The show, which had its world premiere at the festival this weekend, marks the first series for the international networks group.

When Sony Pictures Television Networks world premiered Absentia at the Monte Carlo Television Festival over the weekend, it wasn’t just the first episode of the FBI thriller — it was the first show developed by the group that operates branded channels around the world.

“This is the first time that we fully developed, fully funded and produced a venture,” said SPTN executive vp production Marie Jacobson.

It’s a new strategy for the multichannel networks group, which has been airing American procedurals and dramas on its international networks, including Sony Networks and AXN, for two decades.

“Frankly, for us to go and commission our own original content, we really do have to look at new and different ways to make that happen. Absentia is the embodiment of that strategy,” said Jacobson.

The show — part thriller and part procedural with a touch of Nordic noir — stars Stana Katic (Castle) as an FBI agent who returns six years after being kidnapped. The show is set to air on the networks group’s AXN channel around the world and Showcase in Canada, and is seeking a U.S. home after debuting to buyers at L.A. Screenings.

“We’ve been able to create a show that is produced in a nontraditional manner and that speaks to our flexibility as a studio, our global focus and our ability to be collaborative and smart in terms of the way in which we can leverage the power of the networks group and the power of the distribution group,” said Sony Pictures Television president distribution Keith LeGoy.

The studio took an international approach to the series, casting actors from as far away as Uruguay and Mexico. Absentia is produced by Israel’s Masha TV, the team behind Homeland’s Israeli original, and directed by Oded Ruskin (False Flag). It was shot on an indie film schedule over 62 days in Bulgaria (standing in for Boston), a set that Katic says was the most collaborative she’s ever worked on.

“It came down to the style of set that Sony set up; they set up a real collaborative system,” said the actress. “I feel like this branch of Sony was open to collaboration in a new way because they are new at developing content.”

The character was a physical challenge for Katic, who spends several scenes beat up and bloodied, and she also performed most of her own stunts in one of Bulgaria’s coldest winters in years.

“The country added value to the story because we had locations that were unusual. They felt like Boston but not entirely, and there is this tone to the country that added to the color and feel of the story, to the thriller and suspense element of it. The untouched natural space that we could get in Bulgaria really created a kind of edginess,” she added.

As for the demise of the procedural, LeGoy pronounces any diagnosis too soon. “Traditional broadcasters have been telling us that they need those kind of incredibly powerful procedurals that have worked for decades,” he said. “Procedural dramas will always have an incredibly important place for broadcasters on their schedules and in their investment strategies.”

For SPTN, it is doubling down on the new strategy — it already has a second show starring a well-known American actor in the works.

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Home > Public Appearances > 2017 > 57th Monte Carlo TV Festival: Opening Ceremony

AbsentiaSeries: Is it safe here?
 


 


AbsentiaSeries: Holding on to this moment with him. #ABSENTIA
 

Presumed to have fallen victim to a suspected serial killer she was investigating, FBI agent Emily Byrne (Stana Katic) is found alive six years after her disappearance. Suffering from almost complete amnesia of her time in captivity, Emily faces the daunting task of searching for answers as to who held her and why, while trying to reconnect with a family that has started a new life without her. Emily finds some emotional success in reconnecting with her family and friends after such a long absence but her quest for answers related to her captivity is a minefield of challenges, which threaten to destroy the life she is rebuilding. Fearful of the threat these challenges pose to her family’s safety she distances herself from them and like a lone wolf takes off in her hunt for answers where she discovers along the way that you can never outrun your shadows, no matter how fast or hard you try.
– Written by Sony Pictures Television Networks

Source: IMDB

This morning, we got a little bit of an unexpected surprise while covering the upfront for Corus up in Canada: An Absentia trailer.

Before we dive into it, here are a few things to note: Alas, we don’t have any video to share. If we were to share it, we would probably disappear in a way similar to Stana Katic’s Emily Byrne. We’re also going to be hesitant to get into too many details at this time. That’ll come, guys! Have no fear.

The big impression that we want to give is that the first real footage we saw of the series was wonderfully atmospheric, haunting, and powerful. The entire premise of the show was laid out: Emily was gone for an extended period of time, and in that time the life for her husband Nick Durand was changed. You get a sense of his old life, and how he learns that Emily is still alive. Many of the images that you’ve seen in promotional art for the show to date will come into play in some shape or form. The same goes for some of the quotes that you may have heard to date. Everyone who’s been behind the promotional campaign for the show to date has been very intelligent and deliberate with what they’ve chosen to say.

