Prix Europa showed a whole lotta love for Viva Hate when the jury gave top honors to the Swedish drama in the Best European TV Fiction Serial or Miniseries category.
Fifteen titles from across Europe were in competition for the coveted Prix Europa Best Drama Serial or Miniseries award, including 1864 from Germany, Broke from Denmark, The Fourth Man from Sweden, and The Heavy Water War (aka The Saboteurs) from Norway.
And the music-filled Viva Hate took home the prize in Berlin last Friday.
The Prix Europa jury said this about the miniseries:
“This series opens its era to the audience with sharpness in storytelling and great production value. The audience gets to the skin of the main characters, we breathe together with them in excitement. The series brings us warm-hearted comedy with the rhythm and passion of fireworks. The magnificent script goes forward with extraordinary power and the directing adds great speed.
“The main character Daniel makes no compromises – it’s all or nothing in the fight for success as a punk-band in Gothenburg in the year 1991. The series starts like an earthquake – and just builds up from there.”
As noted in this post, Viva Hate was a Best TV Drama nominee at Sweden’s 2015 Kristallen (The Crystal) TV awards back in August, alongside political thriller Blå ögon (Blue Eyes), Nordic noir mystery/crime drama Jordskott, teen-centric Portkod 1525 (Digicode 1525), and drama Torpederna (The Torpedoes).
Although Viva Hate lost out to Jordskott, Lena Endre (Acquitted, Wallander, Millennium trilogy) and Peter Andersson (Jordskott, Millennium trilogy, Johan Falk) won the Best TV Actress and Actor Awards for their performances in the miniseries.
First aired in Sweden on SVT last Christmas, Viva Hate is set in 1990s Gothenburg and centers on Daniel (Tom Ljungman, Fjällbacka Murders, Johan Falk, Maria Wern), an 18-year-old who dreams of being a rock star.
His friends Morgan (Wilhelm Johansson), Fabian (Mandus Berg), and Juan (Johannes de Lima) are similarly starry-eyed, so they start the band Viva Hate, named after the album by one of their idols, Morrissey, the former lead singer for the British band The Smiths.
When Daniel gets fired from his job for repeatedly playing Ebba Grön’s “Häng Gud” and other punk and alternative rock tunes, he gets serious about making his dream a reality. For him, his friends, and his older, petty thief half-brother Tommy (Anastasios Soulis, Crimes of Passion, Johan Falk, Wallander), escaping into the world of The Smiths, The Cure, The Cult, and other bands allows them to survive the harsh reality around them in Gothenburg.
While being a rock star is also a way to get recognition from the world, for Daniel it’s about getting acknowledgment from his mum (Lena Andre) for being more than “just the result of a one-night stand,” as her affections are focused on her love child Tommy.
As Daniel’s dream begins becoming a reality, he gets entangled in Tommy’s criminal activities and learns that with choices come consequences. He also meets his true love Fanny (Anna Åström, 100 Code, Annika Bengtzon: Crime Reporter, Arne Dahl), and starts to discover what really matters in life.
Written by Peter Birro (Monica Z, Wallander), Viva Hate is inspired by his youth in the ’80s, when Gothenburg was the center of Sweden’s independent rock scene. (I’m guessing Birro himself is a big fan of The Smiths, as another of his works, How Soon Is Now, is named for one of their songs, which happens to be one of my favorites.)
Viva Hate is a co-production of SVT, Anagram Film, and Film i Vast, with the support of Cloudberry Post and Gothenburg Film Studios. The miniseries is directed by Norwegian Jens Lien (Sons of Norway, The Bothersome Man) and produced by Swede Martin Persson (30 Degrees in February, The Girl King).
There’s been no word on whether Viva Hate will screen in the US or UK, so stay tuned.