Berlin premieres for ‘Stateless’ and ‘Mystery Road 2’

'Stateless'. (Photo: Ben E King)

Cate Blanchett in ‘Stateless.’ (Photo: Ben King).

The first two episodes of Matchbox Pictures’ Stateless and the second series of Bunya Productions’ Mystery Road will have their world premieres at the sixth edition of the Berlin International Film Festival’s Berlinale Series.

In addition, Goalpost’s Dark Victory from writer-director Matthew Saville is among eight titles selected for the Co-Pro Series 2020, which seeks to link projects with international partners.

Adapted from the book by David Marr and Marian Wilkinson, Dark Victory is the story of the Howard government’s refusal to allow Norwegian frieghter Tampa, with hundreds of mainly Afghan refugees on board, to enter Christmas Island.

The Berlinale Series line-up consists of eight series from around the world including Damien Chazelle’s Paris-set musical-drama The Eddy for Netflix, Jason Segel’s AMC series Dispatches from Elswehere and the BBC-HBO Max’s Trigonometry.

“An abundance of topics and narrative forms sets the tone of the program as well the overdue representation of different communities, sexual identities and new perspectives on the world we live in,” the festival says.

Yvonne Strahovski, Jai Courtney, Fayssal Bazzi and Asher Keddie star in Stateless, the six-part detention centre drama co-created by Cate Blanchett, Tony Ayres and Elise McCredie.

Premiering on the ABC and iview on March 1 at 8.40pm, the series was directed by Emma Freeman and Jocelyn Moorhouse, scripted by showrunner McCredie and Belinda Chayko and produced by Sheila Jayadev and Paul Ranford.

Strahovski plays an airline hostess who is escaping a cult-like self-improvement group, with Bazzi as an Afghan refugee fleeing persecution. Courtney is a young Australian father escaping a dead-end job and Keddie is a bureaucrat who is caught up in a national scandal.

In her first Australian TV role since Rake in 2014, Blanchett plays one of the leaders of the self-improvement group along with her husband (Dominic West).

Stateless is a Matchbox Pictures and Dirty Films production with major production investment from Screen Australia and the ABC and support from the SAFC.

Yvonne Strahovski in ‘Stateless’ (Photo: Ben King).

Directed by Warwick Thornton and Wayne Blair, Mystery Road 2 follows Aaron Pedersen’s detective Jay Swan as a headless corpse is discovered while he has to contend with protests against the excavation of an Indigenous site.

Swedish actress Sofia Helin (The Bridge) plays archaeologist Professor Sondra Elmquist. The supporting cast includes Jada Alberts, Callan Mulvey, Tasma Walton, Rob Collins, Ngaire Pigram, Mark Mitchinson, Ursula Yovich, Rhimi Johnson, Gary Sweet, Fletcher Humphrys, Joel Jackson, John Brumpton, Eve Morey and Tasia Zalar.

Produced by David Jowsey and Greer Simpkin, the series is script produced by Blake Ayshford and written by Steven McGregor, Ayshford, Kodie Bedford, Timothy Lee and Danielle MacLean.

Mystery Road 2 is produced by Bunya Productions and Dark Matter Media with funding from Screen Australia’s Indigenous department, Screenwest, the Western Australian Regional Film Fund supported by Royalties for Regions and Create NSW in association with all3media International, which handles international sales.

Berlinale Series runs from February 24-27 in the Berlin Zoo Palast. The full program:

C’est comme ça que je t’aime (Happily Married)
Creator: François Létourneau
Showrunner: Joanne Forgues
Director: Jean-François Rivard
with François Létourneau, Patrice Robitaille, Marylin Castonguay, Karine Gonthier-Hydman, Sophie Desmarais
Broadcaster: Radio-Canada Télé, Tou.Tv Extra
World premiere
Episodes 1 and 2 of 10, in total 86’

Huguette and Gaétan, Serge and Micheline send their kids off for three weeks of camp. Alone with their partners, things quickly turn uncomfortable and the facades get huge cracks. Who slept with whom, who is on whose conscience? Marriage, Suburbia, hell in Quebec 1974.

