Partly featured in James Bond’s “No Time to Die,” the rugged Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic and their 53,000 inhabitants, were the setting and main inspiration for “Trom”, the first ever Faroese TV series, majority produced by Denmark’s REinvent Studios.
The crime show’s creator Torfinnur Jákupsson and joint-producer Jón Hammer have now used the international success of “Trom,” commissioned by Viaplay and co-produced by Arte/ZDF, to up their game.
The duo has launched Tórshavn-based GRÓ Studios, the first film and television studio of its kind in the Faroe Islands, covering development through production and sales.
Jákupsson, who acts as CEO and head of development, said his joint venture with Hammer focuses on “local talent and local stories with a strong sense of genre and setting, written and produced for a global audience.”
“Our goal is to help develop the Faroese film and series industry to a global standard, while working closely with the Nordic and international industry,” added GRÓ Studios’ head of production Hammer, who first cut his teeth at the Danish powerhouse Zentropa and also runs his own shingle KyK Pictures.
Hammer said the Faroese audiovisual sector is “still only at development level” but he feels very optimistic for the future. “Great positive changes have occurred in the last few years,” noted the producer, referring to the setting up in 2018 of the Faroese Film Institute and introduction of the 25% reimbursement scheme to attract foreign shoots.
Jákupsson for his part cited the “many great [Faroese] talents, both behind and in front of the camera, many great local stories yet to tell,” as well as the proven success of “Trom.” The show was sold by REinvent to a slew of territories including the BBC for the U.K. and claimed a best actor and Special Jury Prize at the Monte-Carlo Television Festival in June.
GRÓ Studios’ first project will be the geo-political thriller series “Tinganes”, currently in development.
The four-hour returnable show will be pitched for the first time Oct. 5 at the industry showcase of the Reykjavik International Film Festival, running until Oct. 9.
“Tinganes” is based on the 2019 political crime book “Vit, Føroya fólk,” the debut novel by the first-ever Faroese public prosecutor Bjørk Maria Kunoy. Writer-creator Jákupsson said that “the title of the series refers to the corridors of power of the Faroese government and one of the oldest parliaments in the world.”
“The story is partly inspired by real events,” he explained. “In its 1946 independence, the Faroese people went to the voting booths to decide whether the Faroes should be a part of the Danish Kingdom, the only time this has happened. Even though a small majority chose independence, this democratic outcome was not recognized, with the Danish King ultimately dissolving the Faroese Parliament in favor of a new election. This series questions whether history might soon repeat itself,” Jákupsson observed.
The project has already received interest from local and international partners and Hammer is betting on a combined broadcasting and streaming financing model, although “nothing has been signed as of yet” he insisted.
“With our company being based on the Faroe Islands, it leaves us outside the public funding systems of the Nordic and E.U. countries as a majority partner, so we have to work differently,” Hammer explains. “‘Trom’ was a combination of local Faroese funding and a majority of foreign funding via Denmark, and a similar setup is possible, though we hope to encourage more local funding on this project, as well as direct funding from international players,” he said.
“Tinganes” is expected to start production in 2023. Among GRÓ Studios’ other projects is the feature film “Lý,” penned by Jákupsson as a Nordic neo-Western.