Sky Atlantic and Sky Arts have unveiled a series of new programming for the networks. Director Beeban Kidron and Errol Morris lead documentaries while in drama its a step back in time almost 100 years.
BAFTA winning director Beeban Kidron is to delve into what it is like to grow up in public, and how modern youths create a sense of identity in the series In Real Life. In a world where each western teen is the subject of their own virtual world, an object of others and, at all times, a spectator of all, the film poses the question of how the scrutiny and public nature of the modern world impact on the creation of identity.
Meanwhile, Oscar-winning director Errol Morris explores one of America’s most controversial public figures in The Unknown Known: The Life and Times of Donald Rumsfeld. From his early childhood memories of Pearl Harbor to his two tenures as Secretary of Defense, Rumsfeld’s engagement with contemporary American politics provides a unique opportunity to examine one man’s attempts to craft history on both a personal and global scale. Equal parts in-depth character study and meditation on historical narrative, the documentary will challenge its audiences to re-examine their preconceived notions of American power, history and politics.
The films join two previous announced productions for the Sky Atlantic Footprint strand. The earlier acquisitions start with Nick Broomfield’s South Central and film Al Weiwei: Never Sorry.
Elaine Pyke, Director of Sky Atlantic, says of the strand, “Footprint is, above all, about stories. Stories that grip and aren’t afraid to force viewers to question everything they think they know about a subject. We are working with some of the biggest names in documentary and aren’t afraid to tackle controversial subjects. With [the new productions we] will establish Sky Atlantic HD as the home of world-class documentary films.”
Meanwhile its a step back in time as Sky Arts is to air the acclaimed foreign language period drama Grand Hotel.
Described as ‘the television sensation of the year’ by Spanish newspaper El Periodico, the drama has been styled as ‘a homage to Downtown Abbey’ by El Mundo critic Alberto Rey who affirmed that the series ‘set the bar high’ for other Spanish television productions. Grand Hotel has been the recipient of a variety of Spanish National TV Academy awards including best actress for Concha Velasco, Best Director of Photography and Best Set Design for a drama.
Set in 1905, the series follows the story of Julio, a young man determined to discover the truth behind his sister’s mysterious disappearance from the Grand Hotel where she had been working as the head chambermaid. The dashing and handsome Julio infiltrates the luxury hotel in the guise of a footman and begins his investigation into the bizarre array of guests, inhabitants and workers of the hotel.
It’s not long before he attracts the attention of Alicia, the hotel proprietor’s ravishingly beautiful daughter, who is being forced to marry the ambitious, calculating hotel manager for the sake of the family business. As romance between the headstrong Alicia and Julio blossoms she discovers his true identity and mission. She agrees to help him and, defying the wishes of her father and family, they begin to uncover a web of dark secrets wrapped up in the daily life of the hotel.
Grand Hotel was original broadcast in Spain on the Antena 3 Network and will broadcast in the UK with Spanish audio un-dubbed. It will be provided with English subtitles. The lavish nine-part series will receive its UK premiere on 18th November at 8pm.