“Stalk,” Simon Bouisson’s timely French show tackling cyber spying and bullying, has lured a flurry of top TV channels across the world.
Produced by Priscilla Bertin and Judith Nora at Silex Films, the half-hour psychological thriller series was a big hit on France Televisions’s platform Slash and later aired on the broadcaster’s linear channel France 2 in the slot following “Call My Agent!” South Korea’s Navel picked up season one. The second season, which won best half-hour series and best music (for Paul Sabin) at La Rochelle TV Festival, recently premiered.
FranceTV Distribution, the commercial arm of the broadcaster, has sold the first two seasons to HB0 Latin America, GSN in Russia and Shahid in the Middle East. The second season has been picked up by WDR and Sony in Germany, Rai Play in Italy and Ici tou.tv in Canada.
Bouisson, who previously helmed the critically acclaimed web series “Wei or Die,” co-created the series with Jean-Charles Paugam and Victor Rodenbach. “Stalk” follows the rise and fall of Lux, an 18 year-old geek who got hazed during his first days at a prestigious engineering school and sets off to take his revenge against those who made fun of him by cyber-stalking them and hacking their phones and computers. The second season unfolds during Lux’s third year in the engineering school, when he has to face a mysterious stalker known as the “White Duke” who seems to have a grudge against him.
“The series has struck a chord because it addresses some hot topics such as cyber spying and stalking using social media and our personal devices, as well as new tools like Deep Fake,” said Bertin, adding that “Stalk” also highlights “the mechanism of harassment where a victim can become a perpetrator and reversely.”
The producer said “Stalk” was created to look different from traditional French series, with a college campus that could be from anywhere and characters that are universally relatable.
Julia Schulte, head of France TV Distribution, said the series’s “look and feel” has contributed to its wide appeal.
“We’ve done more and bigger deals on ‘Stalk’ than on series that have high profile stars and larger budgets,” said Schulte. The executive added that TV channels are positioning the show for broad audiences rather than just young adults and teens. “Adults are increasingly concerned about these issues, either because they are parents or because they’ve been hearing about these themes,” she added.
“Stalk” boasts a strong cast of emerging talent, including Théo Fernandez, Aloïse Sauvage, Carmen Kassovitz, Pablo Cobo, Yasin Houicha, Rio Vega, Manon Valentin, Zoé Heran, Vanessa Guide and Riadh Belaïche, among others. Some well-known actors also star, notably Clément Sibony, Nicolas Cazalé and Arthur Benzaquen.
“One of the things we love doing with series is discovering young new talent and we’ve developed a great pool with ‘Stalk’ — many actors have seen their careers take off since season one,” said Bertin.
Silex’s previous credits include “Connasse,” the short format series which gave Camille Cottin, the star of “Call My Agent!” and “Stillwater,” her breakthrough role in 2012.
The company’s current slate includes “Rose,” Aurélie Saada’s film with Françoise Fabian, Aure Atika and Grégory Montel whose French release is set for Dec.8. Sold by Kinology, movie premiered at Locarno and has been acquired by Cohen Media Group for North American distribution.
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