Sunday, September 20, 2015

Starz Gains U.S. Rights to WWII-Era Drama, "Close to the Enemy"

Starz to Co-Produce Writer/Director Stephen Poliakoff’s “Close to the Enemy” Original Miniseries

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Starz today announced it has secured, via a deal with international distributor all3media International, the exclusive U.S. premium rights to, and will co-produce the six-episode original miniseries “Close to the Enemy,” written and directed by the multi-award winning Stephen Poliakoff (STARZ Original miniseries, "Dancing on the Edge," Glorious 39, The Lost Prince) with Helen Flint (Longford, The Take, Galavant), Hilary Bevan Jones (Roald Dahl's Esio Trot, The Escape Artist) and Colin Callender (Wolf Hall) serving as Executive Producers. “Close To the Enemy” is a Little Island production produced in association with Endor Productions and Playground Entertainment and distributed by all3media International. “Close to the Enemy” is expected to premiere on BBC Two in the UK and STARZ in the U.S. in 2016.

    “We are excited to team up with Little Island, Endor Productions, Playground Entertainment, all3media International and Stephen Poliakoff again as he brings this post-World War II thriller to life in a way our viewers will find extremely compelling”

“We are excited to team up with Little Island, Endor Productions, Playground Entertainment, all3media International and Stephen Poliakoff again as he brings this post-World War II thriller to life in a way our viewers will find extremely compelling,” said Carmi Zlotnik, Managing Director of Starz.

Stephen Driscoll, SVP Sales, all3media International commented, “We are delighted to announce another significant collaboration with Starz who will release ‘Close to the Enemy’ to their U.S. subscribers in 2016. Stephen Poliakoff and this wonderful cast of actors are creating a thrilling mini-series that will enthrall audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. We look forward to announcing further international deals in the very near future.”

Polly Hill, Controller BBC Drama Commissioning, also added, “It is wonderful to welcome Starz and Playground on board. The combination of such talented producers with first-rate track records will ensure audiences from around the globe can enjoy Poliakoff's truly original and compelling new drama series.”

Jim Sturgess (One Day) heads an all-star cast including Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel), Charlotte Riley (Peaky Blinders), Phoebe Fox (Woman in Black 2), August Diehl (Inglourious Basterds), Robert Glenister (Hustle), Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones), Charity Wakefield (Wolf Hall), with Lindsay Duncan (Birdman), Angela Bassett (American Horror Story), and Alfred Molina (Love is Strange).

Set in a bomb-damaged London hotel during the aftermath of World War II, “Close to the Enemy” is a thriller that follows British intelligence officer Captain Callum Ferguson (Sturgess), whose last task for the Army is to ensure that a captured German scientist, Dieter (Diehl), hands over secret cutting-edge military technology crucial to national security. Callum employs unorthodox methods in his attempt to convince Dieter to work for the British, developing a friendship with him, which is soon threatened as the German’s involvement in the Nazi war machine may be more than it initially seems.

In the tradition of Stephen Poliakoff’s other work, Callum encounters a number of other characters whose stories all intertwine. These characters include Victor (Highmore), Callum’s younger brother, struggling to deal with psychological trauma caused by his experiences on the frontlines; Harold (Molina), a Foreign Office official who reveals some startling truths about the outbreak of the war; Rachel (Riley), an enchanting Anglophile American engaged to his best friend; Eva (Bassett), a confident American jazz singer who breathes life into the old hotel with her music; and Kathy (Fox), a tough, young woman working for the War Crimes Unit, fighting to bring war criminals who escaped prosecution to justice. All of these characters are trying to rebuild and move forward with their lives in the aftermath of a war that scarred them all so deeply.

Starz acquired U.S. network pay TV and SVOD rights from all3media international who will distribute the series worldwide.

About Starz
Starz (NASDAQ: STRZA, STRZB) is a leading integrated global media and entertainment company with operating units that provide premium subscription video programming on domestic U.S. pay television channels (Starz Networks), global content distribution (Starz Distribution) and animated television and movie production (Starz Animation),

Starz Networks is a leading provider of premium subscription video programming through the flagship STARZ® and ENCORE® pay TV networks which showcase premium original programming and movies to U.S. multichannel video distributors, including cable operators, satellite television providers, and telecommunications companies. As of June 30, 2015, STARZ and ENCORE serve a combined 56.8 million subscribers, including 23.5 million at STARZ, and 33.3 million at ENCORE, making them the largest pair of premium flagship channels in the U.S. STARZ® and ENCORE®, along with Starz Networks’ third network MOVIEPLEX®, air more than 1,000 movies monthly across 17 linear networks, complemented by On Demand and authenticated online offerings through STARZ PLAY, ENCORE PLAY, and MOVIEPLEX PLAY. Starz Distribution develops, produces and acquires entertainment content, distributing it to consumers globally on DVD, digital formats and traditional television. Starz Distribution’s home video, digital media and worldwide distribution business units distribute original programming content produced by Starz, as well as entertainment content for itself and third parties. Starz Animation produces animated TV and movie content for studios, networks, distributors and audiences worldwide.

About Playground
Playground was founded in 2012 by Callender, and is committed to producing high quality drama for the screen and the stage bringing together the finest US and UK talent from the worlds of theatre, film, and television. Callender won his first Emmy for the television adaptation of the RSC’s The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby and, as president of HBO Films, was responsible for an unprecedented award-winning slate of movies and mini-series. Playground recently received 8 Emmy nominations for its coproduction with Company Pictures, the six-part miniseries adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall starring Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis, Claire Foy and Jonathan Pryce for BBC and Masterpiece. It also partnered with Charlie Pattinson’s New Pictures on The Missing the eight part thriller for the BBC and Starz. Playground recently wrapped production on the television adaptation of Ronald Harwood’s The Dresser starring Anthony Hopkins and Ian McKellen and directed by Richard Eyre for the BBC and Starz.

About all3media International
all3media International distributes popular, award-winning TV programmes to over 1,000 broadcasters and media platforms around the world.

The company has been celebrated for producing, marketing and distributing quality, ground-breaking and pioneering shows to global audiences – consistently topping the Broadcast and Televisual annual Indies Surveys and we have been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in recognition of our growth – twice.

Our catalogue contains over 7,000 hours of content across all genres, with a focus on drama, comedy, factual, entertainment and formats. As well as Britain’s top-selling series Midsomer Murders, our lead dramas include The Missing, Indian Summers, Foyle’s War, Skins, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and Hinterland. Factual, entertainment and format bestsellers include Gogglebox, Undercover Boss, The Gadget Show, The Cube, The Only Way is Essex and The Million Second Quiz.

As part of the UK’s leading multi-label studio we partner with UK and international producers – including our own studios – in developing, financing and delivering content and formats.


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