European television group Newen Connect and Berlin-based Flare Entertainment are joining forces to co-develop and distribute Balaton Brigade, a Cold War spy drama from Hungarian production company Joyrider, which Oscar-nominated filmmaker Ildiko Enyedi (On Body and Soul, The Story of My Wife) will direct.
The project, which Joyrider presented at the Berlinale Co-Pro series pitching event earlier this year, is set at the Hungarian resort of Lake Balaton in 1986, at the height of the Cold War. It follows Berndt Reider, the leader of a Stasi unit stationed at Balaton and tasked with preventing East German holidaymakers from sneaking over the border to escape to the West. What his bosses don’t know: Reider himself is secretly preparing to flee with his family to protect his teenage daughter, a young swimming prodigy, from the East German doping machine.
Flare and Joyrider will jointly develop the eight-part series, created by Joyrider’s Gabor Krigler, Balazs Lengyel and Balazs Lovas. Enyedi, who just presented her English-language debut, The Story of My Wife, in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, will direct. The two companies are currently looking to attach a German writer and director to the project, which will be largely shot in German. Principle photography is set to take place in Hungary next summer. Hungarian channel RTL Klub is already on board as a commissioning broadcaster. Flare will begin pitching the project to German broadcasters this autumn. Newen Connect will handle international distribution and is presenting the project to buyers at this year’s Series Mania, which runs through Sept. 2 in Lille, France.
Balaton Brigade is the latest expansion into small screen drama for Flare, which recently wrapped production on the German drama series Paradiso for Sky Deutschland. The Berlin-based company, which has been making feature films and documentaries since 2008, launched a TV drama division last year.
French group Newen, which brings together the commercial activities of Newen Group, TF1 Studio and ReelOne International, is one of Europe’s leading producers and distributors of TV content, with a library of some 1,000 films and more than 6,000 hours of programming.