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Wim Wenders, David Byrne-Directed Series ‘This Is Music’ Taps Road Movies as German Partner (EXCLUSIVE)

Joachim Trier, Wim Wenders, Julie Andem
Credit/Courtesy: Rob Latour/Variety/Michael Buckner/Deadline/Daniel McStay/David Byrne

Wim Wenders’ Berlin-based Road Movies has boarded “This Is Music,” a series whose episode directors – New German Cinema leading light Wenders, singer-songwriter David Byrne, “Skam” creator Julie Andem and “Louder Than Bombs” director Joachim Trier – make the title the highest profile project at this year’s Berlinale Co-Pro Series.

Norwegian public broadcaster NRK is backing the development of the series, which has also received support from the Norwegian Film Institute and the E.U.’s Creative Europe program.

“This Is Music” marks one of the first recent drama series from Road Movies, producer of legendary film features from Wenders, such as 1984 Cannes Palme d’Or winner “Paris, Texas.” It is also the debut series of Oslo Pictures, which originated the project and is company behind Cannes Un Certain Regard Prize winner “Rams” and Trier’s upcoming “The Worst Person in the World.” The series is created and written by Bjørn Olaf Johannessen, who penned Wenders’ 2005 movie “Every Thing Will Be Fine.”

Rather than mythologizing music and musicians, “This Is Music” is a thematic anthology that asks what music really is and why we have it. An anthology series, it plumbs the mysterious phenomenon of music through “highly diverse dramatic episodes,” each by a “name director with their own characteristic approach,” a synopsis runs.

The series’ predominant genre is drama, often laced by dark comedy. It will include an occasional essay or documentary segment, its makers said.

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Bjørn Olaf Johannessen Credit: Jacob Johannessen Maske

There’s a “longtime and trusting work-relationship between Bjørn-Olaf Johannessen, who connected us to the project, and Wim Wenders,” said Léa Germain, Road Movies producer and head of development.

Wenders is a renowned music enthusiast and so Road Movies has a history of music documentaries and films, from “Buena Vista Social Club” to “The Blues” film series, she added.

Also, Germain added, “We really liked the idea of a series concept playfully blurring the line between (science-) fiction and documentary: Each episode seemingly presents a possible scientific explanation on an aspect of music. BUT actually the stories are mostly totally fictional, funny, poetical… because the fascinating thing about music IS its magical character!”

Johannessen has written several screenplays and outlines for all episodes. Oslo Pictures and Road Movies plan to shoot from Spring 2022 in New York, Berlin, London, Rome, Stockholm, Oslo and several other locations with episodes spoken in multiple languages, though predominantly English.

Oslo Pictures’ financing plans take in getting as many TV channels and/or a streaming company onboard, in addition to sourcing European funds, said Robsahm, who is the series producer with Wenders serving as its executive producer.