It’s hard to judge an entire series based solely on a clip, one that we weren’t exactly able to watch too many times consecutively. What we can say, though, is that Absentia looks like it will be a really entertaining, addicting drama. Obviously if you loved Katic on Castle, you’re going to love her here and then some since she’ll be at the forefront for so much of the material. Beyond that, this show should appeal to those of you who love tales of identity where the mystery lasts a little bit longer than a single episode. It was a very solid trailer — obviously, it got the basic idea of the show out there for those who may not have heard about it previously, but it also made it clear that this is going to be a layered drama with some great characters and many reasons for Katic to attract new fans. It’s also pretty stunning visually, as well.

Eventually, we do think an official trailer will be released publicly, but it may be somewhat different than what we saw (which was mostly for the sake of showing Canadian advertisers). Absentia will air on Showcase in Canada this fall.

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You can find the HQ version of the official Absentia poster in our gallery, as well as some photos of the poster hanging at Sony Pictures Studios in LA.



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Stana came back to Twitter last week after some time away and did 10 Questions about Absentia. You can see the Q&A below!

@fallforstana: scale from 1-10 how excited are you for us to see Absentia??
@Stana_Katic: 1. 11,000        #ABSENTIA

@katicsjauregui: How was filming in Bulgaria?
@Stana_Katic: 2. Truly amazing. Fantastic people & food. Beautiful nature. #ABSENTIA 

@BiaBertechini: What do you think about coming to Brazil to promote #Absentia?
We would love to see you here
xoxo, bia.
@Stana_Katic: 3. Thinking about it.  #ABSENTIA #StanasTen

????

@princessmarfie: what is the most embarrassing / memorable experience during a shooting? #StanasTen
@Stana_Katic: 4. There are many, but 1 was when @TheNeilJackson took @heusinger & I along with friends to an AMAZING Bulgarian escape room #ABSENTIA 

@beckettsmoak: can you describe #Absentia in one word??
@Stana_Katic: 5. Family #ABSENTIA #StanasTen 

@flowering_rebel: How many episodes of #absentia will there be?
@Stana_Katic: 6. Ten #ABSENTIA #StanasTen 

@rawrkatic: how was it to work with this cute baby?

@Stana_Katic: 7. Super easy. He was a pro. Knew all his lines & he was in character the whole time.  #ABSENTIA #StanasTen

(deleted tweet) Describe Emily in 3 emojis.
@Stana_Katic: 8.

@woride: What am i missing here ???? Question 9 & 10. Did you fall asleep on us ?

@Stana_Katic: no… it’s just hard giving no. 10 without revealing a MAJOR spoiler. #YourQuestionsAreTooGood !! #ABSENTIA #StanasTen

@cutiekbex: what do you thing about the Absentia cast?
@Stana_Katic: Proud of them. Everyone brought their A-game. It was a real pleasure working alongside this talented group. @AbsentiaSeries #ABSENTIA 

@Maha_K4: Can you tell us when #Absentia will premiere ??
@Stana_Katic: 10. Different start dates in different countries. This week we do Panels & industry Screenings in LA. #ABSENTIA @AbsentiaSeries



 

Monaco, 9 May, 2017

Laurent Puons, CEO of the 57th Monte-Carlo Television Festival (16th – 20th June) announced today that Sony Pictures Television Networks’ much anticipated new thriller series Absentia, starring Stana Katic (Castle) will open this year’s event.

Representing a global premiere, this exclusive screening of the first episode of Absentia will follow the star-studded Opening Ceremony, during which H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, the Festival’s Honorary President, will officially open the 57th edition of the Festival. Prior to the event, members of Absentia’s cast and crew will join a host of acting and production talent from around the world on the red carpet. A Sony Pictures Television Networks Original Series produced by Masha Productions, ten-part drama Absentia is set to make its broadcast debut this fall on select Sony networks, including AXN. Sony Pictures Television is handling distribution for the show worldwide.

