Blackpills, a French startup focused on edgy original series created for mobile viewing, is trying to boost its exposure to U.S. audiences by sampling two of its original shows on Facebook’s Watch platform.
The two series are coming-of-age drama “Junior” from Zoe Cassavetes and teen-assassin thriller “Playground,” based on an original idea by director Luc Besson.
However, only the first three episodes of “Playground” (pictured above) will be available on Facebook’s Watch. The full 10-episode season is available on Blackpills’ free, ad-supported app for iOS and Android, which launched in May.
Season one of “Junior,” which also runs 10 episodes, will be available on Facebook’s Watch through Jan. 3 (in addition to the Blackpills app). The first two episodes launched Monday, Nov. 27, with two new episodes to be released weekly on the platform.
Facebook is not funding the Blackpills shows, which are among several hundred longer-form series that it’s brought to the Watch platform. Facebook’s Watch initially launched in the U.S. this summer, with the aim of driving users to watch more video and ultimately selling TV-style advertising against them.
Paris-based Blackpills was formed in 2016 by Deezer cofounder Daniel Marhely and Patrick Holzman, an ex-Canal Plus exec and co-founder of AlloCiné. The company has greenlit more than 50 shows from partners including James Franco, Bryan Singer, Logan Paul, Christian Delgrosso, Eric Johnson, Denise Richards and Anonymous Content — with the goal of releasing a new series weekly on its app, which is available in over 30 countries.
Select Blackpills series are also available via its global distribution partnership with Vice Media, which handles ad sales on behalf of the startup.
“Junior,” created, written and directed by Zoe Cassavetes, is produced by Blackpills and Manny Films. It centers on 16-year-old Logan, who moves to L.A. after her parents’ ugly divorce. When her mom brings home a new man, it awakens something in her — pushing her deeper into a secret life and tempting her to embrace her dark side. The series stars Lucia Ribisi (“Bark,” “Small Fry”), Eric Johnson (“Fifty Shades Darker”), Amy Seimetz (“Stranger Things”), Benjamin Hjelm (“Jane the Virgin,” “The Mick”), Kristine Froseth (“Let the Right One In”), Samantha Logan (“13 Reasons Why”), and Libby Mintz (“Day Out of Days”).
In “Playground,” a teenage girl joins a school for assassins — called Courtyard — and soon realizes there may be a connection between the organization and her parents’ violent death. Starring Amalia Holm (“Heroes of the Baltic Sea”), Simon Abkarian (“Zero Dark Thirty,” “Casino Royale”), and Melina Matthews (“Mama”).
The series is directed by Olivier Schneider (“Fast & Furious 6”) and Pascal Sid (“Behind The Walls”); written by Anne-Lise Deffoux, Thibault Lafargue, Anton Likiernik, and Vincent Clero; and produced by Blackpills and Together Media.