Sundance Channel unveiled its 2013/2014 original scripted development slate today, revealing five provocative new dramas that put an emphasis on non formulaic characters and a daring approach to storytelling.
A high caliber of award winning talent, many with roots in filmmaking, are behind these projects, which include: “Valentines” from producer Robert Redford and writer Olaf Olafsson, “Behind the Sun” from producers Steve Buscemi and Stanley Tucci and writer Dylan Gary, “The Descendants” from producer Sarah Condon and writer Aaron Guzikowski, “T” from producer Ira Glass and writers Dan Futterman and Anya Epstein, and “Death in the Modern Age” from producers Bob Cooper, JJ Jamieson and Michael Fuchs and writers Josh Shaffer & Eli Kooris. The announcement was made today by Sarah Barnett, Sundance Channel General Manager and EVP.
Barnett commented, “These projects tell dynamic and visceral emotional stories that draw on the best characteristics of our independent film roots, namely new kinds of narratives that surprise you and unapologetically raw characters who feel unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.” She continued, “We try to put creativity first and are delighted to tap into the impressive pool of filmmakers who are turning to scripted television, as well as partnering with quite brilliant and accomplished TV talent.”
Since debuting its first scripted project “Carlos,” in 2010, the network has had significant success with its original scripted strategy. “Carlos” which went on to win the Golden Globe for Outstanding Mini-Series, was followed by the riveting “Appropriate Adult,” which starred Emily Watson and Dominic West and was showered with critical praise and multiple award nominations. Original mini-series “Restless,” starring Michelle Dockery, Charlotte Rampling and Hayley Atwell, will premiere on December 7th (with the second part airing December 14th at 9PM ET/PT). In 2013, Sundance Channel will debut Rectify, its first wholly owned scripted drama series from Gran Via, the producers of “Breaking Bad.” The network will also premiere the highly anticipated original mini-series “Top of the Lake,” written and directed by Academy Award winning Jane Campion and starring Holly Hunter and Elisabeth Moss.
2013-2014 Scripted Development Slate
Based on the novel by Olaf Olafsson, Valentines is a white-knuckled emotional journey, capturing the most candid of moments between lovers when unspoken truths and long buried secrets surge to the surface and everything changes in an instant. The story follows Herman Peterson – a high-powered New York attorney, and his three attractive daughters – Cathryn, Margaret, and Soley – as we delve into their upscale homes, cosmopolitan social circles, and volatile personal relationships to discover that not all is what it seems.
Writer: Olaf Olafsson (novels including, “The Journey Home” and “Absolution”)
Producers: Sundance Productions (Robert Redford & Laura Michalchyshyn), Fred Berner
Behind the Sun
A wildly distinct coming-of-age tale set in the surfer paradise of Malibu, Calif., during the mid-1980s that follows the growing pains of the Georges – a determined, single child family whose lives begin to unravel after teenage son Farron learns he has an incredibly rare allergy to the sun. The series explores the shifting notions of parenting, and how the delayed adolescence and personal ambitions of the adults within this world are throwing their children into psychological and physical jeopardy.
Writer: Dylan Gary (Tell Me You Love Me)
Producers: Olive Productions (Stanley Tucci, Steve Buscemi, Wren Arthur)
A hard-hitting drama that revolves around a sheriff struggling to keep his family together while simultaneously policing two clashing communities: the small town where he grew up and the neighboring Ramapo Mountains, home of the Ramapo Mountain Indians. After a terrible tragedy and coverup occurs involving the sheriff’s wife, an unholy alliance is forged between the sheriff and a dangerous member of the tribe that will come back to haunt all involved.
Writer: Aaron Guzikowksi (Contraband, Prisoners)
Producer: Sarah Condon (Bored to Death)
A deeply personal look at Terrence, a transgender male who has recently undergone gender reassignment surgery and is beginning to live life as a man. Series cuts between Terrence’s emotional struggle in the present and his past as Thora – a lesbian, student activist at Mt. Holyoke College circa 2005 struggling to find her true self.
Writer: Anya Epstein (In Treatment) and Dan Futterman (In Treatment, Capote)
Producers: Ira Glass & Alissa Shipp (This American Life)
Death in the Modern Age
After his personal and professional lives implode in spectacular fashion, a down-on-his-luck suburbanite who has always played by the rules decides to radically reinvent himself by plotting to fake his own death in order to start life anew. In today’s age of DNA testing, digital footprints, and lack of individual anonymity, his escape and ultimate transformation prove to be much easier said than done.
Writers: Josh Shaffer & Eli Kooris
Producers: Landscape Entertainment (Bob Cooper, JJ Jamieson), Michel Fuchs
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