Beta Film boards Central European epic event series “Rise of the Raven” (WT)

Munich, 16 July 2021. It is the most ambitious Central European television production of all time: Rise of the Raven (WT) is based on the bestselling novels by Bán Mór, which tell the  true life story of Janos Hunyadi, the fearless warrior who defeated the vast Ottoman army and defended Europe in 1456 at the Battle of Belgrade. Robert Lantos’ Serendipity Point Films, the National Film Institute of Hungary, Hungary’s TV2 Network, and Beta Film, known for international hot sellers like Gomorrah and Babylon Berlin, have joined forces on the ten-hour show. Advanced negotiations with leading European broadcasters to board this unique co-production are underway. Rise of the Raven is currently in pre-production with casting in progress.

In Hunyadi’s honour, every day at noon, church bells toll all over the world. He is truly “for whom the bell tolls”.

The series is financed by the National Film Institute of Hungary, Serendipity Point Films, Twin Media, HG Media, MR Film and Beta Film. TV2 will broadcast the show in Hungary and Slovenia.

Robert Lantos is Executive Producer of the series. His feature credits include: Berlin Award winner Museo; Golden Globe winner, Venice Award winner and Oscar nominee Barney’s Version; Cannes Award winner Adoration; Oscar and Golden Globe nominee Eastern Promises; Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner Being Julia; Cannes Official Selection Ararat; Golden Globe nominee and European Film Award winner Sunshine; Berlin Award winner eXistenZ; Cannes Grand Jury Prize winner and Oscar nominee The Sweet Hereafter; and Cannes Jury Prize winner Crash. His lengthy television credits include: Shot Through the Heart (HBO); Sword of Gideon (HBO); Due South (CBS); and Total Recall (Showtime).

Award-winning director George Mihalka is the showrunner and will direct the final three episodes. Mihalka is responsible for hundreds of hours of premium American primetime television, including: The Firm (NBC), Transporter (TNT), and Bullet to Beijing (Showtime). He has worked with Hollywood stars such as Sir Michael Caine, Sir Michael Gambon, Stanley Tucci and Steve Buscemi and is the recipient of the Directors’ Guild of Canada’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Globally acclaimed Robert Dornhelm will direct the first two episodes. His credits include Emmy and Oscar nominated productions such as: Anne Frank: The Whole Story, starring Sir Ben Kingsley, Children of Theatre Street, starring Grace Kelly, the Venice Golden Lion nominated The Venice Project starring Lauren Bacall and Dennis Hopper, the Golden Globe nominated Requiem for Dominic as well as Echo Park with Susan Dey and Tom Hulce. His most recent TV series include Vienna Blood with Matthew Beard, and Maria Theresa.

Completing the team is director Orsi Nagypal, whose credits include The Deal, CW’s The Outpost, and Megafilm’s Tóth János.

HG Media Group founder Tibor Krsko (Fateless, Children of Glory, The Song of Names), Cecilia Hazai, and Kinga Hazai are also producing as well as Oliver Auspitz and Andreas Kamm of MR Film (Vienna Blood). The series is written by George Mihalka, Balázs Lengyel, Balázs Lovas, Zsófia Ruttkay and Attila Veres.

“In the 15th Century, Hunyadi’s victories changed the course of European history. Our objective is to bring this story to audiences worldwide by creating a high-end series drawing on talent from all over Europe,” says Csaba Káel, government commissioner for the development of the Hungarian film industry and chairman of the National Film Institute of Hungary. 

“Through sheer courage and cunning, Janos Hunyadi defeated the far larger invading Ottoman army and in so doing saved Europe,” says Executive Producer Robert Lantos. “For the past ten years, I have been working with my creative partners to adapt Bán Mór’s extraordinarily powerful ten-volume historic fiction for the screen. In Beta Film, I have found an ally who shares our ambitious vision.”

Showrunner George Mihalka: “Since I left Hungary as a child, it’s been my dream to come back and work in my homeland and native language. I am excited to be a part of this fabulous team, show running the first international limited series produced and shot in Hungary. The true story of Hunyadi, while specific to Central Europe, is universal in scope and theme. It is a saga of bravery, love, perseverance, the fight for freedom, and the eventual victory over forces that threatened not only his homeland but the rest of Europe.”

Koby Gal-Raday, Beta Film’s Chief Content Officer: “Rise of the Raven is a one-of-a-kind, cinematic, and epic story, very much relevant to today’s audiences worldwide. Due to the high quality of the scripts, the international talent leading the show, and the ambitious production vision, we strongly believe in its high global potential.”

