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Josh Hartnett Starrer ‘The Fear Index,’ ‘False Flag’ S3 to Screen at Berlinale Series Market Selects

The Fear Index
Credit: Sky UK Limited

“The Fear Index,” starring Josh Hartnett, and the third season of iconic Israeli series “False Flag” will both screen at the Berlinale Series Market Selects, whose lineup was unveiled Tuesday.

The latest from “The Crown” producers Left Bank Pictures, Sky Original “The Fear Index” is billed as a fast-paced, gripping Frankenstein-style parable on the dangers of AI. Based on the Robert Harris novel of the same title, its international sales will be handled by NBCUniversal Global Distribution.

Sold by Keshet International, “False Flag” is one of milestone titles that turned Israel’s series into a global brand, with Fox International taking the world on season one at 2015’s Mipcom in its first global acquisition of a foreign-language series.

Season three marks the return of the original series creators, Maria Feldman (“Fauda,” “No Man’s Land”), Leora Kamenetzky (“Fauda”) and Amit Cohen (“No Man’s Land, “Valley of Tears”), in a tale which looks set to weave the same web of distrust, deception and sudden twists as the first two seasons.

The Berlin Series Market conference program will open with a session, Mission Europe: How Local Markets Muscle Up, co-hosted by the Film-und Medienstiftung NRW, which will drill down on varying perspectives of streamers, local TV stations as well as producers regarding European streaming business strategies.

Panels include a conversation with The Mediapro Studio’s Daniel Burman, a showrunner on buzzed-up Argentine espionage thriller “Yosi, the Regretful Spy,” which opens this year’s Berlinale Series, part of the Festival lineup.

Denmark’s Lone Scherfig (“An Education,” “Their Finest”), whose maternity ward-set “The Shift” plays in Berlinale Series, will be the subject of a second Film to Series conversation looking at her career path from film director to series-maker.

The BSM conference strand also takes in a talk-series entitled “When the Power Shifts – A New Era for Producers?” – co-hosted by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg – focused on the ever more vocal demand for investment commitments in local markets by major streaming services, and a panel, “Shaping a New Market – African Female Talent”.

In a first-time panel tie-up, The Berlinale Series Market will team with Series Mania for a two-part talk series on whether and how talents individuals with disabilities are represented and included in the series industry.

Praised by EFM director Dennis Ruh for its “very international, varied selection this year,” 2022’s Berlinale Series Market Selects strand does nothing to disprove claims that, beyond the ever reliable Scandinavia, some of the most intriguing upscale drama in Europe these days is now being made on its far edges, whether Eastern Europe or Portugal, as leading local companies – Firefly, Drugi Plan, SPi – battle to fire up international premium series production in their territories.

2022 Berlinale Market Series Selects Lineup:

“Black Wedding,” (“Crna Svadba,” Serbia)

Creators: Nemanja Ćipranić, Strahinja Madžarević

Showrunner: Ivana Mikovic

Director: Nemanja Ćipranić

Cast: Uliks Fehmiu, Jelena Djokic, Nikola Kojo

Production company: Firefly Productions

Broadcasters: Superstar TV, Radio Television of Serbia

World Sales: Firefly International

Investigating a bloody massacre in Eastern Serbia, intelligence agency operative Petar becomes entangled in the ancient conflict between forces of good and evil. Reportedly insane, very brutal and most certainly a series to track.

“Diana Boss,” (France)

Creator: Marion Seclin

Showrunners: Marion Seclin, Niels Rahou

Director: Niels Rahou

Cast: Moon A, Tokou, Ilan Bergala

Production company: La Belle Télé

Broadcaster: France TV Slash

World Sales: France TV Distribution

The latest from actress-director Seclin and a fun TV Slash highlight turning on Malika, a law firm intern by day and rapper Diana Boss by night, in both roles battling injustice,

“Divided We Stand,” (“ZERV,” Germany)

Producers: Gabriela Sperl, Quirin Berg, Max Wiedemann, Miriam Klein (EP)

