight episodes. The series debuted in Norway in November 2022 and is currently courting international buyers. Federation Studios is handling sales.
Kids in Crime is Karlstad’s long-format debut. He has an extensive resume as a director and screenwriter for music videos and commercials. His debut short, The Hunger, earned him the Young Director Award at Cannes 2019 and the Film Critics Award at The Norwegian Short Film Festival.
Earlier in the day, Karlstad introduced the series to the Göteborg festival audience and described the show as a “partly autobiographical” series that focuses on how “the system deals with teenagers who get lost in crime.”
The show also features extensive footage shot on VHS tapes to recreate a period setting. Karlstad said around “30-40%” of the show was shot on VHS cameras that were operated by actors and production assistants.
Previous winners of the Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize include Iceland’s Gísli Örn Gardarsson, Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, and Mikael Torfason for the crime series Blackport (2022), Denmark’s Maja Jul Larsen for the drama Cry Wolf (2021), Norway’s Sara Johnsen for the drama 22 July (2020), and Finland’s Merja Aakko and Mika Ronkainen for the crime series All the Sins (2019).
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