Dispatches from Elsewhere
Creator: Jason Segel
Directors: Jason Segel (Ep. 1), Wendey Stanzler (Ep. 2)
with Jason Segel, Eve Lindley, Sally Field, André Benjamin, Richard E. Grant
Broadcaster: AMC
World premiere
Episodes 1 and 2 of 10, in total 120’

An enigmatic institute promises the chosen few an escape from everyday life into a world full of beauty and magic. But is this a game, an alternative reality or a conspiracy? And what are Peter, Simone, Janice and Fredwynne risking?

The Eddy
Creator: Jack Thorne
Directors: Damien Chazelle (Ep. 1-2), Houda Benyamina (Ep. 3-4), Laila Marrakchi (Ep. 5-6), Alan Poul (Ep. 7-8)
with André Holland, Joanna Kulig, Amandla Stenberg, Tahar Rahim, Leila Bekhti, Adil Dehbi, Benjamin Biolay
Broadcaster: Netflix
World premiere
Episodes 1 and 2 of 8, in total 136’

Bandleader Elliot is improvising his way through a complex score of problems: his Parisian jazz club ‘The Eddy’ isn’t doing too well. Ruthless debt collectors are breathing down his neck. And then his teenage daughter Julie arrives from New York.

Austria / Germany / Czech Republic
Director: Marvin Kren
with Robert Finster, Ella Rumpf, Georg Friedrich, Christoph Krutzler, Brigitte Kren, Anja Kling, Philipp Hochmair, Noah Saavedra
Broadcaster: ORF, Netflix
World premiere
Episodes 1-3 of 8, in total 167’

Vienna, 1886: restless, high on cocaine and striving for recognition, young Sigmund Freud embarks on a nerve-wracking, hypnotic trip into the depths of the human soul with a mysterious medium and a traumatised policeman.

Mystery Road 2
Creator: Ivan Sen
Directors: Warwick Thornton, Wayne Blair
with Aaron Pedersen, Jada Alberts, Sofia Helin, Callan Mulvey
Broadcaster: Australian Broadcasting Corporation
World premiere
Episode 1 and 2 of 6, in total 110’

A headless corpse is found floating by the shore in a remote outback town. As if this weren’t mysterious enough, Detective Swan and his colleague Fran have to contend with protests against the excavation of an Indigenous site. And then another body turns up.

Creator: Clara Mendes
Director: Amalie Næsby Fick
with Asta Kamma August, Jonathan Bergholdt Jørgensen, Nina Terese Rask, Sara Fanta Traore
Broadcaster: TV 2 Denmark
International premiere
Complete short-form series, 6 episodes, in total 77’

At the call centre, Cathrine gives advice on sex and love, but is herself at a loss. After a kiss, she wants more from her colleague Selma. Her boyfriend Simon feels that what’s little is actually plenty. But what if that’s not enough?

Creators: Cate Blanchett, Elise McCredie, Tony Ayres
Directors: Emma Freeman (Ep. 1-3), Jocelyn Moorhouse (Ep. 4-6)
with Yvonne Strahovski, Jai Courtney, Asher Keddie, Fayssal Bazzi, Dominic West, Cate Blanchett
Broadcaster: Australian Broadcasting Corporation
World premiere
Episode 1 and 2 of 6, in total 107’

Escape, disappear, start over. Behind barbed wire in the Australian desert, the world comes together in a dramatic way for four very different people. Is home a place? Or a trauma? What if you’re not even in the position to dream about it?


United Kingdom
Creators: Duncan Macmillan, Effie Woods
Directors: Athina Rachel Tsangari (Ep. 1-5), Stella Corradi (Ep. 6-8)
with Ariane Labed, Thalissa Teixeira, Gary Carr
Broadcasters: BBC2, HBO Max (USA)
World premiere
Episodes 1-5 of 8, in total 220’

London, the present: Gemma is a chef, Kieran a paramedic and Ray, who moves in with the young couple, is at a loss. They fall in love, each with the other and all together. Can this possibly work out? Or might it actually be the best thing that could ever happen to them?