HBO Europe has greenlit Swedish original drama Beartown, an adaptation of Fredrik Backman’s novel of the same name, to be directed by Peter Grönlund (Goliath). Series will be produced by Filmlance International, which is part of Endemol Shine Group. The five-part one-hour series, written by Anders Weidemann, Antonia Pyk and Linn Gottfridsson, will star Ulf Stenberg and Aliette Opheim. The story follows the goings on in the small town of Beartown, which is slowly losing ground to the ever-encroaching trees surrounding it, but with the junior ice-hockey team having a shot at winning the national semi-finals, all the dreams of the town rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys. It’s heavy burden that becomes the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil.
Mark Young has been appointed chairman of Synchronicity Films. Effective immediately, Young, who had recently acted as a consultant and non-executive director for the UK scripted production company, also becomes a full director. Prior to his period acting as a consultant and non-executive for Synchronicity, he was SVP global entertainment distribution and acquisitions for IMG Media, from 2007-2015. Before that he spent more than a decade at BBC Worldwide, where he was a main board director, as well as managing director of global TV sales. In his new role, he will work closely with Claire Mundell, Synchronicity’s founder and creative director. Recent titles for the firm include mini-series The Cry and feature Only You (pictured). The firm has also extended its first look deal with distribution group DRG.
Beta Film and Deutsche Telekom have struck a strategic partnership to help boost the number of European series on Telekom’s Magenta TV. The long-term agreement will allow the platform to draw from Beta’s catalogue of high-end European programming with first shows including Italian series Il Cacciatore (The Hunter), Eastern European drama Wasteland and the Spanish series Cocaine Coast. Beta Film’s Managing Director Moritz von Kruedener said, “Deutsche Telekom has realized European high-end series to be an essential part of a successful platform strategy. Often, these programs connect more with the viewer than American series do, in a sense that they hit closer to home. Beta is an important player in the development, production and distribution of European series. It makes a lot of sense to establish this partnership and support Telekom in their European strategy.”