REInvent boards Fire Monkey’s ‘Deception’ Ahead of ‘Lumia’s’ bow at MIA Market (EXCLUSIVE)

Copenhagen-based REInvent International Sales has boarded Finnish crime series “Deception,” produced by Fire Monkey, Variety has found out exclusively.

It sees Riku, a kid from a bad part of town, deciding to infiltrate a rich young elite in order to rob them. When he falls in love with an heiress, he starts to enjoy his new luxurious lifestyle. But his old friends, and creditors, want to see money and results.

Created by Mikko Pöllä, who also serves as one of the writers, “Deception” (“Kerma”) is produced by Saara Kankaanpää. Daniel Virtanen, Marketta Tikkanen, Elias Gould, Pihla Maalismaa and Karim Rapatti star, while Mikko Kuparinen will direct.

Currently in production, the show will premiere in 2023 on C More in the Nordics.

“Fire Monkey produces high-profile series, and has a proven track record that there is a great audience for them. We are sure ‘Deception’ is in this league,” says sales and marketing director Helene Aurø. Previously, REInvent snapped up Fire Monkey’s political thriller “Enemy of the People.”

The Helsinki-based company, founded in 2016, is also behind six-episode series “Lumia,” making its bow at Rome’s MIA Market.

Created by Anastasia Heinzl and Pöllä – Fire Monkey’s co-founder alongside Roope Lehtinen – it will focus on a teenage girl forced to swap Paris, where she lives, for Christmas in Finland with her mother. Surrounded by nature, she starts to see weird lights in the forest, following her around.

“Finland can be quite insular when you don’t know it well. Lumia, our protagonist, is used to a vibrant and busy life in France, where people are chatty. In Finland, people are quite shy and self-conscious,” says Heinzl, who decided to incorporate some of her own experiences into the series.

“When you talk to a Finnish person on the street or sit next to them on the bus, it makes them very nervous. For a French person moving to Finland, it was unsettling, even comical sometimes. I felt alienated and wanted to write about it.”

While her uprooted character also initially “feels more French than Finnish,” once she befriends a Nigerian refugee, Hamza, she introduces him to the local culture. As a result, she starts to appreciate it as well.

“Busy Paris and rural Finland are definitely two different worlds, and the emptiness of the landscape and quietness of the locals are frightening. Fear of the unknown is the core theme of the story,” adds Pöllä.

Finnish artist Maria Lax and her photography book “Some Kind of Heavenly Fire” also served as an important inspiration.

“I love photography and sci-fi. These pictures of mysterious lights inspired me and I sent a picture of the book to Mikko. Of course, he had it already,” laughs Heinzl.

“Apart from these images, the book was also very interesting to us from a sociological and psychological point of view. Why do people, like you and me, start seeing lights? Out of nowhere?”

Despite its touches of magic realism, “Lumia” will largely stay grounded, she assures.

“We won’t see any aliens or UFOs. The lights serve as a metaphor of what happens to us when we feel lost. You always hope that something, anything, will guide you,” says Heinzl.

But her protagonist’s otherworldly experience was reportedly shared by other people as well.

“During Finland’s rural exodus, people were feeling lonelier and lonelier in the countryside. Many of them started seeing lights, following their cars for example. They told no one, afraid others would think they were crazy,” she says.

“When I was a kid, my grandfather took me around his village and said that a UFO had once landed on a field close to where he lived,” says Pöllä.

“There were burning marks on the field in the morning and many villagers saw them. There were many different UFO sightings around the village. I still remember I was puzzled, hearing these stories. My grandfather was a teacher, a believer in science. I knew that he wasn’t kidding.”

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