Trentino-shot Sanctuary travels to the international TV market
by Camillo De Marco
- The TV series starring Josefin Asplund and Matthew Modine and produced by Sweden’s Yellow Bird was filmed with the support of the Trentino Film Commission in accordance with the T-Green Film Protocol
A gripping psychological thriller with a host of twists and turns and bolstered by an international cast, including the likes of US star Matthew Modine (Stranger Things), young Swedish actress Josefin Asplund (of cult TV series Vikings and David Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) and Italy’s Lorenzo Richelmy (La ragazza nella nebbia [+see also:
film profile]) is how we’d best describe TV series Sanctuary, shot by Oskar Thor Axelsson and Enrico Maria Artale in the Italian Trentino region last autumn. In its first season with eight episodes in the offing, Sanctuary is produced by Yellow Bird – the Swedish firm belonging to the Banijay Group, who are known for the Millenium Trilogy and successful TV series such as Wallander, Headhunters and Occupied – together with TV4, Tele München Group and Fabula Pictures (Production Services), and is sold worldwide by StudioCanal TV. Sanctuary enjoyed its world premiere on 30 May this year, screened on TV4 in Sweden and Finland courtesy of C More before being broadcast on other European TV channels, such as Canal+ Poland and HBO Spain, in June. Other countries having already snapped up the rights to the TV series include Portugal, Iceland and Russia.
The story unfolds inside The Sanctuary, a magnificent clinic set in close proximity to a village lost in the valleys of the Alps. Scarred by loss and eager to renew contact with the only remaining member of her family, Helena Brant pays a visit to her twin sister, the rebellious Siri (with both characters played by Josefin Asplund). Helena, however, is unaware of the fact that The Sanctuary is actually a wealthy research facility where experimental treatments are carried out on dangerous psychopaths. And it just so happens that Siri is one of the most dangerous patients in their care, oblivious to the fact that she’s walked into an establishment which she’ll never be able to leave.
Sanctuary was shot between the Fassa, Valsugana and Etschtal valleys thanks to the support of the Trentino Film Commission and Trentino Marketing. The production was also filmed in accordance with the Film Commission’s T-Green Film Protocol, which insists upon environmentally sustainable practices. Icelandic director and New York University graduate Oskar Thor Axelsson directed the first four episodes of the series. The filmmaker previously wrote and directed Black’s Game [+see also:
film profile] in 2012, which turned out to be the second highest grossing Icelandic film of all time, while his second feature film, I Remember You, nabbed the top spot at the Icelandic box office in 2017. Axelsson also directed three episodes of TV series Trapped, which was co-produced by ZDF and the BBC, and which was broadcast to great commercial and critical acclaim in 2016. He went on to direct two episodes of Trapped 2 in 2019, having directed all six episodes of the internationally broadcast TV series Stella Blomkvist in 2017. The next four episodes of Sanctuary will be taken up by Italy’s Enrico Maria Artale, who in 2013 released his debut film The After Match [+see also:
film profile] - produced by CSC and Filmauro and distributed by Universal Pictures International Italy - and who is currently working on Pablo, produced by Roberto De Paolis and Carla Altieri of Young Films.
(Translated from Italian)
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