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A Production of Superlatives: Beta Shoots Historical Three-Part Miniseries "Maximilian”


Aug 06 2015

Munich, 6 August 2015. It is a production of superlatives, uniting a grandiose cast, highly detailed sets, sumptuous costumes and furnishings, and a budget of 15.5 million euros: MR Film, Beta Film, ORF and ZDF shoot the three-parter Maximilian, a captivating love story towards the end of the Middle Ages. Under the direction of Emmy awarded Andreas Prochaska ("Anatomy of Evil”, “Day for a Miracle”), the production stars young Berlinale up-and-comer Jannis Niewoehner alongside Alix Poisson, Jean-Hugues Anglade and Tobias Moretti; portraying the lead female role of the strikingly beautiful Mary of Burgundy is the young breakout French star and multiple César nominee Christa Théret. Martin Ambrosch (“Sarajevo”, “Anatomy of Evil”) wrote the script. Shooting began yesterday at the Cistercian Monastery of Zettl in Lower Austria; it is scheduled to continue for four months, until the beginning of December in Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

In 1477 Charles the Bold, ruler of the House of Burgundy, falls in the battle of Nancy. Mary (Christa Théret, "LOL - Laughing Out Loud", Berlinale Shooting Star 2013), his only daughter, inherits the most powerful duchy of the 15th century. Yet as a woman, she cannot rule; only a man may govern, which means that Mary must marry. In Austria, the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III (Tobias Moretti, "The Dark Valley”), knows that Burgundy's unfathomable wealth is the key to power. He demands that his son Maximilian (Jannis Niewoehner, who just recently starred alongside Michael Nyqvist in Kaurismaeki’s “The Girl King”) ask for Mary's hand in marriage. But his antagonist Louis XI of France (Jean-Hugues Anglade “Subway”, “Betty Blue”, "Taking Lives") is also planning to marry his son to the young Duchess. Mary wants to rule alone, however, regardless of any laws; and Maximilian also refuses to be a pawn in a game of power and political ambition. But the pressure from outside rises and both realize that the only way of surviving is to join forces. There is only one thing they are not prepared for: the love they feel for one another.

60 castles, palaces, church naves and medieval streets, 3000 extras, 550 horses, 800 costumes and 100 suits of armor provide the logistics for the exceptional love story that laid the foundations of the Hapsburg world kingdom. Among the most outstanding historical sets are well-known sites such as the castles of Rosenburg, Rapportenstein, Franzensburg/Laxenburg and the Votiv-Church in Vienna. A team of 100 worked for months in a 4000 square meter hall in Vienna to construct and produce all sorts of set-decorations, costumes, wigs, weapons and – for the two battle-scenes – fake dead bodies.

Starring in further roles are Alix Poisson (“Mr. Morgan’s Last Love”) as Chales’ widow Magareta,  Stefan Pohl (“Crossing Boundaries”) as Maximilian's loyal companion Wolf von Polheim, Miriam Fussenegger as Maria's court lady, Nicolas Wanczycki (“Love at First Fight”), Harald Windisch (“The Team”), Raphael Lenglet (“Vertige”), Sebastian Blomberg (“The Baader Meinhof-Complex”) and Fritz Karl (“Anatomy of Evil”).

ORF TV director Mag Kathrin Zechner: "The creative team, the producers and the editorial board headed by the ORF have taken on a mighty challenge. Authentic, human, something you can experience and grasp – this major international project under the leadership of the ORF and in association with the ZDF brings European and Austrian history to life, along with the men and women who wrote it centuries ago. To create from historical events realistic and emotional fiction that unites everything human and brings forth authentic characters of flesh and blood, is an amazing creative achievement. I am thrilled that we have secured the cooperation of two distinguished and successful Austrian filmmakers for this project. The challenge thus lies in the best creative hands we can imagine for this."

"With this tremendous project we are continuing our successful collaboration with director Andreas Prochaska, which has already brought us an International Emmy," says Reinhold Elschot, Deputy Program Director of ZDF: "We relate powerful cinema on TV - and next to all the intrigues, battles and warfare, it remains above all one of the most beautiful love stories of the Middle Ages."

Oliver Auspitz, Producer MR Film: "Playing out in a time of major upheavals, and in defiance of all obstacles, this truly great love story has become exemplary for a new world order in Europe. We are ready to take the plunge and sweep the viewer back into time to experience the late Middle Ages and its protagonists in a way no one has ever seen before."

Beta Film CEO Jan Mojto: "The powerful relationship between Maximilian and Mary of Burgundy works its fascination through its contrasts: here the Austrian Middle Ages, there the Flemish Renaissance; here impoverished knights, there bustling commercial centers; here political calculations, there grand, genuine emotions - These are the conflicting poles that must be aligned. And I have no doubt that director Andreas Prochaska and his outstanding roster of Franco-German stars will carry this off splendidly."

Maximilian is a co-production of MR Film, Beta Film, ORF and ZDF, supported by Fernsehfonds Austria, Filmfonds Wien and the State Lower Austria.


For further information:
Beta Film Press, Dorothee Stoewahse
Tel: + 49 89 67 34 69 15,,

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