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PRODUCTION / FUNDING USA / France / Italy / Germany / Netherlands

Disney+ announces its first ten European original productions

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- The US streaming giant has greenlit the first slate of European productions, including projects for its international brand Star

Disney+ announces its first ten European original productions
Filmmaker Ferzan Ozpetek, who is attached to direct the Star original series The Ignorant Angels

Disney+ has announced its first ten European original productions, including projects for the new international brand Star, set for launch later this month. The new productions span the genres of drama, comedy and documentary, and will represent one-fifth of the streaming giant’s target of commissioning 50 new European projects by 2024. Specifically, this first round includes four projects from France, three from Italy, two from Germany and one from the Netherlands.

The first French project is entitled Oussekine. It is a four-part Star original mini-series examining the terrible true events of 5 December 1986, which led to the death of a young student, called Malik Oussekine. Centred on his family’s fight for justice, the series will explore the enormous impact that this high-profile case had on French society. The mini-series is created and directed by Antoine Chevrollier, and co-written by Faïza Guène, Julien Lilti and Cédric Ido. Parallels, created by Quoc Dang Tran and co-written by Anastasia Heinzl, will be a Disney+ original fantasy series following four teenagers, whose lives are turned upside down when a mysterious event propels them into parallel dimensions. They will do everything in their power to understand what happened and try to get back home. The series is being produced by Empreinte Digitale and Daïmôn Films. Meanwhile, Weekend Family promises to be a comedy that chronicles the life of a new stepfamily that meet up every weekend, produced by Groupe Elephant and created by Baptiste Filleul. The co-writers are Nour Bensalem, Géraldine de Margerie, Julie-Anna Grignon, Marion Carnel and Paul Madillo. The last French project is Soprano: Sing or Die, a Star documentary series offering exclusive access to one of France’s most popular recording artists as he and his crew get ready for a massive stadium tour in summer 2022. The series charts Soprano and his friends’ history from their humble beginnings in Marseilles to their present-day success.

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Italy’s most highly anticipated – and widely announced over the last few weeks – production will be the fourth season of Boris, the successful show-within-a-show, previously aired by Fox and FX, and now returning to Star. Initially set “behind the scenes” of a fictional, low-budget medical drama entitled Gli occhi del cuore (lit. “The Eyes of the Heart”), the new season reunites the original crew, led by director Renè Ferretti (played by popular Roman actor and voice-over artist Francesco Pannofino). Ferretti and his crew will find out that the world of television has changed: social media, influencers and various streaming platforms now dictate the law. On this occasion, Fremantle’s The Apartment division will produce. The second project is another Star original, entitled The Good Mothers. It is a mafia story told entirely from women’s perspectives, executive-produced by Juliette Howell and Tessa Ross for House Productions, and Mario Gianani and Lorenzo Gangarossa for Wildside, penned by Stephen Butchard and based on Alex Perry’s book of the same name. Finally, the third project, the Star original series The Ignorant Angels, will be helmed by Turkish-Italian director Ferzan Ozpetek. The drama, staged by R&C Productions, follows Antonia, who, after her husband is killed in a car accident, discovers that he had been having a same-sex affair with a man named Michele. The woman will find herself building an unexpected friendship with Michele and his circle of misfit eccentrics.

Next up, the first German production, the series Sam – A Saxon, will follow the real-life story of Samuel Meffire, East Germany’s first black police officer, and is being produced by Jörg Winger and Tyron Ricketts. The second is Sultan City, a dark comedy revolving around the respectable matriarch of a German-Turkish family who accidentally becomes the head of a criminal underworld. The film is being produced by Ayla Gottschlich and Aysel Yilmaz, whilst Ipek Zübert is serving as the head writer.

The slate is rounded off by the sole Dutch project – namely, the sports documentary Feyenoord Rotterdam. In this non-fiction project, produced by Lusus Media, the titular football team takes centre stage, flings open its doors and shows viewers what really happens off the pitch.

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