Currently in production on the second season of “To the Lake,” a dark depiction of a world affected by a mysterious virus, which has gained worldwide popularity on Netflix, Moscow-based 1-2-3 Production is only just getting started. As Variety found out, the second season of “Call Center” is also in active development, with “Dreams of Alice,” an eight-episode series chosen for the Berlinale Series Market Selects in March, at a work-in-progress stage. Survival drama “The Big Game,” about a reality show gone wrong, is also in the works.
“We were happy to see that people in so many countries watched ‘To the Lake’ and that it landed in the top 10 in over 70 territories,” says Evgeniy Nikishov, general producer of TV-3 channel, who heads the company alongside Valeriy Fedorovich. “It has received a flood of fan posts and comments on social media, emails to our company and directly to the actors of the show.” These comments included one from Stephen King, who called it a “pretty darn good Russian series” on Twitter.
“It was the best feedback and inspiration possible for the team behind the series. There is no doubt that this experience has redefined our position as producers about the international horizon. It goes without saying: We are open for further cooperation,” adds Nikishov. The second season of the show, which started shooting in April, will be directed by Dmitry Tyurin.
The company is set to return to Netflix also with “Anna K,” a contemporary retelling of Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel “Anna Karenina,” starring Svetlana Khodchenkova, who will soon head to Cannes with “House Arrest” by Alexey German Jr. Co-produced with Droog Drooga, it will mark Netflix’s first original Russian drama series. But before that, the participants of the Key Buyers Event will be able to sneak a peek at “Insomnia.” Revolving around a successful psychiatrist and hypnotist who, ironically enough, is plagued by his own nightmares and grief following his wife’s tragic passing.
“It was originally created for a wide range of people united by their love of mysteries, eager to look beyond the borders of reality in order to discover how much is really out there to explore,” says Nikishov.
“Our target audience examines the world with a wide-open mind and appreciates good stories for their ability to surprise and provide a uniquely emotional experience. Our ‘comfort zone’ is drama, crime, mystery and sci-fi. We see strong demand for these categories.”
Founded in 2018, the company has already partnered with the likes of TVCO on 2020 drama “Masha”; Cineflix Rights, tapped to distribute both seasons of “An Ordinary Woman,” which went on to become the first Russian show picked up by the Scandinavian SVOD service Viaplay; and Germany’s Beta Films on “Dead Mountain. The Dyatlov Pass Incident.” The latter, a limited drama series based on true events, directed by Stepan Gordee as well as Fedorovich and Nikishov themselves, will premiere in Germany this month on the Fox Germany channel. In September, courtesy of the Topic SVOD platform, it will make its way to North America.
“One of the main strategic goals of our company is to be present on the international market, in partnership with companies and talent who think in the same way as us and strive to do something fundamentally new, while also breaking down barriers and stereotypes. We think of these allies as the people who share our DNA,” adds Valeriy Fedorovich, CEO of TV-3 channel.
“In my opinion, the secret to success is simple and it doesn’t matter if you release [your content] to the local or to the international audience. We make films and TV shows that we would watch ourselves and that we personally like,” he says.
“One can try to adapt to the tastes and demands of the audience, but the truth is that honest, uncompromising and fascinating projects will always find their way to the viewer. Each member of our team has poured their heart and soul, and left behind a piece of themselves, in their work.”