Writers: Jens Köster, Kim Zimmermann, Gabriela Sperl, Michael Klette

Director: Dustin Loose with Nadja Uhl, Fabian Hinrichs, Max Hubacher

Production companies: Gabriela Sperl Produktion for W&B Television in collaboration with Wilma Film for ARD, MDR and ARD Degeto for Das Erste

Broadcaster: ARD, MDR, Das Erste

World Sales: Beta Film

From acclaimed German producer Sperl (“Flight,” “Wirecard – The Billion Euro Lie”) and German heavyweight W&B (“The Lives of Others”), a crime thriller set in 1991 about two agents from Germany’s Central Investigative Agency, one from the East, another the West, investigating cross-border criminal conspiracy.

“False Flag,” Season 3 (“Kfulim,” Season 3, Israel)

Creators: Maria Feldman, Leora Kamenetzky, Amit Cohen

Director: Oded Raz

Cast: Miki Leon, Tali Sharon, Lena Fraifeld

Production company: Spiro Films

Broadcaster: Keshet 12

World Sales: Keshet International

Following a suspected chemical attack at a party for an Israeli high-tech company in Cyprus, Eitan Koppel flies there to investigate. Sophisticated software quickly identifies three suspects who all have something to hide, but can the data be trusted?

“The Fear Index,” (U.K.)

Writers: Paul Andrew Williams, Caroline Bartleet

Director: David Caffrey

Cast: Josh Hartnett, Arsher Ali, Leila Farzad

Production companies: Left Bank Pictures in association with Sky Studios

Broadcaster: Sky World

Sales: NBCUniversal Global Distribution

One of the biggest commercial plays in the whole selection,  with “Penny Dreadful” actor Josh Hartnett starring in Sky original thriller series and anti-AI parable “The Fear Index,” based on the bestselling novel by Robert Harris (“Fatherland”).

“Fredløs,” (Denmark)

Creators: Malthe Jagd Miehe-Renard, Babak Vakili

Director: Laurits Flensted-Jensen

Cast: Besir Zeciri, Maria Cordsen, Afshin Firouzi

Production companies: Strong Productions, Splay One

Broadcaster: DR

World Sales: DR Sales

Mohammed’s life goes into a downward spiral after he’s remanded in custody for armed robbery. From Fremantle’s Strong Productions, with a reportedly tremendous performance by lead Zeciri.

“Identification,” (“Identifikaciya,” Russia

Creators: Vladlena Sandu, Nikita Ikonnikov

Showrunners: Valeriy Fedorovich, Evgeniy Nikishov

Director: Vladlena Sandu

Cast: Lena Tronina, Polina Kutepova, Roman Vasilev

Production company: 1-2-3 Production

Broadcaster: Premier

World Sales: 1-2-3 Production

Valeria, an orphaned girl who has converted to Islam and lives in a local immigrant community, becomes the main suspect in a murder at her own wedding.

“Harmonica,” (Sweden)

Creators: Josephine Bornebusch, Jonas Karlsson

Director: Bornebusch

Cast: Bornebusch, Karlsson, Eric Ericson

Production company: Warner Bros. International Television Production Sweden

Broadcaster: Viaplay

World Sales: Nordic Entertainment Group

A buzzed-up title from high-flying Warner Bros. in Sweden and Bornebush, creator of Viaplay smash hit “Love Me.” “Harmonica” tracks Bornesbush and Karlsson as a once huge “Abba”-ish act and couple which played huge stadiums. 16 years later, their marriage on the rocks, they’re forced to make a comeback nostalgia tour.

“Oh Hell,” (Germany)

Creator:  Johannes Boss

Showrunner: Simon Ostermann

Directors: Simon Ostermann, Lisa Miller

Cast:  Mala Emde, Edin Hasanovic, Salka Weber

Production company: Good Friends Filmproduktions GmbH

Broadcaster: Magenta TV, Warner TV Comedy

World Sales: Warner TV International

Emde (“My Daughter, Anne Frank”) plays Helene, 24, a soulful dreamer whose real life is a bathetic mess, until she meets a man who seems to understand her. Made for Deutsche Telekom’s Magenta TV and Warner TV Comedy, a quirky comedy from Beta Film’s Good Friends Filmproduktion, which scored with groundbreaking TNT series“Arthur’s Law.”