Based on the bestselling novels by Bán Mór, Rise of the Raven unveils the adventurous life of heroic warrior Janos Hunyadi in grueling 15th Century medieval Europe. While Hunyadi’s life is troubled with scandal, political power-play and conspiracies between famous noble families emerging from Warsaw and Rome to Belgrade, Vienna and Prague, his strongest allies are the women in his life: Elizabeth Szilagyi, his wife who stood by his side and often fought in his place, and Mara Brankovic, his first love who broke his heart by becoming the lead woman in Sultan Murad’s court and a close confidante of the Turkish leader. In a decisive victory against all odds at the Battle of Belgrade, Hunyadi puts an end to the Ottoman invasion, shaping the history of Europe.

About NATIONAL FILM INSTITUTE of Hungary:

The mission of the National Film Institute (as the successor of the Hungarian National Film Fund), in operation from January 2020, is to contribute to the production of Hungarian films or co-productions that provide art and entertainment for audience on all platforms and bring significant success both domestically and on an international level. The NFI is a public institution governed by Hungarian law and its activities are regulated according to the Motion Picture Act (II) of 2004. The NFI operates through its departments, covering diverse fields of the industry, including the funding schemes, Mafilm Studios, Filmlab, Film Archive, and Training departments. The NFI provides financial and professional support for script development, pre-production and production of full-length feature films, documentaries and animated movies for theatrical release, as well as television productions (TV films, serial formats, shorts, documentaries, and animations).

About BETA FILM:

A leading independent Film & Television group, Beta Film produces, finances and distributes high-end content for the global market, nurturing extensive partnerships spanning from public to private broadcasters, streaming platforms to special interest channels, production companies and top international talent, theatrical and video distributors to major film and TV festivals. Titles include Florian Henckel von Donnersmarcks’s Academy Award nominated Never Look Away and his Academy Award winning Lives of Others, Frank Doelger’s/Intaglio’s international high-end series The Swarm, multiple awarded Babylon Berlin, the Neapolitan crime series Gomorrah, Alex Pina’s The Pier and International Emmy Award-winning Generation War. Furthermore, the group focuses on strategic alignment in new business areas via acquisitions and joint ventures. Beta Film has stakes in production companies across Europe as well as renowned brands such as Beta Cinema (international sales and distribution of feature films) and Autentic (international sales, production and distribution of documentary and factual content), to name a few. Founded by Leo Kirch in 1959 and owned by Jan Mojto since 2004, Beta Film is based in Munich, Germany, with offices in the US, Latin America, Asia and throughout Europe.

About SERENDIPITY POINT FILMS:

Serendipity Point Films was formed by acclaimed producer Robert Lantos, following the sale of his controlling interest in Alliance Communications, the publicly traded company he co-founded and of which he was Chair and CEO. Serendipity Point Films is a boutique production company focused on theatrical feature films and prestige television. Four of its films – The Sweet Hereafter, Being Julia, Eastern Promises, and Barney’s Version – have received Academy Award nominations, while Sunshine and Eastern Promises were nominated for Best Picture Golden Globes and Being Julia and Barney’s Version took home the Golden Globe statues for Best Actress and Best Actor, respectively. Seven films have been in the Official Cannes Selection, with The Sweet Hereafter, Adoration, and Crash receiving prizes. Its most recent credits include: The Song of Names, Berlin Silver Bear winner Museo, and Venice Audience Award winner Remember, For more information, please visit www.serendipitypoint.com.

About TWIN MEDIA:

Established in 1992, Twin Media has been active in television distribution with a focus on Central Europe for such hit shows as Pokemon, Yugioh, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Its feature film highlights include Jackie Chan’s earlier films. The company has held distribution mandates from France Television and Mondo Television. Twin Media also represents authors and literary estates for their film and television adaptations, as well as publishing.

About HG MEDIA:

Mr. Tibor Krskó is the founder and co-owner of HG Media Group, the largest privately-owned print, digital, and movie content marketing company in the Central European region. HG Media was founded 20 years ago and boasts a continuously growing event and media portfolio. It is one of the most influential actors in the custom publishing market, as well as in print, digital and audio-visual services.

About MR FILM:

MR Film is owned equally by BETA FILM and Oliver Auspitz, Andreas Kamm and Partners. It is one of the best-known independent film companies in the German speaking territory. Previous programmes include Vienna Blood starring Matthew Beard, Martin Ambrosch’s Maximilian and Marie de Bourgogne, Rodica Doehnert’s The Sacher, Robert Dornhelm’s Maria Theresa and over 600 other titles. Uli Bree’s Vorstadtweiber in its 6th Season and a new series for ARD and ORF as well as the event-series The Net for RedBullMediaHouse and ARD are currently filming in Austria. MR’s Schnell Ermittelt Season 7 is currently airing on ORF as the number one TV show in Austria.

See also: https://variety.com/2021/film/global/robert-lantos-serendipity-beta-film-rise-of-the-raven-1235021083/