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Amazon Prime Acquires French Fantasy Series ‘Apnea’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Amazon Prime Video has acquired second-window rights to “Apnea” (“Une Île”), the French female-powered fantasy series which competed at Series Mania and won best French show.

“Apnea” will premiere on Arte and will roll out on Amazon Prime Video in France shortly after. The series will not be available on the streaming service outside of France.

“Apnea,” written by Gaia Guasti and Aurélien Molas, is headlined by an international cast, including Laetitia Casta, Noée Abita, Sergi Lopez, Manuel Severi and Alba Gaia Bellugi. Julien Trousselier directed the series.

The series was produced by Nicole Collet (“Mafiosa”) at Image et Compagnie, and co-produced by ARTE France. Lagardère Studios Distribution is handling international sales.

Inspired by the mermaid myth, “Apnea” is a fantasy-filled murder mystery set in a quaint fishing village on a Mediterranean isle.

Isabelle Bertrand , Amazon Prime’s content acquisition manager for France, told Variety that the streaming service had acquired “Apnea” at script stage and even participated in the financing. “We quickly identified the series as very promising and ambitious which is why we decided to come on board and help finance some of the post-production, notably the visual effects,” explained Bertrand.

The executive said the acquisition of “Apnea” for Amazon Prime Video’s subscribers in France underscores the streamer’s strategy to pick up homegrown shows that will please its local subs, leaving the international rights available. Amazon Prime only once acquired global rights to a French show – “Zone Blanche” — in 2017, but hasn’t repeated the experience yet.

This strategy is much different from Netflix which aims at taking local shows to global audiences.

“Apnea” marks the first collaboration between Arte and Amazon Prime. The streaming service previously worked with TF1 on the soccer documentary “Les Bleus,” “Demain nous appartient” and “Les bracelets rouges,” and with France Televisions on a flurry of shows, including “Capitaine Marleau.”

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