“Recipes for Love and Murder,” (South Africa)

Creators: Karen Jeynes, based on a novel by Sally Andrew

Showrunner: Thierry Cassuto

Directors: Christiaan Olwagen, Karen Jeynes

Cast: Maria Doyle Kennedy, Tony Kgoroge, Kylie Fisher

Production company: Both Worlds Pictures

Broadcaster: MNET, Acorn TV

World Sales: Global Screen

A serial murder mystery set in a small town in South Africa Karoo region, from South African network M-Net, AMC-owned streamer Acorn TV, Cape Town’s Both Worlds Pictures and German sales company Global Screen

“The Silence,” (“Šutnja,” Croatia, Ukraine)

Creators: Marjan Alcevski, Miodrag Sila, Nebojsa Taraba, Dalibor Matanić

Showrunners: Miodrag Sila, Nebojsa Taraba

Director: Dalibor Matanić

Cast: Seniya Mishina, Goran Bogdan, Darko Milas

Production companies: Drugi Plan and HRT in co-production with Beta Film, Star Media, OLL.TV and ZDF/ARTE

Broadcaster: HRT, OLL.TV

World Sales: Beta Film

Lead produced by Croatia’s Drugi Plan, behind HBO Europe’s hit first HBO Adria original “Success,” a slice of Eastern European Noir with a detective and a reporter uncovering an underage human trafficking network.

 

“Storm Lara,”(Belgium)

Creator: Daan Gielis

Director: Kadir Ferati Balci

Cast: Ella Leyers, Wouter Hendrickx, Anemone Valcke

Production company: A Private View

Broadcaster: Streamz World

Sales: Keshet International

Radio presenter Lara is caught in a game of cat-and-mouse with a caller ton her program who threatens to commit suicide. Created by Gielis whose debut feature “La Holandesa” screened at the Toronto Festival.

“Trom,” (Denmark, Faroe Islands)

Creator: Torfinnur Jákupsson

Showrunner: Torfinnur Jákupsson

Director: Kasper Barfoed, Davið Óskar Ólafsson, Peter Ahlén (co-director)

Cast: Ulrich Thomsen, Maria Rich, Olaf Johannessen

Production companies: REinvent Studios, KYK Pictures

Broadcaster: Viaplay, DR

World Sales: REinvent International Sales

One of the most anticipated Scandinavian plays of the year, a crime series set on the spectacular volcanic Faroe Islands, starring Ulrich Thomsen (“The New Pope”), backed by Viaplay, ZDF and Arte, and produced and sold by REinvent Studios.

“Vanda,” (Portugal)

Creator: Patricia Müller

Writers: Patricia Müller, Carmen Jimenez

Director: Simão Cayatte

with Gabriela Barros, João Baptista, Joana de Verona

Production companies: SPi, S.A.; Legendary Television; La Panda Productions

Broadcaster: OPTO SIC (Portugal)

World Sales: Legendary Television

Produced by go-ahead Portuguese outfit SPi, behind Netflix’s first Portuguese original series “Gloria,” and co-producer on “Dry Water,” and made in co-production with Legendary Pictures. Based on the true story of a woman who, alone, broke and with two children, takes to robbing banks with a blonde wig and toy gun.

“A Woman’s Fate,” (Brazil)

Creators: Adriana Falcão, Jô Abdu, Martha Mendonça, Nelito Fernandes

Director: Leonardo Nogueira

Cast: Renata Sorrah, Giovanna Antonelli, Vanessa Giácomo

Production company: Globo

Broadcaster: Globoplay

World Sales: Globo

Tracing a clear through line with banner Globo titles from “Aruanas” to “A Mother’s Love,” a 12-episode series featuring three women who finally take control over their lives.