Disney+ Original ‘The Good Mothers’ Scoops Berlinale Series Award

A buzz title at Berlinale Series and one of Disney+’s early big plays in Southern Europe, U.K.-Italian mafia series “The Good Mothers” walked off on Wednesday night with the Berlin Festival’s inaugural Berlinale Series Award.

A large virtue of the series is to come in at the mafia from a novel angle: a real story of women who dare to defy the Italian mob.

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The title forms part of the first European slate by new Disney+ international streaming service Star. It tells how bosses at the the Calabrian mob were targeted by a female prosecutor thanks to the collaboration of three women inside the ‘Ndrangheta organized crime clan.

“The Good Mothers” brings large production pedigree to the table both from the U.K. and Italy, being produced by Juliette Howell, Tessa Ross and Harriet Spencer for London’s House Productions, which originated the project, and by Mario Gianani and Lorenzo Gangarossa for Rome’s Wildside, a Fremantle company.

Wildside’s credits include “My Brilliant Friend,” Paolo Sorrentino’s “The New Pope” and Luca Guadagnino’s “We Are Who We Are.”

Based on a book by U.K.-based journalist Alex Perry and adapted for the screen by Stephen Butchard (“Bagdad Central,” “The Last Kingdom”), the series is lead-directed by the U.K.’s Julian Jarrold (“The Crown”) and by emerging Italian director Elisa Amoruso (“Chiara Ferragni: Unposted”).

Former Yes Studios boss Danna Stern, “Moonlight” star André Holland and Danish writer Mette Heeno, behind DR smash hit “Carmen Curlers” comprised the Award’s jury.

“The Good Mothers” captured us with its multilayered characters that have been treated with care and allowed to evolve before our very eyes. We were moved, anxious and at times, breathless,” said Stern.

“This project has been so special to us. These women existed, some of them are still with us, some unfortunately are not. This award will give them a voice, because they have been so brave. Probably it will help us to fight this local mafia too, one that doesn’t just exist in Italy,” said Amoruso.

Also scoring on Wednesday night, Kerren Lumer-Klabbers’ ‘The Architect,’ a Viaplay title from Nordisk Film Production, took  a special mention for its story of an Oslo architect, Julie, who comes up with the idea of convert underground car parks into residential buildings.

“By placing ‘The Architect’ in the future, we have the freedom to enhance and enlarge trends in our society today,” Lumer-Klabbers told Variety.

The jury praised the show as being “innovative, distinct, efficient.”

Launched by the Berlin Festival and backed by Deadline Hollywood, the first Berlinale Series Award was seen, like the section itself at one of the biggest festivals in the world, as a further step towards artistic recognition for drama series.

“It feels like we have arrived,” Dana Stern noted. “I speak for the television industry at large. To be given the opportunity to showcase your work on such a prestigious stage, an international festival at this level, is phenomenal and really groundbreaking. I hope it’s just the start.”

The jurors said they were blown away by “the depth and diversity” of the inaugural competition. “For real: When I say it wasn’t easy, it wasn’t easy. The conversation was robust, it was dynamic. It’s a testament to the work you did,” laughed Holland.

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