In an effort to discover and support a next-generation of voices in front of and behind the camera, the BBC is embarking on a series of initiatives including training programs and an LGBT project curated by Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss. Queers has been written by a group of up-and-upcoming LGBT writers for BBC Four. There are eight 15-minute monologues (penned by Keith Jarrett, Jon Bradfield, Gareth McLean, Matthew Baldwin, Michael Dennis, Jackie Clune, Brian Fillis and Gatiss) which chart a century of the UK gay experience. Queers is produced in partnership with The Old Vic theater which will stage all of the monologues in July, ahead of broadcast. Highlights of other new BBC initiatives include The Felix Dexter Bursary, a BBC Comedy training program for writers from BAME backgrounds; the BBC Documentary Directors’ Initiative under which six new filmmakers are given the opportunity to produce their first long-form docs; the Disabled Presenter Development program in factual, daytime, sport and live events; and Class Act, a nationwide search for new disabled acting talent which will provide an intensive skills training program for 30 actors.
Paramount Television and Anonymous Content’s Berlin Station have closed a number of key European sales. The contemporary spy drama will now be available in Italy via on-demand platform TIMvision; HBO in the Nordic regions; and HBO España in Spain. Additionally, the series has been chosen to participate in the eighth edition of Series Mania Festival’s U.S. selection, which takes place in Paris from April 12-23. Berlin Station was recently renewed for a 10-episode second season, which begins shooting in Berlin on March 31 and welcomes Ashley Judd and Keke Palmer as new series regulars. The story follows the activity of a CIA office on a global stage in the midst of an investigation into a now-famous whistleblower.
Stockholm-based Dramacorp is co-developing Rare, a high-concept sci-fi series with Beta Film’s French production house Isolani Pictures. The project marks the first co-production between the two Beta Film joint ventures. Written by Alex Haridi (Real Humans) and directed by Thierry Poiraud (Zone Blanche) the eight-part series is set in a not-too-distant, parallel future, when Earth is running out of oxygen. To secure humanity, the healthiest people are cryogenically frozen for two centuries under a government program while main character Hannah and the rest of the non-eligible do their best to survive in a world without hope or help. Executive producers are Dramacorp’s Patrick Nebout (Midnight Sun) and Mia Sohlman (Blue Eyes); and Isolani Pictures’ Alexandre Richardot and Daniel J Cottinn.
Bravo has picked up Canadian rights to The Handmaid’s Tale, a television adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel starring Elisabeth Moss, from MGM Television. Joseph Fiennes, Samira Wiley and Max Minghella also star in the story set in Gilead, a totalitarian society in what was formerly part of the U.S. Facing environmental disasters and a plunging birth rate, Gilead is ruled by a twisted fundamentalist regime that treats women as property of the state and Offred (Moss), a handmaid, is one of the few remaining fertile women left. The 10-episode first season will air on Bravo in Canada on Sundays from April 30. The entire first season launches on CraveTV this spring. It’s created, exec produced and written by Bruce Miller and exec produced by Warren Littlefield, Daniel Wilson, Fran Sears and Ilene Chaiken. Reed Morano directs and exec produces the first three episodes. MGM Television produces and handles international sales for the series.
Roland Emmerich has been awarded the Carl Laemmle Producers Award, a new award honoring German producers in Germany. The Hollywood titan, who has produced a raft of blockbusters including The Day After Tomorrow, 10,000 B.C. and White House Down, was recognized for his life’s work to date at a ceremony in Laupheim, Germany last week in front of 500 guests, including international film and television stars. It was awarded by the German Producers Alliance – Film & Television and the City of Laupheim, honoring Emmerich as an outstanding producer. The award, named after film pioneer and Hollywood trailblazer Laemmle, included a prize of 40,000 euros. Constantin Film head and Producers Alliance board member Martin Moszkowicz, who chaired the jury, said that Emmerich was “a visionary whose creativity and unmistakable style has lastingly shaped the cinema” who “dared to take a leap from Germany to Hollywood.”