The Walt Disney Company Germany has picked up a pair of Beta Films series for its Fox pay TV network for German-speaking territories: Spanish YA drama “Alive and Kicking” and Russian thriller “Dead Mountain – The Dyatlov Pass Incident.” Both series were presented to buyers at Mipcom in October and several more deals for each are in advanced negotiations, and expected to be announced shortly.
A Movistar Plus original series from Spain, “Alive and Kicking” will participate in the official program of this year’s Brlinale, screening at its newly-designed section, Berlinale Series Market Selects, alongside fellow Beta Film YA series “Echos,” produced by Neuesuper for ProSiebenSat.1 and Discovery’s Joyn.
Co-produced by Movistar Plus and Dynamo Audiovisual, “Alive and Kicking” marks the latest series from Spanish screenwriter Albert Espinosa, creator of Spain’s most successful ever drama format “Polseres vermelles,” adapted more than a dozen times around the world including an English-language version, “Red Band Society,” for Fox in the U.S.
“Alive and Kicking” follows four teens who are locked up in a mental institution on a remote island. Diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, obsessiveness, bipolar disorder, anxiety attacks and sociopathic tendencies, the group decide to plot a “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”-style breakout. According to Espinosa, “Alive and Kicking” is a series fueled by the underestimated decision-making power of children, and the best thing he’s ever made.
“There are currently 40,000 children in psychiatric hospitals in Spain. They are full,” Espinosa told Variety in October when discussing the series after shooting had wrapped. “I know these kids well… and for me, putting any kid in a psychiatric hospital is just short of criminal. The problems aren’t with the kids, but with how society shuts them out.”
Russia’s top-rated show for Premier.One this winter, “Dead Mountain – The Dyatlov Pass Incident” is a dramatization of the real-life mystery surrounding the 1959 disappearance of nine experienced Russian hikers who set off on a skiing trek but never reached their final destination. A month after disappearing, their frozen bodies were found spread about their campsite, several of them mangled and disfigured. Stranger still, their tents had been cut open from the inside, leaving investigators stumped as to who, or what, killed the group.
The series picks up when fictional KGB agent Oleg arrives to conduct a top-secret investigation. Aided by the local medical examiner Katya, Oleg is relentless in his efforts to uncover what happened to the campers but realizes that with each answer uncovered, several more questions arise.
“Dead Mountain – The Dyatlov Pass Incident” is produced by 1-2-3 Productions and directed by Evgeniy Nikishov and Valeriy Fedorovich who serve as co-directors, producers, showrunners and co-creators with screenwriter Ilya Kulikov. The series will broadcast on Fox Germany and SVOD platform Cirkus in the Nordics including Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland.