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2019 Canneseries Lineup Unveiled

PARIS — Netflix Original Series “How To Sell Drugs Online (Fast),” BBC One-Canal Plus-HBO drama “Years & Years” and Amazon/Liberty Global order “The Feed” look like potential highlights at a 2nd Canneseries festival whose much enlarged U.S. presence also takes in Starz double-bill “The Rook” and “Now Apocalypse” and AMC’s “NOS4A2.”

Added to the announced Canal Plus-Studiocanal “Vernon Subutex,” Fremantle’s “Beecham House,” backed by ITV, and now Beta Film’s “Bauhaus- A New Era,” a Zero One/Constantin TV/ Nadcon production for ZDF/Arte – Canneseries boasts a half-dozen-or-so banner world premieres from big U.S. and European players, playing in or out of competition.

Beyond the occasional title, such as Belgium’s “The Twelve” which Federation Entertainment brought onto the market at Mipcom, the Canneseries competition looks to have a strong line in comedy, and also be, as artist director Albin Lewi put it –  presenting 2019’s Canneseries’ on Wednesday with president Fleur Pellerin, Cannes mayor David Lisnard and managing director Benoit Louvet – to be “the starting point of many international discoveries.”

Three-or-four of its competition titles indeed currently lie near completely off the international radar.

Lewi also confirmed that “Peaky Blinders” creator Steven Knight will deliver a masterclass. Dame Diana Rigg receives the Variety Icon Award at Cannes at its opening ceremony.

Vivendi pay-TV operator Canal Plus and its subsidiary Studiocanal bookend Canneseries, which opens with “Vernon Subutex,” a satire of modern social malaise starring Romain Duris, and closes with “Years & Years,” showrun by Russell T. Davies (“Dr. Who,” “A Very English Scandal”) and produced by Studiocanal’s U.K. RED Production Company for BBC One, Canal Plus and HBO.

A drama charting one family’s survival down the years in a turbulent near-future Britain, it stars Emma Thompson, Roy Kinnear and T’Nia Miller. Studiocanal handles international distribution on both “Vernon Subutex” and “Years & Years.”

The latest work by Lars Kraume, director of “The People vs. Fritz Bauer” and the “The Verdict/Terror,” “Bahaus – A New Era” is a portrait of the largely unsung Dörte Helm, who helped Walter Gropius build Bauhaus into one of the most influential art schools of the 20th century.

Playing in competition, and created by Philipp Käßbohrer and Matthias Murmann at Germany’s BTF, Netflix’s “How To Sell Drugs Online (Fast)” is a true-fact-based – and reportedly fast-paced and whiplash-edited – teen drama-thriller about a high-school student who sets up Europe’s biggest online drug business from out of his bedroom.

A brain implant thriller penned by “Walking Dead” writer Channing Powell, “The Feed” marks a move into scripted programming by All3Media’s Studio Lambert, a famed unscripted specialist, and continues the early original programming of Liberty Global. Amazon Prime Video will release the series as an original in North America and Latin America, All3Media sells outside Amazon and Liberty Global territories.

Also flying the flag for the U.S., and constituting a Starz Night at Canneseries, “The Rook,” a London-set classic paranormal thriller starring Olivia Munn and Joely Richardson, will screen in a double bill with the international premiere of Gregg Araki’s doom-laced Hollywood-set comedy half hour “Now Apocalypse,” which bowed March 10 on Starz.

Created by Jamie O’Brien, AMC’S supernatural horror thriller “NOS4A2,” whose heroine battles a bogeyman (Zachary Quinto) who feeds off the souls of children, world premieres at the SXSW Festival this week.

“Now Apocalypse” marks the first series as a showrunner of Araki, an former icon of America’s ‘90s indie cinema (“Doom Generation”). Also illustrating moviemakers’ ever more enthusiastic embrace of high-end scripted drama, “Beecham House,” is the first fiction series from Chadha whose latest movie, “Blinded by the Light,” lit a fire at Sundance.

Now Apocalypse BTS Gregg Araki
CREDIT: Katrina Marcinowski

Depicting three women confronting early mid-life crisis.

“Perfect Life,” a Movistar + Original Series sold by Beta Film, is another first series, from Spanish actress-filmmaker, Leticia Dolera, whose quirky 2015 feature debut, “Requirements to Be a Normal Person,” marked her out as a director to track. “Junichi,” from Japan’s Kansai TV, is co-created by 2018 Cannes Palme d’Or winner Hirokazu Kor-eda (“Shoplifters”), in only his second venture into TV after 2012’s “Going My Home.”

