Disney + has unveiled its first panel of 10 European originals, including drama, comedy, sci-fi and documentary projects from France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.
It has green-lit projects by creators and producers, including Juliette Howell, Stephen Butchard, Quoc Dang Tran and Jörg Winger, and includes the first titles of the new entertainment brand Star, which will appear on the streaming platform on February 23rd.
The move came after the studio announced in December that it would order 50 productions in Europe by 2024. The UK title has yet to be revealed, but Disney said it had “a number of additional projects in development”.
France leads in a package with four commissions, including two Disney + Originals and two Star Originals (Star leans towards an adult audience).
They include Parallels for Disney +, a fantastic series that follows four teenagers, whose lives are turned upside down when a mysterious event moves them into parallel dimensions. It was created by Quoc Dang Tran, whose French horror series Marianne streamed on Netflix, and co-signed by Anastasia Heinzl. It’s also for Disney + Family weekend, a comedy that follows the life of a new family that gathers every weekend. It was created by Baptiste Filleul and produced by Groupe Elephant.
A four-part miniseries Oussekine is for Star and investigates the true events of December 5, 1986 that led to the death of young student Malik Oussekine and the impact the case had on French society. Oussekine created and directed by Antoine Chevrollier. It’s for Star too Soprano: Sing or Die, a documentary series about one of France’s most popular recording artists as he and his team prepare for a major stadium tour in the summer of 2022.
In Italy, three-star Originals are lit up for Disney +. They are run by crime series Good mothers, who will explore the mafia from a women ‘s perspective. The series was executive produced by Tessa Ross, former head of Film4, and Juliette Howell, former head of television at Working Title, through their British firm House Productions, along with Mario Gianani and Lorenzo Gangarosso for Rome’s Wildside. It was written by BAFTA award-winning Stephen Butchard (Baghdad Central), according to the book of the same name by journalist Alex Perry.
Further Italian commissions include the return of humorous series Borisproduced by The Apartment owned by Fremantle and a romantic drama Angels of the ignorant Turkish-Italian director Ferzan Ozpetek, inspired by a movie hit Le Fate Ignoranti, and produced by R&C Productions.
In Germany, two dramatic originals are run by Drama Sam – Saxon, which tells the true story of Samuel Meffire, the first black police officer from East Germany, in the production of international Emmy Award winner Jörg Winger (Germany 83) and Tyron Ricketts.
The other is a dark comedy Sultan City, from producers Ayle Gottschlich and Aysel Yilmaz and writer Ipek Zübert, who follows the eminent matriarch of a German-Turkish family who happens to become the head of a criminal underworld and discovers that she and her daughters have a talent for the job.
The only Dutch commission is Feyenoord of Rotterdam, a sports documentary produced by Lusus Media, in which the titular football club opens its doors to discover what is happening on the field.
The list is overseen by Diego Londono, Disney’s executive vice president of media networks and content at EMEA, and Liam Keelan, vice president of source content in the region.
In addition, two new roles have been created in Spain and Germany. Sofía Fábregas has been named Vice President of Original Productions Iberia, and Benjamina Mirnik-Voges has been named Vice President of Original Productions, Germany.
Both roles will be responsible for the development and production of local Disney and Star Originals for Disney +, reporting to local management and London.
These new roles come after a previously confirmed announcement by Sean Doyle, who will serve as director of the original production for unwritten general entertainment across Europe, Keelan reports.