Fremantle Scores Major Disney Plus Deal, Slew of Sales, on Sicily-Set Viral Contagion Skein ‘Anna’

Italian writer-director Niccolò Ammaniti’s dystopian drama “Anna,” centered on a 13-year-old girl who must contend with a viral contagion that kills off all adults on the island of Sicily, has been sold by Fremantle to over 30 territories, including a multi-territory deal with Disney Plus for key European markets.

The Sky Original production, produced by Fremantle’s Wildside and co-produced by ARTE France, the New Life Company and Kwaï, is now set to launch on Disney Plus in the U.K. and Ireland as well as Spain, Portugal, France, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Fremantle had previously announced that the six-part series will launch in the U.S. on AMC Plus on Nov. 18.

Several other global broadcast partners have also boarded “Anna” including TV3 Group (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), Cosmote TV and Hellenic (Greece), Go PLC and Melita (Malta), Manoto TV (Middle East and North Africa), Canal Plus (Poland), Amedia TV Channels (Russia and CIS), BluTV (Turkey), MOLA TV (Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore), Watcha (Korea) and Videotron (French speaking Canada).

The slew of deals for “Anna” mark a major coup for an Italian drama in the international TV arena.

In “Anna,” which launched internationally from the Series Mania TV festival last month after airing in Italy on Sky, newcomer Giulia Dragotto, who is a 14-year-old from Palermo, plays the tenacious and bold Anna who sets out in search of her kidnapped little brother, Astor. Her search takes place among burnt fields and mysterious woods, ruins of shopping centers and abandoned cities, within the great deserted spaces of the island of Sicily, where a virus has killed almost all adults, among wild communities of survivors. Anna has as her guide a notebook that her dead mother left her.

The series is based on the eponymous novel by Ammaniti, who is among Italy’s top writers and whose books have been translated in many countries including the U.S.

“These children can grow up until puberty, until they develop several types of hormones that activate the virus. At that point they will rapidly die a bit like with COVID-19, let’s say, after suffering respiratory failure,” Ammaniti said in an interview with Variety.

“So the premise is to narrate a strange biological dystopia, since there are no races made up only of children. The question I asked myself is: ‘Let’s imagine a world that has never existed in the history of humanity: a world in which there are only children. What is their survival strategy. What do they do?”

Jamie Lynn, executive VP of co-production and distribution at Fremantle International, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Disney and many other broadcasters to bring Anna to audiences across the world.

“Niccolò is a master storyteller and has assembled incredible talent both behind and in front of the camera to bring his visionary tale to life. With astonishing production values, this visually stunning adaptation of a much-loved novel raises universal issues of love, loss, heartbreak and hope. We can’t wait for audiences to be captivated by Anna’s story.”

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