30. September 2009

Beta Film puts focus on events: five new miniseries at MipCom in Cannes

Munich, 30 September. Beta Film is putting the accent on events this fall and heading to the industry trade fair MipCom in Cannes with five outstanding miniseries, from the sumptuous Sisi remake to this year's most successful Spanish mini-series The Punishment/El Castigo. Also among the highlights of the catalogue, which features 160 new hours of program, are seven long-running series with ongoing seasons and two new English language series, Sea Patrol and Republic of Doyle.

Xaver Schwarzenberger's Sisi (2x90') infuses new life into the myth of the undoubtedly most famous Austrian woman of all times. The two-part miniseries starring Cristiana Capotondi ("Young Casanova"), Martina Gedeck ("The Lives of Others") and Fritz Karl ("The Crown Prince")  is a production of superlatives. It was shot with a budget of 11 million euros at historical locations such as Vienna's Hofburg, the Schönbrunn palace and its gardens as well as the Lido and streets of Venice. The shooting required 100 horses and 20 coaches, including the four-ton golden wedding coach of Franz and Sisi, an original six-horse carriage of 1740. Among the nearly 700 costumes are 40 specially tailored dresses for the Empress. Produced by Sunset Austria, EOS and Publispei, Sisi will be aired in Germany (ZDF), Austria (ORF) and Italy (RAI).

From Spain comes the thriller El Castigo/The Punishment (2x90') about a group of teens who band together in order to flee a sadistic reeducation camp in the Pyrenees. The miniseries stars young new actors and reached a broad primetime audience (27 percent market share), making it the most successful Spanish miniseries of the year. The production by Jorge Sánchez Gallo for Antena 3 has been presold to the French broadcaster M6.

Also in Beta Film's sales catalogue is the miniseries Wolves of Berlin, which won three German TV Awards as well as the Golden Nymph as best miniseries in Monte Carlo. The production tells the story of a group of young people who come together in post-war Berlin, grow apart at the time of the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, and reunite at the fall of the Wall in 1989. Wolves of Berlin (3x90') is a production of Ziegler Film for ZDF.

Currently in production is God's Mighty Servant (2x90'), the first joint production of Ziegler Film and EOS. German TV star Christine Neubauer portrays the nun Sister Pascalina, who works as the housekeeper of Nuncio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, played by Remo Girone ("The Octopus"). She goes to Rome with him and gains great influence as his assistant and as the sole woman in the Vatican, but also arouses the hostility of many important clerics. Director is Markus O. Rosenmüller ("Heisse Spur") for ARD Degeto.

Saint Augustine (2x90') from director Christian Duguay ("The Art of War") relates the story of the holy 5th-century Church father and philosopher, starring Franco Nero ("The Crusaders") and Katy Saunders ("Sisi") in the lead roles. The production of Lux Vide, Tellux and EOS was given its exclusive world premiere screening in September for Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican.

Regarding series, Beta Film presents ongoing seasons of seven long running productions: From Europe there are new episodes of Rex, A Cop's Best Friend (11. season), The Rheinbergs (2. season), Romanzo Criminale (2. season), Déjà Vu (2. season) and Homicide Hills (2. season) as well as new third seasons of the Canadian series Border and Heartland.

The action series Border from Canada's CBC about the dramatic adventures of a special airport police squad in Toronto has been sold to 21 countries in Europe, including Germany, France, Italy and Scandinavia. The teen series Heartland about two sisters who run a horse ranch in the Rocky Mountains is also one of Beta's successful series and is currently airing in eleven European countries, including Germany (Vox).

Brand new in the catalogue is the Australian action series Sea Patrol (55x45') with David Lyons ("Emergency Room") about a coast-guard patrol on a dangerous hunt for smugglers, human traffickers and ecological criminals. The series, whose fourth season is currently being shot, is one of the most successful productions on Australian TV and scores higher ratings there than renowned US series such as "Desperate Housewives." Sea Patrol is produced by Nine Film & TV Pty.

In addition, Beta presents the major new CBC series Republic of Doyle, one of the most high-budget television series ever produced in Canada. Republic of Doyle (12x52') created by and starring Newfoundland native Allan Hawco ("Trojan Horse") combines classical crime stories like "Rockford Files" with the modern comedic, edgy style of "Californication". Father (award-winning Irish actor Sean McGinley, "Richard Attenborough's Closing the Ring") and son (Allan Hawco) run together a detective agency in St. John's, Newfoundland, each in his very own way, which leads to a great deal of relationship turmoil. Also starring are Lynda Boyd ("Robson Arms") and Krystin Pellerin ("The Tudors"). Beta Film handles certain Continental European rights. 

For further information and photos:

Beta Film Presse, Dorothee Stoewahse,,