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HBO Europe follows trail to Beartown

Premium cabler HBO Europe has greenlit a Swedish original drama, Beartown, based on the novel by bestselling author Fredrik Backman.

Antony Root

The series focuses on the eponymous small settlement which is slowly getting swallowed by the trees surrounding it but whose junior ice-hockey team has a shot at glory through the national semi-finals.

With the dreams of the town resting on the shoulders of a group of teenage boys, the burden becomes a trigger for a violent act which leaves a young girl traumatised and the town scandalised.

Beartown is produced by Endemol Shine Group-owned Swedish outfit Filmlance International. Award-winning director Peter Grönlund will helm all five 60-minute episodes, which are being written by Anders Weidemann, Antonia Pyk and Linn Gottfridsson.

Antony Root, executive VP of programming and production for HBO Europe, said the combined elements of the book’s characters, plot and setting made it “dream material for an HBO drama.”

“We want to create a drama where everything is at stake, where we see and feel all of the different sides of humanity – not only in the characters we are depicting, but in ourselves as well,” said Bonnie Skoog Feeney and Mattias Arehn, producers at Filmlance International.

The commission is the latest on a rapidly growing list of original orders from HBO Europe.

In the past 18 months, the firm has greenlit Czech drama Oblivious and its first Norwegian and Adria series Beforeigners and Success respectively.

These shows follow commissions Blinded by the Lights from Poland, Hackerville from Romania and Germany, and Gösta, the first drama from its HBO Nordics arm.

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