Mipcom: SundanceTV Acquires ‘The Last Panthers’

U.S. channel continues to cherry-pick top Euro dramas

The Last Panthers
Courtesy of Studiocanal

CANNES – In one of the first U.S. deals to be announced at this year’s Mipcom TV trade fair, which kicked off Monday, SundanceTV has acquired broadcast rights to six-hour crime drama “The Last Panthers,” starring Samantha Morton (“Minority Report,” “Longford”), Tahar Rahim (“A Prophet,” “The Past”), Goran Bogdan (“We Will Be the Champions”) and John Hurt (“Midnight Express,” “Elephant Man”).

SundanceTV will air “Panthers” in Spring.

“The Last Panthers” is a sign of the future: In its portrait of the new faces of Euro crime and it status as fruit of a burgeoning production alliance between Euro pay TV giants, being commissioned by Sky Atlantic at Sky, with operations in U.K. Germany and Italy, and France’s Canal Plus. As Europe seeks to face off the very best U.S. drama, more such pan-European alliances can be expected to flower.

One of the highest-profile new TV series at Mipcom, it was selected as the trade fair’s opening night world premiere TV screening on Monday night. Joint distribution is handled by Studiocanal and Sky Vision.

In a sign of the muscle which Sky brings to the table as a TV operator, “The Last Panthers” will bow simultaneously On Nov. 22 in the five territories where Sky operates: U.K., Ireland, Germany, Italy, Austria, allowing it to reach 21 million subscribers. It will air on Canal Plus later this year.

Based on true events involving the Pink Panthers, notorious Balkan jewel thieves, heist thriller, “The Last Panthers” kicks off with a daring diamond robbery, then transfers to the heart of Europe as Naomi, a British loss adjuster (Morton) and Khalil (Rahim) on a collision course with a Serbian gangster (Bogdan), a French-Algerian policeman, set off in hot pursuit. Hurt plays Naomi’s shady boss. The chase takes Naomi and Khalil into a world populated by not just gangsters but a new species of criminal: “banksters.”

Johan Renck (“Breaking Bad,” “The Walking Dead”) directs from an idea by Gallic journalist Jerome Pierrat and a screenplay by Jack Thorne (“Skins”). Series features a title track sung and written by David Bowie, which is said to be his

Two prestigious indies – France’s Haut et Court (“The Class,” “The Returned”) and U.K.’s Warp Films (“Southcliffe”) produce.

“’The Last Panthers’ is a large-scale saga, contemporary, multi-layered and bold. SundanceTV is the ideal platform for discerning American viewers of top quality content,” said Katrina Neylon, EVP, sales and marketing, Studiocanal.

Leona Connell, head of sales at Sky Vision, added, “This thrilling series sets the bar high in terms of European drama. We look forward to sharing exclusive footage and introducing key talent to our buyers at Mipcom.”

“This series has incredible energy and high-stakes drama that we are confident will connect with our SundanceTV audience, and further expand our slate of high-quality, original series from around the globe,” said Christian Vesper, SVP of international programming, development, acquisitions and co-productions, SundanceTV.

Deal ups Sundance TV’s prominence as a go-to channel for top Euro dramas. The second season of French series “The Returned,” also from Haut et Court, bows on the channel this fall.