Natalie Dormer in Picnic at Hanging Rock.

FremantleMedia Australia’s Picnic at Hanging Rock will premiere on Foxtel’s showcase channel and on Foxtel on Demand at 8.30 pm on Sunday May 6.

The first two episodes of the re-imagining of Joan Lindsay’s novel will open the Berlinale Series on February 19 at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Scripted by Beatrix Christian and Alice Addison and produced by Brett Popplewell, the 6-part drama stars Natalie Dormer, Lola Bessis, Yael Stone, Anna McGahan and rising stars Lily Sullivan, Samara Weaving, Madeleine Madden and Ruby Rees.

Dormer plays English headmistress Mrs Hester Appleyard in the drama which revolves around the mysterious disappearances of three schoolgirls and one teacher on Valentine’s Day 1900.

The directors are Larysa Kondracki, Michael Rymer and Amanda Brotchie. FremantleMedia International has sold the show co-funded by Screen Australia and Film Victoria to Amazon Prime Video in the US, the BBC, France’s Canal+ and Kiwi satcaster Sky’s premium entertainment channel SoHo.

Foxtel executive director of TV Brian Walsh said: “The fascination with Picnic at Hanging Rock continues to captivate people around the world and we are delighted to bring the world premiere of this iconic Australian story to Foxtel subscribers.

“It is a watershed moment for the talented creatives involved and testament to Foxtel’s unwavering commitment to Australian storytelling.

“The reaction we have received from broadcasters and video platforms in many countries is an enormous boost of confidence for our local industry and paves the way for the Australian film and television community to take its skills and expertise to audiences around the globe.”

FMA director of drama Jo Porter, who was one of the executive producers, describes Picnic as the company’s first “internationally-facing” drama production made in Australia.

“We want to make projects on home ground using Australian talent. We have optioned a few books. This is the first of what we hope will be many more of these ambitious projects.”

Also in Berlin, episodes of Closer Productions’ comedy F***ing Adelaide, Roadshow Rough Diamond’s Romper Stomper and Matchbox Pictures’ Safe Harbour (which premieres on SBS on March 7) will screen as part of the Drama Series Days.



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