Munich, 24 March 2011. At this spring’s MIP TV in Cannes, Beta Film is showcasing international top series such as Tom Fontana’s event production Borgia, King with Amy Price-Francis (“24,” “Californication”) and the Mankell adaptation The Chinese Man. Also at the top of the line-up, which comprises 100 hours of new program, are the two RTL action films Kung-Fu Mom and The Secret of the Ark, as well as the TV movie Felipe and Letizia, the fairy-tale story of the love between the heir to the Spanish throne and a beautiful journalist – the perfect complementary programming for the Royal Wedding Year 2011.
Borgia (12 x 1h), whose nearly 25-million-euro budget makes it one of the priciest European TV series ever, is a family saga that embodies the spirit of the Renaissance, a period full of nearly inconceivable contradictions, with corruption, violence and intrigues on the one side, and an unparalleled cultural flowering and genuine reformation spirit on the other. Rodrigo Borgia, the later Pope Alexander VI, is played by John Doman (“The Wire”). Among the directors is Oliver Hirschbiegel (“Downfall”). Borgia is produced by Atlantique Productions, EOS Entertainment, Canal + and Etic in association with ZDF and ORF.
Amy Price-Francis is Jess King (first season 8 x 1h), the head of the Major Crimes Task Force, which steps in when the cops from the ordinary police force are stumped. Murder, rape, robbery, gang violence and serial crime – King sees things that everyone else misses, says what she thinks, and never stops thinking. The unconventional crime series produced for Canadian broadcaster Global/Showcase is an Indian Grove Production.
The two premium-quality action movies Kung-Fu Mom (90’) and The Secret of the Ark (100’) rank with budgets of € 4 and € 4,5 million among RTL’s highlights of the year. After a five-year leave, the attractive “stand-in” mother (Claudia Hiersche) of three orphans returns to her undercover job as a secret agent for the elite squad BSD, where she has to maneuver between kindergarten and Kalashnikov. Kung-Fu Mom was produced by Dreamtool for RTL. Spectacular locations ranging from the Mediterranean to the mountains of Anatolia, a top cast including Jean-Yves Berteloot (“Da Vinci Code”), Michael Gwisdek (“The Day I Was Not Born”) and Stephan Luca (“Rabbit With No Ears”) as well as exceptionally high-powered action scenes can all be found in The Secret of the Ark (all in production for RTL), in which the search for a medieval relict becomes a battle against a devastatingly lethal virus.
Henning Mankell, one of the world’s most successful authors, who has sold over 30 million books, wrote the novel on which The Chinese Man (2 x 90’) was based. Susanne von Borsody (“Run Lola, Run”) investigates a mass murder in a Swedish village with the support of her husband, played by Michael Nyqvist (Stieg Larsson’s “Millennium” Trilogy). The trace leads her to the other end of the world, to a dramatic showdown in Beijing. The Chinese Man (budget: € 6 million) was produced by Yellow Bird Pictures and Lotus Film for ARD Degeto.
At the center of the TV movie Felipe and Letizia (90’, Telecinco/Brutal Media) is the tender love story between the heir to the Spanish throne and the journalist Letizia Ortiz. At a dinner party in Madrid, one of Spain’s most prominent reporters, Letizia Ortíz, meets the man who will share her destiny: Felipe de Boubón, the heir to the Spanish throne. But even though Letizia falls in love with the good-looking prince, she doubts whether she is up to the challenges of a future queen. King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia strictly reject a divorced commoner as daughter-in-law. But Felipe is determined to marry her, even if he must renounce the throne to do so.
In God’s Mighty Servant (2 x 90’, Ziegler Film/EOS for ARD Degeto, buget: €7,5 million), the gates of the Vatican – a place where women are usually not allowed to live – open to Christine Neubauer (“Pius XII”) as Sister Pascalina. For 40 years, the nun from Altötting was at the side of the Papal Nuncio Eugenio Pacelli (Remo Girone, “Heaven”), the later Pope Pius XII, and accompanied him through the dark period as WWII tears Europe apart.
With no fewer than five Christmas films, Beta Film is preparing its international clients for the next holiday season. Miracle in Manhattan (90’), Christmas in Nowhere (90’) and Santa Suit (90’) were produced for the Hallmark Channel, and a Christmas special (90’) was shot for the long-running horse series Heartland (89x45’). The Claussen&Wöbke&Putz production Home for Holidays (90’) is about a meeting of East and West, in which things don’t always go according to plan.