C4 takes ‘Dresden’

Blighty channel falls for Teutonic love story

CANNES — In a major boon for the Teutonic TV business, the U.K.’s Channel 4 has nabbed ZDF’s hit World War II mini “Dresden,” a love story set against the massive Allied bombing of the eastern German city.

While not unheard of, U.K. TV acquisitions of German product are rare.

“Dresden,” which drew 12 million German viewers when it aired in March, has already sold around the globe, including Japan, Thailand, Spain, Italy and France.

Jan Mojto, whose EOS Entertain-ment coproduced “Dresden” with Berlin-based Teamworx, is also han-dling international sales through his distrib Beta Film.

At its traditional MipTV brunch in Cannes on Tuesday, Beta unspooled its current lineup, including “The Crown Prince,” a lavish Euros 11 million ($13 million) historical mini about the turbulent life of Rudolf, the son of Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz-Joseph.

EOS Entertainment and Vienna-based MR Film are producing the two-parter for Austria’s ORF, German pubcaster ARD and Italy’s RAI. Robert Dornhelm (“The Ten Commandments”) is directing the latest retelling of the tragic tale, which was recounted in Terence Young’s 1968 pic “Mayerling,” starring Omar Sharif and Catherine Deneuve.

Also perking interest among buyers were Teamworx’s World War II coming-of-age tale “Not All Were Murders” and “Cold Summer,” about an East German family coming to terms with the growing separation of East and West Germany and the building of the Berlin Wall.

Mojto remains one of Europe’s most prolific TV producers, but he’s also looking to roll out “an MTV for classical music.”

Having last year acquired Unitel, the former Kirch-owned production unit and catalog of classical music programs spanning 40 years, Mojto was quick to launch classical music outlet Classica on German paybox Premiere, on Sky Italia, in Japan and this year in Spain.

Among Unitel’s upcoming productions will be this summer’s “Three Superstars in Berlin” with tenors Placido Domingo and Rolando Villazon and soprano Anna Netrebko.

Buyers have also taken notice of SevenOne’s impressive lineup, which likewise include Teamworx produc-tions such as disaster pic “Tornado” and “The Hunt for Troy,” about wily 19th-century archeologist Heinrich Schliemann, plus “Six Weeks of Fear,” an action-packed drama about a young teacher who travels to Iraq in search of his missing girlfriend; “The Crows,” in which aggressive mutant birds descend on Berlin; and historical drama series “Berlin 1905,” an “Upstairs, Downstairs” Teutonic-style.

SevenOne Intl., meanwhile, is set to expand its distribution operations in Latin America as ProSiebenSat 1’s international sales arm continues to beef up its catalog with attractive product.

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