FormatBiz: Cristiana Farina is the writer beyond the phenomenon series Mare Fuori

Two words with Cristiana Farina and Maurizio Careddu, the writers behind the success of hit series Mare Fuori (tr. The Sea Beyond) – a phenomenon series in Italy and in the rest of the world. The series has been sold already in 20 countries by Beta Film who distributes the show. The Sea Beyond is set in a youth detention centre overlooking the bay of Naples where male and female inmates contend with being incarcerated as they explore love and better life dreams. Rai is broadcasting the third season and since the premiere on February 1 on RAI Play streaming platform, Season 3 has scored more than 22 million visualizations in its first week, 8 million of which were within the first day. In the first week, the first six episodes, released exclusively on RaiPlay achieved in total, (the three fully available seasons) a record of 54 million.

On February 15, Mare Fuori debuted in prime time on RAI 2 linear channel where the result was above the average share of the pubcaster with 1.2mln viewers and 7.2% share. Meanwhile, since Season 3 was aired by RAI Play, the first two seasons are within Netflix and are the 10 most-watched series in Italy where the show has made the streaming giant’s Top 10 list for a whopping 18 weeks.

Internationally, the first two seasons of Mare Fuori are on air in more than 20 countries, including the Nordics (TV 4), Germany (Disney+), Israel (HOT) and across Latin America (HBO Max). Germany’s Beta Film, which is selling the series internationally, is in talks with France and Spain for local remakes.

The idea of the series came up from Cristiana Farina, one the best TV Italian writer with a very long experience on daily soap series Un Posto al Sole, Vivere, Centovetrine. Farina also wrote for popular films like Melissa P in 2005 (director Luca Guadagnino), but she worked on the movie Amiche Mie as a showrunner, and she was the Head Writer of Mediaset’s series Dottoressa Giò. She was the one to conceive the series of Mare Fuori, during her staying in Naples for Rai 2’ soap Un Posto al sole.

Cristiana Farina: “I was in Naples, and I had the chance to visit a real prison in the city, I met the director and the young people inside. I was surprised by the guys and girls, after the initial impact I forgot that they were imprisoned and I was just focused on these little children, with their thoughts, fears, emotions and I was totally captured by them. It was a real world that fascinated me and I wanted to write about it and tell to the viewers with a series. Twenty years ago, when I pitched the project, the times were not ready yet and only a few years ago Rai was embracing the idea of a teen series set in a prison for young adults.

Farina conceived the idea of the series and she wrote it with her colleague Maurizio Careddu an author with 25 years’ experience in cinema and tv series (Rocco Schiavone).

What’s the message behind Mare Fuori? We are talking about bad examples, of poorly lived lives, poor choices, violence and injustices.

Cristiana: I don’t think so. The series is about young people who made bad choices not always for their choices. There are of course, bad people with no hope, but there are lots of guys and girls ready for a second chance. There is hope in the series, hope for a new renaissance for a second possibility. Life is not so bad, there is always redemption for good people for the ones who decides to choose the Good instead of the Evil.

Are you talking about the characters of the prison director and of the educator? Two positive figures in the series?

Cristiana: Yes, because the teens need an educator, a leader that give rules but at the same time can understand them. They are very tough at the beginning, but they can be nice and sweet. The role of education is normally given by the family, but in those circumstances, like in Naples, dominated by camorra and crime organizations sometimes there is no chance for the youngest but with the series I really wanted to give a message of hope. After the fall you can get up and start again.

RAI Play gained roughly 300,000 new subscribers on the first day of the “Sea Beyond” launch, presumably due to viewers eager to see the third season. Did you expect this success?

Cristiana and Maurizio: We were surprised by this success since the first season -said Farina- but more than that – I was happy for it because this series has sparked a debate on such an important issue as juvenile prisons. I wanted to highlight this topic not only to the tv viewers but the general public opinion and now I am very busy joining events and conferences with judges and lawyers.

Maurizio Careddu, how did you work? How did you find the personal stories of each boy?

We started with an idea, basically’ s it was a project from Cristiana and then we wrote the single characters. We focused on the single guys and girls and on their personal stories. Sometimes we found stories from true events occurred in Naples, from the local news and then we develop the characters in a unique way. One of the main characteristics of the series is the uniqueness of the characters and how they developed.