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Berlinale Series, the television industry event that runs alongside Berlin’s International Film Festival, has unveiled its 2021 lineup, highlighting some of the world’s best new small-screen drama.
The six titles picked for Berlinale Series 2021 include new work from Doctor Who and Years and Years writer Russell T Davies, a brutal Argentinian drama set among the gangs and corrupt police of Buenos Aires, and a documentary series from the Oscar-nominated producers of Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Davies’ critically-acclaimed new series It’s a Sin, which looks at the lives of a group of queer young men living in London at the start of the AIDS crisis, is arguably the highest-profile title at year’s Berlinale Series. The 5-part-drama, which airs on Channel 4 in the U.K. and HBO Max stateside, features Olly Alexander, Nathaniel Curtis, Omari Douglas, Lydia West, Shaun Dooley and Keeley Hawes with supporting roles for Stephen Fry and Neil Patrick Harris.
Philly D.A., the first documentary series to feature at the Berlinale event, was co-directed by Yoni Brook and Ted Passon and looks at the election, and tumultuous first term, of Philadelphia’s District Attorney Larry Krasner, who came to office in 2017 promising to upend the criminal justice system. It counts Southern Wild‘s Josh Penn and Michael Gottwald among its producers. Philly D.A. will have its world premiere at Sundance next week.
Amongst Men, HBO’s second series in the 2021 lineup, is from Argentina. Director Pablo Fendrik depicts a brutal underground world of gangs and corrupt authorities, set in the mid-1990s.
Acclaimed Austrian writer/director David Schalko (Braunschalg) returns to Berlinale Series this year with his latest satire, Ich und die Anderen (Me and the Others), which features a who’s who of German acting talent, including Tom Schilling, Sophie Rois, Lars Eidinger, Katharina Schüttler and Martin Wuttke. Sky will air the series in Germany and Austria.
Wrapping up the official Berlinale Series lineup are Snow Angels, a Scandinavian crime drama from Sweden’s SVT and DR in Denmark, which follows the case of a five-week-old baby who disappears at Christmastime, and The Last Days of Gilda, a dramedy from Canal Brasil starring Karine Teles (Bacurau) as an independent woman, cook and amateur butcher whose defiant freedom offends the sensibilities of her more conservative neighbors.
Organizers also announced this year’s lineup for the Berlinale Co-Production market, which brings together producers workng on in-development series with potential financiers and networks.
Among the highlights of the 10 projects picked for the 2021 market are 58 Seconds, a frontline drama about medical humanitarian relief agency workers, from the creators of the long-running British series Casualty; the Cold War spy drama Balaton Brigade from Hungary, which has Berlinale Golden Bear winner Ildikó Enyedi (On Body and Soul) directing; and Until I Find You, an adaptation of the John Irving novel, being set up as a Canadian-Dutch co-production.
The Berlinale Series, which due to the coronavirus pandemic will run online-only, is set to take place from March 2-5. The series will also include a virtual conference program and market screenings of curated new shows from around the world, including new dramas from Australia (ABC’s Aftertaste), Russia (TV3’s Dreams of Alice) and Spain (Moviestar+’s Alive and Kicking).
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