Viaplay to Debut It Could Have Been Us Doc


It Could Have Been Us, a new documentary presented by Emma Örtlund and Ida Johansson (Catwalk), is set to premiere on Viaplay in 2023.

Directed by award-winning filmmaker Björn Tjärnberg, the documentary delves into the experiences of people with disabilities who were confined to institutions across Sweden from the start of the 20th century. Together with Pär Johansson, founder of the Swedish theater group Glada Hudik, Örtlund and Johansson meet relatives of those affected, along with expert researchers.

It Could Have Been Us shares the true story of Olle, a young man who wrote letters to his mother from Lund’s Vipeholm facility that cast an unsettling light on events that still remain largely unknown to a broad audience.

It Could Have Been Us (Swedish title: Det kunde varit vi) is written by Tjärnberg (The Old Man and the Sea: The Expedition) and Rebecca Brander (Flipping the Ladder). It is produced by Candamo Film for Viaplay and is distributed globally by Viaplay Content Sales.

Tjärnberg said: “When we started to learn more about what life was like for people with disabilities earlier in history, we soon faced a reality darker than we ever imagined. Through Olle’s eloquent and often witty letters, Emma and Ida hear a voice from the past who makes this story even more tangible.”

Filippa Wallestam, Viaplay Group’s chief content officer, said: “This deeply affecting film shows the human consequences of an inhumane worldview and how its scars remain in our societies today. At the same time, it offers glimpses of hope and joy. We’re proud that Viaplay’s viewers can once again spend time with the very charismatic Emma, Ida and friends, and gain many thought-provoking insights along the way.”