Laurent Puons, CEO of the Monte-Carlo Television Festival, said, «I’m thrilled to announce that our 57th edition will open with the global premiere of this exceptional series. Sony Pictures Television Networks and AXN are renowned throughout the world for delivering high-profile, buzzworthy drama. With its acclaimed cast and crew, alongside its intriguing premise, I’m certain Absentia will prove a huge hit with international audiences – and I’m delighted to host its worldwide debut as part of our extensive line-up of prestigious events»

Absentia stars Stana Katic (Castle), Patrick Heusinger (Jack Reacher), Angel Bonanni (Shots Fired), Neil Jackson (Sleepy Hollow), Cara Theobold (Downton Abbey), Bruno Bichir (Narcos), Ralph Ineson (The Witch) and Richard Brake (Game of Thrones). While hunting one of Boston’s most notorious serial killers, FBI agent Emily Byrne (Katic) disappears without a trace and is declared dead. Six years later, she is found in a cabin in the woods, barely alive, with no memory of what happened to her while she was in captivity. Returning home to learn that her husband (Heusinger) has remarried and her son is being raised by another woman, Emily soon finds herself implicated in a new series of murders.

Executive Producer and Director of Absentia is Oded Ruskin (False Flag), alongside Executive Producers Maria Feldman (False Flag, Fauda), Stana Katic, Matt Cirulnick and Julie Glucksman. The series is based on a pilot script originally written by Gaia Violo.

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In further Monte-Carlo TV Fest news, Sony Pictures Television Networks’ new thriller Absentia has been set to open the event in its world premiere. Starring Stana Katic, the 10-part drama makes its broadcast debut this fall. She plays an FBI agent who disappears and is declared dead while hunting one of Boston’s most notorious serial killers. Six years later, she is found in a cabin in the woods, barely alive, with no memory of what happened to her while she was in captivity. Returning home to learn that her husband (Patrick Heusinger) has remarried and her son is being raised by another woman, she soon finds herself implicated in a new series of murders.

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The official Absentia Twitter account shared the first official photo from the show today, which you can find in HQ in the gallery. Also be sure to check out all the BTS photos that’s been posted on social media for the last several months. According to the Absentia account, the show will not premiere on Crackle in the US as we previously though. They will be making announcements about a US home soon, so be sure to follow them for the quickest updates!


Home > TV Shows > Absentia > Episode Stills
 
 
 

Home > TV Shows > Absentia > Behind the Scenes

This is some pretty exciting news!! Not only will we get Stana back on our screens, but the plot itself sounds very interesting!

Stana Katic is returning to television. The former Castle star is in final negotiations to play the lead in Absentia, a 10-episode straight-to-series crime thriller greenlighted by Sony Pictures Television Networks’ AXN.

Produced by Tel Aviv-based Masha Productions, the series will begin filming early next year for a 2017 premiere on AXN’s worldwide channels. Sony Pictures Television will handle distribution in the U.S., where the show is yet to be shopped, and outside of AXN’s channel footprint.

Written/executive produced by Matt Cirulnick (South Beach), based on a pilot script originally written by Gaia Violo, Absentia centers on an FBI agent, to be played by Katic. While hunting one of Boston’s most notorious serial killers, the FBI agent disappears without a trace and is declared dead. Six years later, she is found in a cabin in the woods, barely alive and with no memory of the years she was missing. Returning home to learn her husband has remarried and her son is being raised by another woman, she soon finds herself implicated in a new series of murders.

Oded Ruskin, known for the hit Israeli series False Flag, will direct all ten episodes of the series. Riskin also will produce with Masha TV’s Maria Feldman (Homeland, False Flag), Ruskin and Julie Glucksman.

Absentia is the perfect blend of crime thriller and character-driven drama for the AXN audience,” said Marie Jacobson, EVP, Programming and Production at Sony Pictures TV Networks. “With a strong lead, Matt’s writing, and Oded’s direction, we have a signature series packed with suspense, surprise and emotional turns that feels distinctly AXN, and has great global potential,” said Jacobson.

Sony’s AXN networks broadcast in Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe, with a programming slate focused on action, crime and mystery.  The networks’ most recent drama series commissions include Hannibal, starring Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy, and Crossing Lines, with Donald Sutherland and Goran Visnjic.

Katic is coming off an eight-season stint as fan-favorite Kate Beckett on ABC’s Castle, which earned her three People’s Choice Awards. Her most recent feature, The Rendezvous, just had a special screening at the Mill Valley Festival. Katic, who also produces through her own company, Sine Timore Films, is repped by Gersh and Principal Entertainment LA.

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