CANNES — Studiocanal, Europe’s biggest TV-film production-distribution-sales company, owned by Vivendi’s Canal Plus Group, has closed international sales on Danish family relationship drama “Ride Upon the Storm,” a flagship title in Studiocanal’s drive into high-end European drama series.
Adam Price’s follow-up to “Borgen,” “Ride Upon the Storm,” starring Lars Mikkelsen (“House of Cards”), has been acquired by a broad gamut of TV operators from South African pay TV network M-Net Africa, to public broadcasters such as TVNZ for New Zealand and RTE Eire, as well as SBS Australia, which has a strong line in foreign-language series.
Further buyers include Lumière Benelux, RTVS Slovakia, NC+ in Poland; and LRT Lithuania. Studiocanal sold the drama to Telefonica’s Movistar + in Spain; upscale European broadcaster Arte has rights to French and German-speaking Europe. Danish pubcaster DR, which lead-produced the drama with Arte France and SAM le Français, aired “Ride Upon the Storm” from September.
A number of important territories are now under discussion especially now that digital rights have been fully cleared, said Beatriz Campos, Studiocanal head of international sales for TV series.
“This highly-produced, intense and glossy drama plays out extremely well in the schedules of top-quality channels,” said Campos.
She added: “Family dramas are truly universal and, with its unique setting and narrative, ‘Ride Upon The Storm’ is ultimately very relatable to viewers in different parts of the world.’
The sales announcement comes as Studiocanal launches a second, brand-new season of “Ride Upon the Storm,” augmenting the number of episodes available to 20 one-hours.
“The fact two seasons have been commissioned gives Studiocanal the volume to approach all kinds of platforms, especially pay TV where volume is key,” Campos added, noting Price’s strong track record as one frequent reason adduced by buyers for acquiring “Ride Upon the Storm.”
Another is the “unique subject matter that has probably not been explored from this exclusive point of view,” she added.
Produced by Camilla Hammerich (“Borgen”), “Ride Upon the Storm” turns on a pater familias played by Lars Mikkelsen (“House of Cards”), a firebrand, violent and sometimes raging drunk Minister of the Church of Denmark.
“Johannes resembles a God-like figure for his two sons. They love him, fear him, respect him, despise him, he is monumental in their lives,” Price told Variety.
Seeking to free themselves of his tyrannical love, his sons react in different ways: the devout August goes off as an army chaplain to a combat zone in the Middle East, the wayward Christian to Tibet.
“We know that complex family relationships are piquing interest at the moment,” Campos commented.
Studiocanal is also launching at MipTV a second season of “Baron Noir,” starring “Welcome to the Sticks’” Kad Merad in a down-and-dirty political thriller. Season 2 turns on the horse-trading, deceit and skullduggery needed for Merad’s machiavellian politician character to save the French Republic.
Merad was nominated for an Intl. Emmy in 2017 for his performance in Season 1, which has sold to 85 countries.