Renewing a frequent relationship between one of Europe’s highest-profile distributor-curators of foreign language drama series and one of their biggest suppliers, VOD service Walter Presents has swooped on a six-title drama series package from Germany’s ZDF Enterprises.
Deal plays off a just-announced exclusive strategic alliance between Walter Presents and Australia’s Stan, owned by Nine Digital, which charges Walter Presents with securing international drama for the fast-building Australian SVOD service. All the shows are scheduled to air on Stan as first-runs and are exclusive to Stan in Australia.
Made in the run-up to early March’s Berlin Film Festival, the deal takes in two titles — “Grow” and “Standing Tall” — both bound for the event’s new curated TV showcase, Berlinale Series Market Selects.
Created by Milad Avaz, one of Variety’s 2018 10 Europeans to Watch, “Grow” is described as a fast-moving thriller about two brothers — one a cop, the other a drug lord — on a collision course. Lars Mikkelsen (“Ride upon the Storm,” “The Witcher”) and Andreas Jessen (“Mercur”) star in the show, produced by SF Studios Productions and Avaz’s Rocket Road Pictures for TV2 Denmark.
Produced by Publispei for Italy’s RAI and directed by Gianluca Maria Tavarelli (“The Young Montalbano,” “Maltese”), “Standing Tall” is a redemption-themed crime drama about a former policeman’s unofficial investigation of his son’s death.
Also in the mix is “Top Dog,” a standout at October’s Canneseries, which some thought unlucky not to score one of its prizes.
An increasingly gripping and nuanced character study of two 30-somethings looking for radical life change, the show follows heavy-in-debt Emily, a quirky business attorney who needs a big rise at her legal practice, and ex-con Teddy, yearning to get out of his hardscrabble neighborhood world of small time crime. “Top Dog” is produced by Banijay’s Filmlance, whose credits include the original “The Bridge” for Sweden’s TV4/C More and ZDF.
Further titles in the package take in “Sloborn,” a North Sea island-set coming-of-age drama and pandemic thriller produced by Syrreal Entertainment in co-production with ZDF, Tobis, Nordisk Film and ZDFE; FILM.UA’s “Hide and Seek,” billed as Ukraine’s first noir crime drama, and “Beyond Appearances,” a twin sister thriller set in a village on a wintery France-German border, from Belgium’s Kam&Ka, backed by France Televisions.
“We are delighted to secure an incredibly rich and varied slate of some extraordinary productions, from Italian psychological thrillers to German high concept mystery,” said Walter Presents partner Walter Iuzzolino.
Nearly all series in the deal turn in some way on crime, which is natural given crime drama’s popularity as an export. But they vary in tone, subject, setting and nationality, reflecting a broadness of ZDFE’s catalog that is necessary when selling to such a fragmented contemporary market, Robert Franke, VP ZDFE.drama, ZDF Enterprises, has said.