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Italy: Oscar winner Florian Gallenberger’s "The Turncoat" celebrates great success on RAI, leaving behind Football Cup Match

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Jan 22 2021

The German anti-war drama The Turncoat, directed by Academy Award winner Florian Gallenberger (JOHN RAABE, COLONIA) has been premiered as a 2 hours event on Italy's public broadcaster RAI 3 last Thursday with outstanding numbers. Achieving over 1.5 Million viewers and a market share of 6.6%, the high-end drama The Turncoat doubled the channels average viewership and even outpaced the Football Cup Match that took place that day.

Based on the eponymous bestseller by Siegfried Lenz, The Turncoat tells the story of Walter, played by Jannis Niewöhner (FOUR KINGS), a young German soldier stationed in the Polish woods in 1944, and surrounded by partisans. It describes the inner turmoil of a young soldier, his sense of duty, guilt and his conscience, not made any easier by his love for the Polish partisan Wanda (Malgorzata Mikolajczak). Sworn to uphold his military vows, Walter, yet disgusted by the escalating cruelty, no longer knows what he's fighting for. Escaping death, he ultimately defects and becomes a member of the Red Army. Yet, in the aftermath of the war, Walter realizes that neither he nor the country can shed the burdens of the past. Once again, as his fate is uncertain, it forces him to make a moral decision.

Honored as the best TV movie at last year's Seoul Intl. Drama Awards, The Turncoat premiered successfully in April 2020 at Germany's public broadcaster ARD and reached a prime time market share of 14% and a strong audience number of up to 10 million viewers. The Turncoat was very well received by the German press and received overwhelming reviews. The event series in the tradition of Generation War was described as "'Apocalypse Now' on the Eastern Front" (Der Spiegel), "a great TV series, 5 stars" (Der Stern) and "a heartbreaking drama about love and death" (Bild). TV Spielfilm concluded that The Turncoat has "got what it takes to become an anti-war classic: powerful!"

Beta Film is distributing the miniseries as two 90-minute episodes and four 45-minute episodes. The Turncoat has been already sold throughout the world, including the U.S., Russia and Europe.