27. March 2008

Beta brings North-American TV series to MIP TV


Munich, 27 March 2008. The international sales company Beta heads to this spring's TV market in Cannes with the North-American hit series The Border and Heartland. The company reported on Thursday that Beta acquired the continental European rights to these series from the U.K.'s Fireworks/Contentfilm and is offering them to buyers for the first time at MIP TV, which starts on 7 April. Both series are widely watched in North America on the Canadian broadcaster CBC, and a second season of each program is in production. Also in Beta’s portfolio is the RTL thriller Ten – Umbra Mortis with Tobias Moretti, the free adaptations of the Johannes Mario Simmel best-sellers The Caesar Code and The Phantom's Kiss, as well a line-up of twelve successful international feature films, including Martin Gypkens' Nothing But Ghosts and the hit children's detective thriller The Three Investigators
"The acquisition of the two North-American series is part of our strategy to offer international product of the highest quality," says Oliver Bachert of Beta. "The Border and Heartland rank among the highlights of our extensive series portfolio, which ranges from 'Rex-a cops best friend' and 'Baywatch' to 'Sabrina the teenage witch' and 'J.A.G.'" The Border (28 x one hour), the most successful and costliest Canadian series of all times, depicts the adventures of a special Toronto police unit that works hand in hand with the U.S. Homeland Security on a gigantic task: to protect the longest unsecured border in the world. They have to battle international terrorism as well as drug smuggling, illegal organ dealing and child abductions. Sofia Milos ("CSI Miami") plays the lead role in the series produced by White Pine for CBC. 
Heartland (31 x one hour) is the name of an idyllic horse ranch in the Rocky Mountains, where Amy, who has inherited the gift of a "horse whisperer," and her sister Lou heal traumatized horses. But the Heartland Ranch is in danger, for it is heavily in debt, and the tension between the sensitive Amy and the coolly calculating businesswoman Lou runs high. But thanks to her ability to heal troubled horses, Amy is able to save the ranch. The family entertainment series full of nature and animal scenes is produced by Seven24 Films and Dynamo Films for CBC and based on the books by Lauren Brooke, which have sold 6.5 million copies around the world. 
In Ten – Umbra Mortis (2 x 90'), a brutal serial killer creates panic in a metropolis. Inspired by the success of "Seven", screenwriter Don Bohlinger ("The Experiment") and director Urs Egger ("Opera Ball") put police inspector Thomas (Tobias Moretti, "Rex, the cop’s best friend") on the trace of the fanatic murderer, whose deeds have a horrifying and mystical connection to the Ten Commandments. In his dramatic hunt for the killer, Thomas often no longer knows whom he can trust. Also starring Steven Berkoff ("A Clockwork Orange") and Christoph Walz ("Dance with the Devil"). Ten – Umbra Mortis was produced by Lisa Film for RTL and ORF. 
With new adaptations of The Caesar Code and The Phantom's Kiss, Beta picks up two thrillers freely based on motifs of the bestseller author Johannes Mario Simmel. Moovie – the art of entertainment produced the ZDF tv-movies with Dennenesch Zoudé, Heino Ferch, Iris Berben and Peter Simonischek in the lead roles. Carlo Rola directs. In The Caesar Code, the Argentinean Manuel wants to clear up the mysterious murder of his father. In his search, he suddenly lands in the crosshairs of international secret services, who suspect that he has a formula for a weapon of mass destruction. The Phantom's Kiss relates the story of the war reporter Paul, whose girlfriend suddenly disappears. Everything points to murder – until Paul's investigations suggest a completely different direction. 
Beta, the world sales company of the 2007 and 2008 Academy Award winners "The Lives of Others" and "The Counterfeiters," brings big cinema to the small screen a dozen times this spring at MIP TV. They include Berlinale competition films such as the British-German coming-of-age production 32A as well as Martin Walz' Melodies of Spring and the Swiss comedy Tell. In the documentary section, Beta presents to international buyers in Cannes the Grimme-Award-nominated NDR production Shattering Silence about the main shareholders of BMW, one of Germany's wealthiest families.