Michael Haneke to Create First TV Series With 'Kelvin's Book'

Fabrizio Maltese
Michael Haneke

The Austrian director of 'Amour' and 'The White Ribbon' is teaming with German group UFA Fiction on the English-language dystopian drama.

Michael Haneke — the award-winning director of Amour, The White Ribbon and Funny Games — is teaming up with Germany's UFA Fiction to create his first-ever television series.

Kelvin's Book is described as a high-concept dystopian drama set in a near future. The 10-part, English-language series will follow a group of young people who are forced to make an emergency landing outside of their home country and, for the first time, are confronted with the true face of their nation.

“After 10 TV-movies and 12 films, I wanted to tell a longer story for once,” Haneke said in a statement.

UFA Fiction, a division of production giant FremantleMedia, will produce the series, with UFA's Nico Hofmann and Benjamin Benedict serving as executive producers. Berlin-based UFA is one of Germany's top television shingles, with credits that include the Emmy-winning Deutschland '83.

Haneke is one of Europe's most acclaimed directors. He's won the Palme d'Or in Cannes twice, for The White Ribbon in 2009 (a project that began as a TV series) and for Amour in 2012 —the latter went on to take the 2013 Oscar for best foreign-language film. His work often depicts a bleak, dystopian vision of society, whether the present, as in his breakthrough drama Funny Games (1997); the past, as in The White Ribbon; or the future, with his post-apocalyptic Time of the Wolf (2003).

“No contemporary director has moved and inspired me more than Michael Haneke,” Nico Hofmann said in a statement. “Kelvin’s Book is an extraordinarily rich, gripping and ambitious story. With contemporary themes and a reflection of the digital age that we live in, there’s no better time for this project.”

For FremantleMedia, teaming up with Haneke is just the latest in a strategic shift towards high-end television drama. The company best known for American Idol has partnered with the likes of Italian auteur Paolo Sorrentino on HBO's The Young Pope and with acclaimed writer Neil Gaiman on Starz's  American Gods.

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