CREDIT: Movistar

In all, four Canneseries shows are comedies or have large comedic elements. One, crazed fantasy-laced cop show “Magnus,” from Norway’s NRK and Anders Tangen’s Viafilm, described by Tangen as “Inspector Clouseau meets ‘Stranger Things,’” bowed on NRK on Jan. 22 to upbeat ratings and reviews.

Buzzed up dramedy “Studio Tarara,” from Flemish network VTM and Shelter, unspools on a VTM “Saturday Night Live” style show on VTM whose actors spiral out of control. Wild Bunch TV handles international sales.

“Nehama,” another dramedy, stars Reshef Levi, creator of mega-hit series “The Arbitrator,” as a 40-year-old widower father of five children trying to get a belated break in stand-up.

Canneseries also acknowledges the build in international drama series powers, such as Germany and Belgium’s Flanders, both with two shows in competition. An increasingly ambitious TV series producer, Russia contributes one title to Canneseries competition for the second year running, TV-3’s virus thriller “The Outbreak,” from Valery Fedorovich and Evgeniy Nikishow.

From Bert Van Dael and Sanne Nuyens, creators of “Hotel Beau Séjour,” which helped Belgian Noir break out in 2016, “The Twelve” pinpoints the hallmark emphasis on character of much of the best international drama. Following the trial of a respected school principal accused of two murders, the latter her own child, it plumbs especially the lives, scars and prejudices of the jury members. “Junichi” turns on the protagonist’s life-changing impact on six women.

“Dark” showrunner Baran Bo Odar presides an official competition jury which takes in British actor-director-author Stephen Fry (“Blackadder,” “Gosford Park”), actors Miriam Leone (“Non uccidere”) from Italy, French-British thesp Emma Mackey (“Sex Education”) and Canada’s Katheryn Winnick (“Vikings”) and French composer Robin Coudert (“The Bureau”).

Launched in 2018 by the Cannes Town Hall, in partnership with Mipcom and MipTV organizer Reed Midem and Canal Plus, the 2nd Canneseries festival runs just before and parallel to MipTV over April 5-10.

CANNESERIES 2019 OFFICIAL COMPETITION 

Title, creator, country of origin

“Bauhaus – A New Era,” (Lars Kraume, Germany)

“How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast),” (Philipp Käßbohrer, Matthias Murmann, Germany)

“Junichi,” (Hi Mitsunobu Kawamura, Eiji Kitahara, Hirokazu Kore-Eda, Japan)

“Magnus,” (Vidar Magnussen, Norway)

“Nehama,” (Reshef Regev Levi, Israel)

“Perfect Life,” (Leticia Dolera, Spain)

“Studio Tarara,” (Tim Van Aelst, Belgium)

“The Feed,” (Channing Powell, U.K, U.S.)

“The Outbreak,”(Pavel Kostomarov, Produced by Valeriy Fedorovich, Evgeniy Nikishov, Dzhanik Fayziev, Ivan Golomovzyuk, Aleksandr Bondarev, Rafael Minasbekyan, Russia)

“The Twelve,” (Bert Van Dael, Sanne Nuyens, Belgium)

OUT OF COMPETITION

“Beecham House,” (Gurinder Chadha, Shahrukh Husain, Paul Mayeda Berges, U.K)

“NOS4A2,” (Jami O’Brien, U.S.)

“Now Apocalypse,” (Gregg Araki, U.S.)

“The Rook,” (Karyn Usher, Lisa Zwerling, Stephen Garrett, U.K)

“Vernon Subutex,” (Cathy Verney, France)

“Years & Years,” (Russell T. Davies, U.K)

CANNESERIES SHORT-FORM COMPETITION

“Do Not Disturb,” (Michael Haussman, Larry Volpi, U.K)

“Golden Revenge,” (Josh Gardner, Tom Stern, U.S.)

“La Maison Des Folles,” (Mara Joly, Canada)

“Noche de amor,” (Agustina Levati, Pedro Levati, Argentina)

“Over and Out,” (Adele Vuko, Christiaan Van Vuuren, Australia)

“The Fucking Liars,” (Alejandro Jovic, Argentina)

“Teodore Without The H,” (Natalie Doummar, Julien Hurteau, Canada)

“Robbie Hood,” (Dylan River, Tanith Glynn-Maloney, Australia)

“Simone & Me, A Mechanical Friendship,” (Soukaïna Meflah, Laurène Dervieux, France)

“Warigami,” (Eddie Kim, Canada)

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