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Croatia’s Drugi Plan, Bulgarian Agitprop Board Serbian Political Thriller ‘Sabre’ as Balkan TV Co-Production Market Heats Up

Croatia’s Drugi Plan and Bulgaria’s Agitprop, two of South East Europe’s leading production groups, have teamed up to co-produce upcoming drama series ‘Sabre’, a political thriller revolving around the 2003 assassination of Prime Minister Serbian Zoran Djindjic produced by Belgrade- based on This and That Productions.

Created by Goran Stanković and Vladimir Tagić, the series will feature Serbian-Danish actress Danica Curcic, known to international audiences for her starring role in the Netflix psychological thriller ‘The Chestnut Man’, as a journalist investigating the shocking murder .

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The companies announced the deal on Monday at the Sarajevo Film Festival, where This and That’s “Bad Blood” and Drugi Plan’s “The Silence” were among the top Balkan drama series vying for the Heart of Sarajevo TV Awards, which were presented at a ceremony. in the Bosnian capital on Sunday evening.

“Saber” premiered in Sarajevo three years ago at the CineLink Drama co-funding forum, where it was named Best Drama Project. Last year, the series participated in Midpoint TV Launch’s international development and script program.

The series examines the Djindjic assassination and its political repercussions through the eyes of three characters – the journalist, a police inspector and a young criminal – while following the impact it has on their lives.

Set in 2003, “Saber” is set at a time when Serbia was struggling to emerge from a bloody decade of transition in the former Yugoslavia. speaking to Variety in Sarajevo, Stanković described the prime minister’s shocking killing in broad daylight as “a turning point so far for the entire Balkan region”, while Drugi Plan co-founder Nebojša Taraba called it “a moment JFK” for the emerging democracies of the former Yugoslavia, including Croatia, adding, “That’s why we love being part of this story.”

The Zagreb-based Taraba company, which sold a majority stake to Beta Film two years ago, is the production company behind political crime thriller ‘The Paper’, which was acquired by Netflix, and crime drama Croatian-Ukrainian “The Silence”. which was picked up this year by HBO Max.

He described “Sabre” as a natural fit for the company’s ambitious slate of high-end drama series, while stressing how it reflects a growing desire by the region’s top independent producers to apply the same model of international co-production to drama series that have long strengthened the region’s film industries.

“The Silence,” for example, was produced by Drugi Plan and Croatian broadcaster HRT in co-production with Beta Film, Russia and Ukraine-based Star Media, Ukrainian OLL.TV and ZDF/Arte. Other projects on the company’s slate include “Anatomy of a Crime,” a crime drama set in 1960s Yugoslavia co-produced with Serbian production company Film Fantastika, and “The Possibility of an Island,” a one-of-a-kind co-production. between the Balkans and Scandinavia, which Drugi Plan is co-producing with Grass River in Iceland.

The co-production with Agitprop comes with the news that “Sabre” will be the first-ever international co-production to benefit from a new fund from the Bulgarian National Film Center supporting TV series, which Sofia-based Agitprop’s Martichka Bozhilova said. described as a “pioneering moment” for production in South East Europe.

“I am very proud and delighted to be part of this pioneering moment, which is the very first support from a national film center in this part of the world for a production of television series,” she said, thanking her co-production partners of This and That and Drugi Plan as “a team I believe in”.

“This story opens up some very important questions that we need to know and discuss, and I really enjoy participating in telling it.”

“Saber” is produced by Snežana van Houwelingen for This and That Prodctions and co-produced by Nebojša Taraba and Miodrag Sila for Drugi Plan and Martichka Bozhilova for Agitprop, with support from Serbian public broadcaster RTS, the Bulgarian National Film Center and the European Union. Creative Europe – MEDIA Program of the European Union.

Pictured: Goran Stanković (left) and Vladimir Tagić

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