Norwegian crime thriller Eyewitness is among the four nominees in the Best Scripted Format category of the C21 Media International Format Awards, taking place at the MIP Formats conclave this weekend in Cannes, France.

Eyewitness (Øyenvitne): Odin Waage as Henning and Axel Gehrken Bøyum as Philip. Photo © Thomas Ekstrõm/NRK
Eyewitness (Øyenvitne): Odin Waage as Henning and Axel Gehrken Bøyum as Philip. Photo © Thomas Ekstrõm/NRK

Produced by Norway’s NRK, Eyewitness (Øyevitne) goes up against CBS’ Jane the Virgin, New Pictures’ The Missing, and Kabo Family’s Our Crazy Family for the coveted Best Scripted Format award at MIP Formats on 11 April 2015.

The six-episode, fast-paced thriller, created and directed by Jarl Emsell Larsen (Codename Hunter; Dirty Money, White Lies), opens with teens Philip and Henning (newcomers Axel Gehrken Boyum and Odin Waage) joyriding around a remote sand quarry just outside Mysen, a town close to the Swedish border surrounded by farmland, fields, and deserted areas. Their friendship takes a turn when they realize they’re attracted to each.

Their intimate moment is shattered with the arrival of a car carrying four men. A fifth (Per Kjerstad, The Half Brother, Varg Veum), held captive in the boot, escapes and fatally shoots his captors as Henning and Philip witness the horror from the safety of their hiding place. Too bad they didn’t stay hidden from the killer.

The pair manage to take his gun and make their own escape, but the fright isn’t over. They are terrified of being found (again) by the killer and of having their relationship found out by friends and family, so they vow to keep secret what they saw and what happened between them. But events and the police investigation soon catch up with them.

(Note: The trailer contains scenes that are not suitable for all viewers.)

As the series progresses, the brutal crime affects both the teens and members of the community. Lies told by Henning and Philip to protect themselves spiral into new and more dangerous ones. And matters get further complicated as Philip’s foster mother, Helen Sikkeland (Anneke von der Lippe, Torpedo, Troubled Water), a former NCIS investigator and the current sheriff, delves into the killings.

Series screenwriter and director Larsen described the essence of Eyewitness this way: “What happens when large-scale, international crime suddenly explodes in a community? Or when someone sees something brutal and cruel that they did not want to see whatsoever? And what happens if they choose to keep quiet about it?

“[Eyewitness] is as much about people as the crime itself. All the characters are deeply affected by what is happening, and everyone has agendas, as roads lead them to other than where they had thought.”

A co-production between NRK Norway, DR Denmark, SVT Sweden, and YLE Finland, Eyewitness was filmed in Mysen, Oslo, Berlin, and Copenhagen. The series also features Swedish actors Mahmut Suvakci (Beck) and Tehilla Blad (Millennium Trilogy).

Eyewitness premiered on the Norwegian public broadcaster’s NRK1 channel in October 2014. Stay tuned for updates about whether the series will screen in the US and/or UK.

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Eyewitness: Norwegian Thriller Short-Listed for 2015 C21 Media International Format Awards
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