Story House Pictures co-founder Andreas Gutzeit, head writer-showrunner of Beta/RTL hit series “Sisi,” is preparing “Disgrace,” a fast-paced thriller miniseries set during the World Cup 1978 soccer match in Argentina.
Gutzeit will serve as showrunner and head writer for “Disgrace,” featuring Swantje Oppermann and Florian Puchert, who are part of the German writing team with Gutzeit behind Story House’s critically acclaimed Chile-Germany co-production “Dignity.” and pioneer.
At a stage of development and scriptwriting, with a pilot script available, “Disgrace” is among 10 projects playing in the sidebar of the Pitch Copro series in Conecta Fiction 2023, which runs from June 26-29 at Toledo, the capital of Spain Castilla-La Mancha.
The miniseries follows a German special forces agent, Hajo Heller, sent to Argentina to protect the German national football team from terrorist attacks during the 1978 World Cup.
Once there, he finds that the Argentine military junta has ‘disappeared’ his daughter, who is studying there, and will kill her along with hundreds of left-wing dissidents as soon as the eyes of the world are no longer on Argentina, Gutzeit said .
“It’s every parent’s darkest nightmare, not being able to protect their child. It’s visceral, heartbreaking and you always cheer on a father or mother who stands up for their flock,” Gutzeit explained.
“This is a simple, archaic story of a father trying to save his daughter that resonates around the world: a fast-paced, action-packed political thriller with such emotionally gripping lines that works everywhere,” he said.
“This powerful story is set against the backdrop of the 1978 FIFA World Cup. The result will be a sometimes shocking, breathtaking and eye-opening series,” Oppermann added.
Scheduled to shoot in Germany, Chile and Argentina, production on “Disgrace” is set to begin next year, with delivery in 2025.
The miniseries will be shot in Spanish and German. “Like our German-Chilean drama series ‘Dignity’, we will work with local co-production partners in Latin America. We are convinced that this is a unique international project with great global potential,” noted Oppermann, adding that they are in talks with Argentinian creators for the realization as well as Latin American story consultants. .
Co-produced with Invercine & Wood, “Dignity” has aired on ProSieben’s Joyn, HBO Nordics, and Prime Video Latin America, among others.
“’Dignity’ was three years ago. Today, “Disgrace” contains some of the same ingredients: a powerful emotional story with a family at its center and a backdrop of real events. We are therefore convinced that we can repeat this success. And we just love working in Latin America,” Gutzeit said.
“Some of the benefits [of co-producing TV fiction with Spanish-language territories] are very obvious. Talent, both behind and in front of the camera, is obviously the most important element,” argued.
“Spanish is a highly sought-after language in our company, probably a little more than German. But what we like the most. There is a certain poetic tension to which Latin American filmmakers aspire. Combine that authenticity with a popular story suited for mainstream audiences in an action-packed thriller like ‘Disgrace,’ and you have something very special,” explained.
Emmy-nominated media production company Story House, which has offices in Los Angeles, Washington DC, Berlin and Munich, is part of Europe’s leading film and TV company Bavaria Film Group, hence sister to commercial agent Munich Bavaria Media.
“Bavaria Media is always one of our first stops, but every deal is different and all kinds of partnerships are possible,” Gutzeit commented.
Story House is currently producing the third season of “Sisi,” which will be released in the fall. The first season had a red carpet premiere during the 2021 Canneseries Festival and won the Jupiter Audience Award in Germany. A hit on RTL+ and RTL’s linear service, “Sisi” has been sold by Beta Film to over 120 territories worldwide.
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