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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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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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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EXCLUSIVE: Stana Katic has been cast opposite Pretty Little Liars star Shay Mitchell in Cadaver, the Screen Gems horror movie from Broken Road Productions. Grey Damon, Louis Herthum, Nick Thune, Max McNamara, Jacob Ming-Trent and Kirby Johnson have also joined the pic, which is being directed by Diederik Van Rooijen from Brian Sieve’s script.

Cadaver centers on Megan Reed (Mitchell), an ex-cop and recovering alcoholic who takes a graveyard shift at the morgue in the hospital where she got sober and uncovers more than she bargained for. Katic will play a nurse at the hospital who is sponsor to Mitchell’s character and arranged for the new job.

Sean Robins and Todd Garner are producing for Broken Road. Screen Gems’ Michael Bitar who brought in the project, and Scott Strauss will oversee for the studio.

It’s the latest news in a big week for Katic, who just wrapped eight seasons playing Kate Beckett on ABC’s Castle. As Deadline reported Wednesday, she 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. Her most recent feature,The Rendezvous, just had a special screening at the Mill Valley Festival. She is repped by Gersh and Principal Entertainment LA.

Damon (Aquarius) is repped by Paradigm and Thirdhill Entertainment. Herthum (Westworld) is repped by AKA Talent Agency. Thune (Dreamland) is repped by CAA. McNamara (Boyhood) is repped by Collier Talent Agency. Ming-Trent (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) is repped by Talent House. Newcomer Johnson is with Michael Wallach Management and Gar Lester Agency.

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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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Lifetime has picked up TV rights to the indie pic “Sister Cities,” starring Jacki Weaver, Stana Katic, Jess Weixler, Michelle Trachtenberg and Troian Bellisario.

The drama tells the story of four estranged sisters who are brought together by their mother’s death. It’s set to bow on the cabler Sept. 17. Amy Smart, Alfred Molina and Tom Everett Scott also star.

The project comes from director-producer Sean Hanish and the same team that produced the Emmy-nominated “Return to Zero,” which aired on Lifetime in 2014.

“Our goal with ‘Sister Cities’ has always been to get the film in front of as many people as possible, and Lifetime has proved to be the preeminent network to reach viewers who love films with strong female characters and performances,” said director-producer Sean Hanish. “After the overwhelming success of ‘Return to Zero’ on Lifetime, we’re thrilled to partner with the `Fempire’ a second time with ‘Sister Cities.’ ”

Colette Freedman wrote the script, which was based on her play. “Sister Cities” hails from Hanish’s Cannonball Productions and was produced by Hanish, Paul Jaconi-Biery and Eleonore Dailly. Kelly Kahl and Molina are executive producers.

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Stana attended the 25th Annual Environmental Media Association (EMA) Awards this evening. She looks stunning, so check out the photos below! There were also backstage portraits taken, which I added to the photoshoot section.



 
 
Home > Public Appearances > 2015 > 25th Annual Environmental Media Awards
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Stana Katic turned out for the affair in a sequined Naeem Khan jumper. “It’s a little bit rock star-ish, simple, so it felt comfortable and easy for tonight. And tonight feels like a night that you just want to be able to move freely around because there’s a green carpet. So who knows? Might take off the shoes and run around barefoot!” On the set of Castle, Katic says she and her team are constantly researching natural makeup options. “I’m under the lights a lot, so I do try to find products that will be easier on your skin. And so we’re constantly researching and shaking that up.” Right now she’s really into Tarte, Dr. Hauschka, and Cinq Mondes.

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Stana Katic is one half of TV’s favourite couple on Castle, but she’s bonding with a whole new cast on set of her upcoming indie film, Sister Cities.

“I thought that they did a really good job of bringing together some really ballsy chicks,” Stana tells ET Canada from the LA-based film set.

Sister Cities revolves around four estranged sisters who reunite to mourn their mother’s death. It co-stars Troian Bellisario (Pretty Little Liars), Jess Weixler (The Good Wife) and Michelle Trachtenberg (Gossip Girl, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as Stana’s sisters.

