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Acorn TV April 2021 Highlights

5 Apr: BLOOD SERIES 2

Adrian Dunbar (Line of Duty, Broken) stars in the hit psychological thriller from award-winning writer Sophie Petzal (The Last Kingdom, Riviera). After the life-changing events of the first series, when Jim Hogan (Dunbar) is placed under suspicion for the death of his wife (Ingrid Craigie, Striking Out), by his younger daughter Cat (Carolina Main, Unforgotten), the Hogan family are still a long way from finding peace. Series Two sees Jim return after a year away to find his dutiful older daughter Fiona (Grainne Keenan, Black Mirror, The Foreigner) is slowly succumbing to the same Motor Neurone Disease that afflicted her mother. When Fiona is involved in a catastrophic car crash, the family gather again at the bedside of a loved one, but a shocking revelation means the newly promoted Detective Dez Breen (Sean Duggan, Normal People, Clean Break) must delve into the tangled past of this troubled family once more in pursuit of the elusive truth. Could Fiona's husband Paul (Ian Lloyd Anderson - Love/Hate, Herself) be caught up in a criminal enterprise, or is the past simply repeating itself? Either way, there is a dead body to contend with, and someone has Blood on their hands. This enthralling whodunnit will keep you guessing: is Blood really thicker than water?

5 Apr: 19-2

This critically acclaimed, multi-award-winning, Emmy-nominated gritty Canadian police drama takes an alternative look at police life, going beyond the crimes and delving deep into the complicated lives of the crime fighters. Police officers Nick Barron (Adrian Holmes - Arrow, Continuum) and Ben Chartier (Jared Keeso - Falling Skies, Godzilla) have been thrust into an unwilling partnership after the devastating shooting of Barron's last partner. Nick carries the weight of that shooting with him every day and isn't planning on committing to the country boy who's fresh to the city anytime soon.

Also starring Dan Petronijevic (American Pie Presents The Naked Mile), Benz Antoine (Rookie Blue), Mylene Dinh-Robic (Being Human), Conrad Pla (ReGenesis) and Laurence Leboeuf (Trauma), this gripping long-running series shows life on the brutal and unforgiving streets of Montreal. With drug addicts, rapists, gang-members and murderers on the loose - there's not a safe place to hide and when faced with danger, Nick and Ben need to know they've got each other's backs.

5 Apr: THE PLAGUE SERIES 2

The second series of this lavish and gripping Spanish historical crime-drama set in the late the Plague-riddled 16th-century, from creator-director Alberto Rodriguez sees Mateo (Pablo Molinero) now fighting to survive Chile's harsh Patagonian winter, and his journey on the Spanish galleons traversing the Atlantic. We get a violent introduction to the Garduna crime family and Teresa (Patricia Lopez Arnaiz) goes head to head with human traffickers.

19 Apr: EXILE

Garnering huge critical acclaim when it aired on BBC One, this BAFTA nominated miniseries is a tense, gripping, psychological thriller featuring a stellar line-up of Britain's acting greats including Jim Broadbent (Iris, Moulin Rouge), John Simm (Life on Mars, Doctor Who), Olivia Colman (The Crown, The Favourite) and Timothy West (Gentleman Jack, Last Tango In Halifax). We follow journalist Tom Ronstadt (Simm) who, after losing his job in London, returns to his home town, Manchester, after 18 years in exile. Returning to live with sister Nancy (Colman) and their ageing father Sam (Broadbent) who has Alzheimer's, we soon discover why he has stayed away so long. As Tom begins to unpack the scandal his father has been keeping hidden for decades, his investigations are hampered by his father's deteriorating health and he becomes embroiled in a tangled web of corruption.

19 Apr: THE ADVOCATES SERIES 1 & 2

This gripping Edinburgh-set legal drama features an all-star cast including Michael Kitchen (Foyle's War), Shirley Henderson (Happy Valley), Siobhan Redmond (Queens of Mystery), Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener), and Robert Carlyle (Trainspotting). When a young prostitute is murdered by a deadly drug overdose, only the Doctor Joe Sangster, the medic who has been treating her at the local health clinic, suspects foul play. In the growing climate of fear over drugs and AIDS in the city, his clinic faces closure due to a local campaign. Sangster turns to Greg McDowell, an up and coming young lawyer who sees the case as a chance to make a name for himself.

In series two, McDowell is hired by a man accused of murdering his own wife. He begins to suspect she may have been the victim of a serial killer, but the case becomes too close for comfort, putting his girlfriend's life in danger.

26 Apr: A FAMILY TALE

This gripping Italian family drama, from the creators of The Young Pope, stars Multi-Golden Globe winner Anna Galiena and Anita Kravos (The Great Beauty) and follows mother and daughter, Emma and Micol, whose relationship is far from traditional. Amid the unrest of a moving to a new city, history repeats itself as Micol becomes pregnant at sixteen, just as her mother did. Also starring Giancarlo Giannini (Casino Royale) and helmed by award-winning director Francesca Archibugi.



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Take Back

Make way. There's a new high-kickin', body-slammin', ball-bustin', head-smackin', fast-punchin', tough-talkin' action hero in town. Her name is Gillian White. All-action feature Take Back, sees her star alongside Michael Jai White and Mickey Rourke in an adrenaline-fuelled, martial arts action thriller in which old scores must be settled, once and for all.

