Lionsgate Takes Croatian Crime Format 'Rest in Peace'

The series, about a young journalist and a retired prison guard who investigate crimes from the country's past, is the first-ever Croatian drama sold to the U.S.

Lionsgate has picked up the remake rights to Rest in Peace, a crime procedural from Croatia, marking the first time a Croatian format has sold to a major North American production company.

Originally produced by Ring Multimedia for local public broadcaster HRT, Rest in Peace stars Judita Frankovic (Sonja and the Bull) as a young journalist who teams up with a retired prison guard (veteran actor Miodrag Krivokapic) to investigate the secrets buried in a prison cemetery. The show has garnered critical acclaim for its examination of Croatia's troubled past -- including during the Yugoslav war and under communist dictatorship.

Ring owner Dario Vince created the series based on an idea from Koraljka Mestrovic and Goran Rukavina.

The first 12-episode season of Rest in Peace attracted attention last year at the Seoul International Drama Awards, where it was part of the official competition.

Ring is currently in negotiations for a second season of the show on HRT. A U.S. version is not expected before 2015, an HRT spokesperson said. Swedish sales group Eccho Rights is handling international sales on the original series.