Beta Film pre-sells historical family saga Hotel Portofino in the Nordics and the Netherlands
by Marta Bałaga
- The period drama series, written and created by Matt Baker, is toplined by Natascha McElhone
Germany’s Beta Film has closed pre-sales in the Nordics and the Netherlands for the PBS/ITV drama series Hotel Portofino. The period drama was acquired by DR for Denmark, SVT for Sweden, NRK for Norway, YLE for Finland and SYN for Iceland, as well as Dutch national broadcaster NPO. Further negotiations with several international broadcasters are under way.
Earlier, ITV, BritBox, Sky Italia, and Foxtel in Australia joined the drama, which is being produced by German outfit Eagle Eye in association with Beta Film, while PBS Distribution took the North American rights. Hotel Portofino is executive-produced by Eagle Eye’s Jo McGrath and Walter Iuzzolino.
“I sat down to write Hotel Portofino in the autumn of 2020, with the prospect of a second national COVID lockdown looming in the UK. It was a particularly grim time, and so I set out to write something unashamedly sunny and escapist,” its creator and writer, Matt Baker, shared with Cineuropa, adding that the show’s executive producers had talked about basing a drama series on the Italian Riviera ever since they visited the Liguria Film Festival a few years before.
“We decided to set the show in the 1920s to try to capture some of the hedonistic fun and glamour of that period, but also because of the dramatic potential that arises from the obvious and fascinating parallels with the present day,” he added. “Just like today, in the 1920s, the established order was reeling from a catastrophe of its own making, and new hierarchies were beginning to emerge as individuals and groups who had traditionally been without power began to assert and emancipate themselves.”
The six-hour series, which centres on a British family who emigrate to open a high-end hotel in Italy, is set against the historical backdrop of the rise of fascism. Hotel Portofino stars Natascha McElhone (previously seen in Ronin and Californication), Mark Umbers and Anna Chancellor as well as Italian talents Daniele Pecci, Lorenzo Richelmy and Rocco Fasano. The series is being directed by Adam Wimpenny.
“As an admirer of the stylings and form of the Roaring Twenties, being able to direct and visually author all six episodes of Hotel Portofino was a gift of a project,” said Wimpenny, calling it “the most ambitious and creatively rewarding” job of his career.
“After coming out of a year of lockdown, it certainly wasn’t lost on any of us what a unique opportunity it was to shoot in such gorgeous overseas locations. I’m very proud of the remarkable cast and crew we pulled together, and I feel we’ve created a wonderfully escapist and cinematic show.”
Shooting wrapped in Portofino, Italy, and along the Croatian coastline this summer.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.