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Netflix orders dramas, takes Hand of God

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will end after its third season

Netflix has commissioned original series in Belgium and Sweden and is working with Paolo Sorrentino, Lorenzo Mieli and Fremantle’s The Apartment Pictures on a new feature-length project in Italy.

The global streamer provided scant details about the film, beyond its title, The Hand of God, and the fact it will be produced in Naples.

Given his history with the city’s football club, his infamous handballed goal against England in the 1986 World Cup and his role in Sorrentino’s 2015 film Youth, it’s likely Argentinian soccer icon Diego Maradona will be the focus.

“The Hand of God represents for the first time in my career an intimate and personal film, a novel of formation at once light-hearted and painful,” said Sorrentino, who was behind the second season of The Young Pope.

Scott Stuber, head of Netflix Films, added: “To build a great film studio you need great filmmakers from every part of the world, telling stories in all languages.”

In Belgium, Netflix has partnered with local prodco Lunanime, part of the Lumiere Group, and broadcaster SBS on Soil, directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (Bad Boys For Life) alongside Mathieu Mortelmans.

The original screenplay is based on an idea by Zouzou Ben Chikha, Dries Heyneman and Wannes Capelle.

It tells the story of a family that begins bringing soil over from Morocco to help Muslim families faced with the dilemma of deciding whether to bury their dead in Belgium or honouring their last wishes and take them back to where they were born.

Netflix will premiere the series globally, except for Belgium, Germany and German-speaking Austria and Switzerland, where Netflix will be following local broadcasters.

El Arbi and Fallah said in a joint statement: “Soil tells a story that is very recognisable to us as Muslims and Moroccans but at the same time has a universal character because of the subject of family and bereavement.”

The project was commissioned by SBS’s Vier in collaboration with Netflix, Telenet and with the support of the Creative Europe Media Programme of the European Union, Flanders Audiovisual Fund/Mediafund, Screen Brussels and Belgian Tax Shelter.

The show will premiere in Belgium on Vier and will be available on Netflix worldwide six months after the air date of the last episode, and also on Telenet in Belgium.

In Sweden, Netflix has ordered a coming-of-age drama directed by Rojda Sekersöz (Beyond Dreams, My Life As a Comedian) and set in a prestigious Swedish boarding school where privileged students are trying to find their way in life.

The as-yet-untitled six-part series is created by Lisa Ambjörn (Sommaren-85, White Wall), Lars Beckung (Tårtgeneralen) and Camilla Holter (Rinkside, Playmakers) and will be produced by Nexiko.

Tesha Crawford, director of international originals for Northern Europe at Netflix, said: “We were instantly drawn to this coming-of-age story and its fresh take on love, friendship and class.”

The series is written by head writer Ambjörn alongside Pia Gradvall, Sofie Forsman and Tove Forsman and will be produced by Lisa Berggren Eyre and Martin Söder at Nexiko. Lars Beckung serves as the executive producer. It will launch globally on Netflix in 2021.

Finally, the streamer has announced that the eight-part third season of American drama series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will be its last when it drops later this year.

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