“I’ve always wanted sisters,” says Jess, “so it’s kind of a dream come true to get three of them in this movie.”

To make their sisterly bond all the more convincing, the actresses did some real life bonding off screen.

“We filmed in this gorgeous old house that was originally built in 1882,” Michelle explains, “and we all had a sleepover there at night, it was just us and the ghosts.”

Nothing says relationship-building like scary spirits from the afterworld!

“It was very special, and I think you’ll see that on screen,” adds Michelle.

Sister Cities is scheduled for release in 2016.

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Most people who get time off from work use it relax. Since she’s been starring as detective Kate Beckett on the ABC hit show Castle, actress Stana Katic has a tendency to use her hiatus time between seasons to go do another acting job.  For the Castle 2015 hiatus, she used it to do two: The Rendezvous and Sister Cities. Read on to see how these projects fit into the still rising trajectory of this talented & beautiful star.

(…)Artistic processes are all about making choices all the time, and the very act of making a choice is the distilling down and the getting to the core of what it is that you care about and what you want to say, really.

The above quote is from five time Oscar-nominated writer and director Mike Leigh.  This idea of actors making choices in what roles they do may sound unlikely to some.  Don’t actors – especially early on – just take what they can get?  Well, yes and no. In terms of what auditions come their way an actor has no control over it.  However, even early in the game an actor makes decisions on what they will audition for.  (For more on actors choosing roles:www.backstage.com – advice for actors ).

What strikes me about the Katic resume is that there aren’t any roles where she’s just there as eye-candy – and there’s no doubt she’s beautiful enough to play any number of roles that require nothing but the ability to be hot on film.  This speaks to the choices Katic didn’t make when going to audition and makes what she did do a snapshot of what’s been important to her early on as an actress.

In examining her body of acting work and her public persona, one can see Katic doing exactly as Leigh describes. Her work shows a steadily building arc that gives a picture of her not only as an actress, but of her larger artistic sensibility and spirit. These two new projects fit right into this arc, and appear to be creating a point that will allow more of who she is as an actress to shine.

Let’s look at the roles she’s doing in the first of these new projects.

Read More…

Huge congratulations to Stana and Kris! I couldn’t be happier for them and wishing them nothing but the best in their marriage!

Stana Katic is now a married woman!

Over the weekend, the actress, best known for playing Kate Beckett on the ABC series “Castle,” married her longtime boyfriend, business efficiency consultant Kris Brkljac, in a ceremony at a private family monastery on the Dalmatian Coast. For those curious, the coast is located in beautiful Croatia, interestingly not too far from where another TV series in “Game of Thrones” films some of their scenes in Dubrovnik. Her rep sent CarterMatt a simple, but romantic photo, and you can take a look at that below.

Katic has kept her personal life quiet over the years, which has always been a delightfully Old Hollywood stance in a way. We live in an era now where almost everything about a celebrity’s personal life known and frequently shared through social media or news outlets, but she has been able to still maintain a private life. It is a simple reminder that this is still possible for celebrities today to only share what they want to share and keep the rest of their lives private.

“Castle” recently wrapped production on its seventh season, which is what has made it possible for Katic to travel and celebrate her wedding. There is obviously still some uncertainty over the show’s future, but there will be better chances to discuss that in the weeks ahead. For now, let’s just celebrate the big news coming out today from her personal life! Congratulations on your special day and may you have many years of happiness and joy ahead of you with your husband!

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Also confirmed by People & US Weekly

I’ve added two scans to the gallery, of Stana in People Magazine talking about Alternative Travel Project, and a TV Guide article about the next two Castle episodes. Follow the links for full size!

Home > Magazine Scans > People Magazine – April 2015
Home > Magazine Scans > TV Guide – April 2015

Many of us who’ve traveled via public transit have experienced “unpleasant moments,” from irritating delays to foul smells to unwanted attention and inappropriate touching (or much worse). But the percentage of people actually reporting or filing official complaints remains low. Most riders—us included—try to ignore the shenanigans, bury their heads in books and phones or disembark at different stop to avoid getting involved.

