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‘All & Eva’: Creatives Behind Sperm Donor Series Detail How ‘Fleabag’-Inspired Dramedy Is Leading A New Wave Of Auteur-Driven Scandi Fare – Series Mania

Creatives behind sperm donor series All & Eva have said the show represents a new wave of auteur-driven Scandi drama.

The era of The Killing and The Bridge dominating Scandi fare at events such as Series Mania is long gone, director Johanna Runevad and producer Sofie Palage told Deadline in the week leading up to All & Eva’s international competition screening at the Lille confab.

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The pair pointed to hit Swedish dramedies that have aired of late including Viaplay’s Love Me and HBO Max’s Lust.

“Ten years ago, the only thing Sweden exported was crime shows and Nordic noir,” said Palage. “Now, the international audience is more likely to watch Swedish shows on other topics. You can do any genre and people will watch. Although I still love crime, it’s great that we don’t only have to do crime.”

For Runevad, this development has opened up a world of opportunities for directors in TV, who may previously have only made movies. “It feels like our TV landscape is going in the same direction of letting auteurs do their shows, which is great,” she said. Crime shows are much less auteur-driven, some are but a lot are just machines.”

All & Eva is a neat example backing up Runevad and Palage’s argument. The series from Warner Bros. ITVP Sweden follows Eva, played by Tuva Novotny, who believes that happiness lies in her love for herself and her friends, a philosophy that has guided her well in her meticulously planned life. But when she tracks down her sperm donor in Denmark, Mads, played by Joachim Fjelstrup, the encounter triggers unforeseen twists and turns. Viaplay Content Distribution is selling globally.

Dramedies such as All & Eva have been all the rave the past few years but it was one of the originators, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag, that really inspired the team.

“I was amazed at how you can love her regardless of what she does and found that super inspiring,” said Runevad.

The director, whose previous credits include Falkenberg Forever, therefore championed the use of a musical voiceover to detail elements of the plot and what the lead character is thinking, which took the fourth-wall breaking element of Fleabag up a notch.

“Her inner voice is like music that also develops in the season,” she added.

“Weird series”

L to R: DOP Ragna Jorming, director Johanna Runevad
L to R: DOP Ragna Jorming, director Johanna Runevad

The show covers the little-discussed societal topic of sperm donors in some depth but Runevad stressed that she was more keen to spotlight broad themes via a “weird series.” “It wasn’t a story I felt I wanted to tell [at first] to be honest. There is this cliche that you cannot plan life and I thought it was fun to direct a character that is so controlled and knows exactly what they want, and then their feelings take over.”

All & Eva does have one thing in common with The Bridge in that they are both set in Sweden and Denmark, filmed in both languages and feature crews from the two Nordic countries.

Runevad, who admits she has never watched The Bridge, said her desire was to make a “weird love story” between the two countries that laid bare the neighboring nations’ different approaches to sperm donation, amongst other things.

Palage detailed: “For us Swedes we have this rivalry yet companionship with Denmark. You have these countries that are so close together and we wanted to dive into that by making this great dramedy.”

The biggest challenge during production, Palage joked, was getting the Swedish and Danish crew to speak to each other in English rather than their respective languages, which she said “led to some small misunderstandings.”

“The culture clash we were having in the story we were also having with the team,” she said. “In production meetings I would just be like, ‘Is everybody understanding everything?’.”

All & Eva will screen Thursday night at Series Mania and is facing off with the likes of Peacock’s Apples Never Fall and Leonard Cohen series So Long, Marianne in international competition.

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