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Sweden’s SVT Orders Crime Drama ‘Blackwater’ From ‘The Killing’ Producer Piv Bernth

Piv Bernth
Courtesy of Apple Tree Productions

Swedish broadcaster SVT has ordered a six-part TV adaptation of Kerstin Ekman’s crime novel “Blackwater” from Piv Bernth’s Apple Tree Productions. The series will be coproduced with ARD Degeto in Germany, and Filmpool Nord, and distributed internationally by ITV Studios. It has pre-sold to DR in Denmark, NRK in Norway, YLE in Finland, and RUV in Iceland.

Bernth, the International Emmy and BAFTA award-winning CEO of Apple Tree Productions, former head of drama at DR, and producer of “The Killing,” will lead production on “Blackwater.” Bernth will take part in a discussion on ITV international productions at Berlinale Series Market on Wednesday, organized by Variety.

“Blackwater” will be adapted for television as a premium crime drama series by Maren Louise Käehne (“Queen of Hearts,” “The Bridge,” “Borgen”) and directed by Pernilla August (“The Legacy,” “A Serious Game”). Marek Wieser (“Darling,” “Tigers,” “The Violin Player”) will serve as director of photography and Oscar-winning Anna Asp (“Fanny and Alexander,” “Wallander”) will handle production design.

Originally published in Sweden in 1993, the novel has since become available in 25 countries.

The story begins on a midsummer night in 1970, when two tourists are found murdered in a tent, far up in the mountains of North Sweden, near the small town of Blackwater. The incident intersects four random people’s lives, intertwining their destinies for better and for worse.

“’Blackwater’ is a powerful and compelling story, filled with unique, intriguing characters and many spectacular events, told through multiple points of view,” according to a statement from ITV. “Its setting – the Scandinavian forests – matches perfectly the ominous sense of foreboding that permeates the plot.”

Anna Cronemann, head of drama at SVT, said: “Developing a novel as iconic as ‘Blackwater’ into a series, inevitably means taking a huge risk. But with a beautiful script by Maren Louise Käehne, Piv Bernth producing and Pernilla August as director, I’m certain we’re about to make something quite extraordinary.”

Sebastian Lückel, head of acquisitions and coproductions at ARD Degeto, said: “With the pedigree of the team behind this project and an outstanding plot we simply could not say no to this collaboration with SVT.”

“Blackwater” was developed with the support of Creative Europe – Media Program of the European Union.

It is the second production from ITV Studios-backed Apple Tree following “Equinox,” a character-driven supernatural thriller series, currently shooting in Copenhagen for Netflix.

Apple Tree was founded by Lars Hermann and Bernth, who were behind international successes like “The Killing,” “The Legacy,” “Follow the Money,” “The Bridge,” “Liberty” and “Ride Upon the Storm.”