But there’s a movement in Los Angeles encouraging riders to speak up. On Monday night Metroand the Alternative Travel Project presented the salon, In Her Shoes: Women in a Car-Free LA From Using The System To Running It at Maker City in DTLA. The event brought together a group of transit officials, riders, policy experts and other interested parties to share resources and information and talk about what can be done so that more people—women, in particular—would feel more empowered to opt for car-free travel.

While the ATP and Metro-sponsored event focused on safety issues, the panelists—led by advocate, actress and ATP founder Stana Katic—also talked about their personal stories of car-free travel and living; discussed upcoming Metro projects; the use of technology; millennials’ attitudes toward public transportation; the health benefits of car-free travel and, most importantly, resources to share and ways the public can get involved to improve the transportation system in Los Angeles.

Here are 8 of the best quotes/takeaways from the event:

Remember that it’s our system. Lindy Lee, deputy CEO of Metro, said that riders can influence and even change routes. People can email Metro or attend public hearings to help determine whether the system is best serving their needs and appropriate locations. “It’s not Metro’s system. It’s your system.”

The last mile is just as crucial as the rest of the trip. Margot Ocanas, pedestrian coordinator for the L.A. Department of Transportation, discussed the need for safe routes for transit riders walking that last bit after disembarking from a bus or train. She talked about engineering improvements and calibrating signals that give a pedestrian a head start in a crosswalk, which can help improve their visibility to drivers.

Public safety tips. Chief Ronene Anda, head of Transit Policing Division, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, offered the audience some practical advice for safely navigating public transportation (“You look lost, you look like a victim.”). She also stressed the reliance on the public to help be the eyes and ears for the LASD. “You can imagine what we could do if we knew about it.”

Technology can make us safer. Anda also touted the use of technology—including 10 cameras on every bus—to help riders feel safe. Anda also directed the audience to check LADOT’s site for real-time bus information and service alerts. She recommended the use Metro’s Transit Watch App, which is an anonymous way for riders to communicate directly to Metro Sheriffs about suspicious activity or ride quality problems at a Metro. She also reiterated the go-to number 888.950.SAFE (7233), which is directly linked to sheriff’s dispatch. (If you don’t have a phone or you don’t get a signal, you can use emergency phones at rail stations or ask the bus or train operator to get in contact with the Sheriff’s Department.)

Young Angelenos are giving up their cars—voluntarily. Shauna Nep, director of Community & Innovation at the Goldhirsh Foundation, talked about a “culture shift” toward home- and car-ownership for millennials and how more are opting for car-free lifestyles (as well as Uber and Lyft).

Fewer cars on the road are good for everyone’s health. James Haw, director of Environmental Studies, USC, talked about the health impact of fewer cars on the roads, and reiterated the data that shows that people who live or work near freeways have higher exposure to emissions and particulates, which lead to a host of greater health issues including premature births, asthma and reduced lung function in kids, heart attacks and other issues. He added that particulates from motor vehicles can be reduced if more people were to leave the car at home and re-train themselves to adapt to the new behavior of adopting public transit.

Personal stories. L.A. college student Valeria Ceballos, talked about her daily experience—both good and bad on the Metro—and how the Metro and public transportation is essential to her independence and mobility. Luba Katic, from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (and Katic’s aunt), talked about her choice to live a car-free lifestyle. Her family has gone without a car since September, and she said that while her choice isn’t the easy route—especially when showing the audience pictures of a terrible Toronto winter—she says it’s worth the monetary savings and additional quality time with her kids.

A Star Trek reference. Closing the salon, Stana Katic—a public transit rider herself, who founded ATP in 2010 to encourage people worldwide to “GOcarFREE” for just one day and to encourage public planners/policy makers to create safe travel infrastructure—chose a quote from “philosopher Jean-Luc Picard” who said that if we can teach people to “beam across the galaxy, we can teach a kid to take a bus to Studio City.”

Video from the In Her Shoes salon will be posted on Metro’s The Source blog later this week.

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