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SVT commissions Apple Tree Productions’ event tv series Blackwater

SVT commissions Apple Tree Productions’ event tv series Blackwater based on Kerstin Ekman’s multi award-winning crime novel

A coproduction with ARD Degeto and Filmpool Nord distributed internationally by ITV Studios

EUROPEAN FILM MARKET, Berlin, 26 February 2020 – SVT has commissioned a major six-part TV adaptation of Kerstin Ekman’s multi award-winning* crime novel, Blackwater from Apple Tree Productions. The event series will be coproduced with ARD Degeto in Germany and Filmpool Nord, supported by the MEDIA Programme of the European Union and distributed internationally by ITV Studios.

International Emmy® and BAFTA award winning CEO of Apple Tree Productions, former Head of Drama at DR and producer of The Killing Piv Bernth will lead production. Blackwater will be adapted for television as a landmark, premium crime drama series by Maren Louise Käehne (Queen of Hearts, The Bridge, Borgen) and directed by Pernilla August (The Legacy, A Serious Game). Marek Wieser (Darling, Tigers, The Violin Player) will serve as Director of Photography and Oscar winning Anna Asp (Fanny and Alexander, Wallander) will handle production design.

Originally published in Sweden in 1993, Blackwater has since become available in 25 countries and the drama has pre-sold to DR in Denmark, NRK in Norway, YLE in Finland and RUV in Iceland. The story begins on a Midsummer night in 1970, when two tourists are found murdered in a tent, far up in the mountains of North Sweden, near the small town of Blackwater. The incident intersects four random people’s lives, intertwining their destinies for better and for worse.

Blackwater is a powerful and compelling story, filled with unique, intriguing characters and many spectacular events, told through multiple points of view. Its setting - the log-filled Scandinavian forests - matches perfectly the ominous sense of foreboding that permeates the plot.

Anna Cronemann, Head of Drama at SVT, said:

“Developing a novel as iconic as Blackwater into a series, inevitably means taking a huge risk. But with a beautiful script by Maren Louise Käehne, Piv Bernth producing and Pernilla August as Director, I’m certain we’re about to make something quite extraordinary. I’m also thrilled about the collaboration with ARD."

Sebastian Lückel, Head of Acquisitions and Coproductions at ARD Degeto, said:

“With the pedigree of the team behind this project and an outstanding plot we simply could not say no to this collaboration with SVT. We have great trust in the taste and ability of Piv Bernth, Maren Louise Käehne and Pernilla August to deliver something truly amazing that will entertain our audience on all platforms.”

Piv Bernth, CEO Appletree Productions, said:

"We are so proud to be the company that gets to make a landmark TV series of this iconic novel and feel lucky to be working with the incredibly talented writer Maren Louise Käehne and director Pernilla August in bringing this story to the screen. Together with our partners, SVT, ARD Degeto, Filmpool Nord and ITV Studios we are so much looking forward to presenting the series to Swedish, Nordic and international audiences.”

Sandra Warg, CEO Filmpool Nord, said:

“It is truly a great privilege to be a co-producer of this project adapted from an outstanding novel. This is a local story aimed for the global market. All the creative powers behind the TV series ensure the best prerequisites for a successful outcome, and I am really excited that Norrbotten will be a part of this - offering, among other assets, the vast and uniquely suggestive surroundings of our Arctic region.”

Ruth Berry, Managing Director of Distribution, ITV Studios said:

"We're really excited to take Blackwater to market. It’s a gripping internationally renowned story, recreated by a team of leaders in their fields and backed by three committed partners from the outset. We couldn't be more delighted to represent Blackwater on the world stage at a time when demand for European drama is going from strength to strength."

Blackwater is the second production from ITV Studios-backed Apple Tree Productions following Equinox, a character-driven supernatural thriller series of 6 x 45 mins., currently shooting in Copenhagen for Netflix. The series has been developed with the support of Creative Europe – MEDIA Programme of the European Union.

* Blackwater was awarded the Swedish Publishers Association’s August Prize 1993, the Swedish Crime Writers Academy Prize 1993 and The Nordic Council of Ministers’ Literature Prize in 1994.


About Apple Tree Productions

Apple Tree Productions is a production company established in Denmark and In Sweden, which develops and produces high quality drama series for Nordic and international audiences.

The company was founded by Lars Hermann and Piv Bernth, who were behind international successes like The Killing, The Legacy, Follow the Money, The Bridge, Liberty and Ride Upon the Storm. Backed by ITV Studios, Apple Tree Productions pursues ideas big and small nationally as well as internationally.

Sveriges Television (SVT) is the Swedish public service television company with the widest range of programming of all TV companies in Sweden. Our vision is to contribute to a more inquisitive, informed Sweden. Our aim is to create content that engages, entertains and enriches - in the service of the public. SVT is together with the public service radio (SR) the most trusted Swedish media and enjoys a very good support from the Swedish TV audience.


ARD Degeto is a wholly owned subsidiary of ARD. Its shareholders are the nine German regional broadcasters and their advertising subsidiaries. ARD Degeto acquires fictional programs for the ARD collective program ‘Das Erste’, for the ‘Third Program’ of the German regional broadcasters (BR, HR, MDR, NDR, Radio Bremen, RBB, SR, SWR, and WDR), and for 3sat, ARTE, ONE, telemedia and the other ARD special-interest channels. Programs are acquired through contract and co-productions as well as license purchases of feature and television films plus shows with editorial responsibility. In addition, Degeto offers contractual and administrative services for ARD collective productions and institutional acquisitions. It is also responsible for the management of program content and its delivery to ARD.

ITV Studios
ITV Studios is a creator, producer and distributor of world-leading programmes that people can’t get enough of. We connect millions of people every day and shape and reflect the world they live in, we are More Than TV. ITV Studios is home to some of the best creative minds, crafting over 8,900 hours of original programming across 55 production labels. Our global footprint spans 13 countries including the UK, US, Australia, France, Germany, The Nordics, Italy and the Netherlands and our global distribution business sells our catalogue of 46,000+ hours to broadcasters and platforms around the world.

ITV Studios is part of ITV PLC, which includes the UK’s largest commercial broadcaster.