The Walt Disney Company EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) has announced a slate of ten European originals from four countries for Disney+.
As local productions are becoming increasingly important in filmed entertainment — given viewing preferences amongst audiences and countries enacting laws requiring international streaming services to produce local content — entertainment companies are stepping up their efforts to meet the demands.
Disney recently announced its ambitious objective of commissioning 50 productions in Europe by 2024, of which the first ten — from France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands — are set for Disney+ under the Disney and Star brands, the latter being the company’s new general entertainment brand that is launching next week.
The new Euro TV commissions are as follows:
Produced by Lusus Media, Feyenoord Rotterdam is a sports documentary about the much-loved eponymous football club, which has opened its doors to reveal what really happens off the pitch.
A Star Original series, Oussekine is a four-part historical drama that examines the true events of December 5, 1986, that led to the death of a young student, Malik Oussekine. Centered on his family’s fight for justice, the miniseries will explore the enormous impact this high-profile case had on French society. Oussekine is created and directed by Antoine Chevrollier (Baron Noir, The Bureau) and co-written by Faïza Guène (Midnight Sun), Julien Lilti (Family Business), and Cédric Ido (Chateau).
A Disney+ Original fantasy series, Parallels follows four teenagers, whose lives are turned upside down when a mysterious event propels them into parallel dimensions, and who then do everything to understand what happened and try to get back home. Created by Quoc Dang Tran (Marianne, Nox) and co-written by Anastasia Heinzl (Beyond Appearances), the series is produced by Raphaël Rocher and Eric Laroche for Empreinte Digitale and Quoc Dang Tran for Daïmôn Films.
Soprano: Sing or Die
Soprano: Sing or Die, a Star Original documentary series, will offer unique and 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.
Weekend Family, a Disney+ Original, is a comedy that chronicles the life of a new step-family that meets every weekend. But when the father gets into a relationship with a new partner, weekends take a whole new turn. Created by Baptiste Filleul (The Forest), the series is written by Nour Bensalem (Fragile), Géraldine de Margerie (Call My Agent!), Julie-Anna Grignon (Art of Crime), Marion Carnel (Balthazar), and Paul Madillo (Skam France). The series is produced by by Groupe Elephant.
Sam – A Saxon
Biopic drama Sam – A Saxon, a Star Original for Disney+, tells the real-life story of Samuel Meffire, the first black police officer in East Germany. The series shows how Meffire became a media sensation and a symbol of modern society in the post-reunification 1990s. But just a few years later, he ended up behind bars himself, as an enemy of the state. The series, from Big Window Productions, is produced by International Emmy® Awards winner Jörg Winger (Deutschland 83) and Tyron Ricketts.
From up-and-coming producers Ayla Gottschlich and Aysel Yilmaz and head writer Ipek Zübert (We Are the Wave) comes Sultan City, a dark comedy series that follows the respectable matriarch of a German-Turkish family who accidentally becomes the head of a criminal underworld — and discovers that she and her daughters have a talent for the business. Sultan City is a Star Original for Disney+.
The comedy series Boris, a fan-favorite show with three seasons and a movie and a show-within-a-show format, is returning to telly. Originally set behind the scenes of the fictional low-budget drama series The Eyes of the Heart, the brand new season, a Star Original for Disney+ produced by The Apartment, reunites the original crew, who soon discover the world of television has changed. How will our protagonists fare in this new world, where social media, influencers, and streaming platforms dictate the law?
The Good Mothers
Written by BAFTA Award winner Stephen Butchard (Baghdad Central), and based on the Edgar® Award-nominated book of the same name by Foreign Press Association award-winning journalist Alex Perry, The Good Mothers follows the true story of three women who were born into the ’Ndrangheta, the deadliest and wealthiest of the Italian mafia clans, and how they worked with a courageous female prosecutor to bring it down — all while fighting their own families for the right to survive and to build a new future for their children. The series, a Star Original for Disney+, is executive produced by Juliette Howell and Tessa Ross for House Productions and Mario Gianani and Lorenzo Gangarossa for Wildside.
The Ignorant Angels
Inspired by the Italian box office hit His Secret Life (Le Fate Ignoranti), The Ignorant Angels is a romantic drama series from Turkish-Italian director Ferzan Ozpetek (Loose Cannons). When Antonia’s husband Massimo is killed in a car accident, she discovers that he has been having a same-sex affair with a man named Michele. She’s devastated at the news, but the straight-laced Antonia finds herself building an unexpected and moving friendship with Michele and his circle of misfit eccentrics. A Star Original for Disney+, the series is produced by R&C Productions.
With content geared toward adults within Disney’s family-friendly universe, Star will launch in Canada, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore on February 23. In these geographies it will reside inside the Disney+ app — now at 95 million subscribers — as a general entertainment brand alongside the Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars/Lucasfilm, and National Geographic content hubs. (In Latin America, it will launch in June as a standalone streaming service called Star+.)
Star will expand to more territories later this year, although the United States will not be one of them, as Hulu is Disney’s general interest brand and streaming service here. So will Star’s Euro TV programs be shown to stateside audiences on Hulu? It is quite possible. Said Diego Londono, EVP, Media Networks and Content, The Walt Disney Company EMEA: “Our commissioning strategy showcases our commitment to producing world-class original content, tailored to local markets but with the creative ambition to appeal to audiences across the globe…”
Stay tuned for updates.
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