Big Blue Joins the Cult – and Finland’s Helsinki-Filmi – in ‘Kiss My Feet,’ an Upcoming Series ‘a Bit Lighter Than ‘Midsommar’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Rexa Vella

Big Blue Joins the Cult – and Finland’s Helsinki-Filmi – in ‘Kiss My Feet,’ an Upcoming Series ‘a Bit Lighter Than ‘Midsommar’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Amsterdam-based Big Blue is set to produce the upcoming series “Kiss My Feet,” alongside Finnish company Helsinki-filmi.  

Selected for Series Mania’s Forum Co-Pro Pitching Sessions, the six-episode drama is created by Daan Gielis and Mark Van De Grift, loosely based on their own experiences. 

In the show, successful marketer Max finds himself in a spiritual community in Finland, trying to help out his brother Lucas – apparently, his mysterious guru is interested in building an international brand. Soon, Max and his girlfriend Daphne’s view on family, and trust, will drastically change.

“I know writer Daan Gielis very well, we have worked together before and this project was always simmering somewhere. It’s such an unusual story. Some people are very invested in spiritual communities, others prefer to stay away. What if that division happens within one couple?,” said Big Blue’s CEO Fleur Winters. 

The company is also behind Studiocanal’s “The Crash” and recently announced comedy “This is Gonna Be Great” (NPO/ZDFNeo/VRT). It has co-produced “Arcadia” and “Dome 16.” 

“This feeling that your loved one is drifting away and going into another direction, one you couldn’t possibly imagine. How do you deal with that is very universal.” 

Helsinki-filmi’s Aleksi Bardy added: “Many of these real-life gurus and cults are like yoga camps for westerners. They are not that mysterious. This couple journeys into an alien, unusual world, and it puts their relationship to test. There are demons here, sure, but the kind they bring along with them.” 

Despite its odd setting, the actual DNA of the story is romance, he stressed.   

“Most modern shows are hybrids and there are elements of thriller, suspense and mystery here too. But it’s a love story about a couple and their fear of losing each other. That is the key, and perhaps a bit unexpected, ingredient.” 

Still, the cult Max and Daphne enter and a charismatic guru they encounter make things significantly more complicated. 

“This guru seems wise and says things that make complete sense. The people in the community claim the ego doesn’t exist, but at the same time, they are trying to get his attention. We will go in with one character that embraces it all and loves it, and another who is completely against it. But, of course, they won’t stay this way,” noted Winters. 

While the main couple will be Dutch, “Kiss My Feet” is eyeing an international cast. The community portrayed in the show will mainly communicate in English. 

“This title, it’s a request from the guru – you do that to the Pope, too. You kiss their feet as a token of loyalty and trust, but it also makes you think of that couple and how they relate to each other,” said Bardy. 

The Finnish producer is known for “Tom of Finland,” upcoming Glenn Close starrer “The Summer Book” and crime drama “Codename: Annika” about an art fraud investigator who goes undercover. 

“Any external adventure, and journey, is also internal. This is perhaps something these two shows have in common,” he stated.

“We play with prejudices people have regarding spiritualism. Which is not to say that everything is fine and dandy in these kinds of cults. It’s not investigative journalism; we don’t dig into cases of abuse. But there are problems within these communities and we will show it as well.”

“Our take is a bit lighter than ‘Midsommar,’ even though it is one of our references.” 

Winters gushed over the show’s Finnish setting. 

“It’s an untapped region, especially when you go up North. At the same time, it’s very spiritual. There are all these legends and it’s so close to nature. I think that visually, it will be absolutely amazing.” 

In a written statement shared with Variety, Daan Gielis and Mark Van De Grift opened up about the story that, at times, gets uncomfortably personal. 

“In 2013, Mark had the exceptional opportunity to help a guru and his fast-growing community build a brand. He was immediately excited and we embarked on this new adventure in India. Being a part of this spiritual group really tested the limits of our relationship,” they noted. 

“Our love for each other was at stake.” 

Developed 10 years later, “Kiss My Feet” is an “honest” take on the experience. 

“We became increasingly fascinated by the dynamics [which were] very different from what you would expect in a spiritual community. There was a fierce battle for the guru’s attention, much rivalry and mistrust.”

“The opposing concepts of trust and fear are our story engine, [with] the complexity of love, even between brothers, at its core. In the microcosm of a spiritual leader’s community in remote Finland, everyone is family and children are shared. Love has no boundaries or boxes. But will this work for Daphne and Max?” 

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