Gillian White plays the lead as a seemingly unassuming woman who must take on an evil gang of human traffickers when they kidnap her step-daughter. This kick-ass film is set for its UK premiere on DVD and digital from 101 Films on 29 March 2021.

Zara and Brian (real-life couple - Gillian White and Michael Jai White, The Dark Knight) are living the perfect small-town life, but when Zara heroically foils a robbery, she soon becomes headline news...and the unwanted notoriety sees Zara's mysterious past catch up with her, putting her family's life in serious danger. When their daughter is kidnapped by a sadistic gang, led by the vicious Patrick (Mickey Rourke - The Wrestler), the pair face a race against time to save her life. With Detective Chalmers (James Russo - Django Unchained) also on Patrick's trail, Zara and Patrick's paths collide in an explosive finale.

Zara must finally face up to her past and get revenge on the savages who almost ruined her life.

Directed by Christian Sesma (Paydirt, The Night Crew), Take Back offers up a different kind of action hero for different times.



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Reunion

Julia Ormond (Legends Of The Fall, Sabrina, The Walking Dead: World Beyond) gives a powerhouse performance in haunting psychological thriller Reunion from award-winning director Jake Mahaffy (Free In Deed, Wellness). After wowing horror festival audiences and drawing comparisons to family-based horrors such as Hereditary, Relic and The Babadook, the film is set for its UK premiere on digital from 101 Films this March.

When a heavily pregnant woman returns home to give birth in the bosom of her family, after years away, she discovers that families can be a nightmare, as she uncovers dark secrets from her troubled childhood.

Ormond plays matriarch Ivy, who enjoys a strange, detached relationship with adult daughter and mum-to-be Ellie (Emma Draper - Daffodils, This Town). After a long time apart, the pair are thrown together when Ellie arrives at her recently deceased grandparents' family home, ahead of the birth, to help Ivy with the clearance. Ellie's wheelchair-bound dad Jack (John Bach - The Lord Of The Rings The Two Towers and The Return Of The King) is also rattling the walls in the creepy old house.

Once home, the relationship between mother and daughter becomes further strained and Ellie starts to experience strange occurrences and disturbing dreams about her long-dead sister Cara.

As her life becomes increasingly fraught, Ellie must face her demons and the horrific truth about her past.

A family reunion can be hell...



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Josie & Jack

The Society's breakout star Olivia DeJonge is a sibling battling to escape her tyrannical father and forge her own place in the big city in Josie & Jack, the directorial debut from Hollywood actor Sarah Lancaster.

This raw and powerful drama from Lancaster (Chuck, Everwood) is based on Kelly Braffet's acclaimed book of the same name. The tense plot follows brother and sister duo Josie (Olivia DeJonge - Stray Dolls, The Society) and Jack (Alex Neustaedter - Colony, American Woman) Raeburn, who are raised by their tough father (William Fichtner - 12 Strong, Prison Break), a physics professor at a local university.

The two teens are isolated in a decrepit mansion in rural Pennsylvania, with only each other to depend on, but, following an argument with their father the two flee and try to make a life for themselves in New York. However, with Jack's behaviour becoming increasingly temperamental, Josie must decide between her loyalty to her brother and breaking free.

Following a successful release at Downtown LA film festival and winning awards for Best Director and Best Actress at the Beverly Hills Film Festival, Josie & Jack arrives on digital Monday 22 March 2021 courtesy of 101 Films.



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Dawn Of The Dead 4K UHD Release

After the huge success of its lavish Limited Edition box sets released in Autumn 2020, the dead are preparing to walk the earth once more as Second Sight announces the release of the definitive restored versions of George A Romero's zombie classic Dawn Of The Dead in standard editions on 22 March 2021.

The standard editions of this beautifully restored, comprehensive edition of the seminal horror, feature three different versions of the film, along with a fourth disc of special features across two separate formats Dawn Of The Dead 4K UHD and Dawn Of The Dead Blu-ray.

Acclaimed by fans and critics alike, these presentations offer completely restored versions of the film, each including the original theatrical cut, the extended "Cannes" cut and the Argento cut, making it the most comprehensive release ever of the film acknowledged to be one of the greatest horror movies of all time. Each version has a different commentary track, with the theatrical cut offering two.

The bonus disc of special features is packed with exclusive, new material as well as archive interviews, including the previously unreleased The Lost Romero Dawn Interview. Others include a tour of the shopping mall location, a look at its special effects and more.

The film originally arrived 10 years after the seminal Night of the Living Dead and ushered in a new era of zombie films. It showed Romero once again ahead of the curve, mixing biting political satire with state-of-the-art-gore for a genre defining masterpiece that packs as much of a punch today as it did 40 years ago.

With a zombie epidemic escalating, a small band of survivors seek refuge in that shrine to capitalism, the shopping mall. But the undead, still possessed by an instinctive desire to consume, have had the same idea... What follows is a nail-biting thrill-ride and fight to survive.

Oh, and watch out for those helicopter blades!



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An Impossible Project

In the world we live in, sometimes a digital download or an image on a screen just isn't enough - we're missing physical connection. We need to hold and feel to connect, awaken our senses and evoke our emotions.

Digital has taken over our lives, from the constant buzz of phone notifications to social-media stories that disappear forever and millions of photos stored on our devices rather than taking pride of place on the mantelpiece. We have apps for everything, from fitness to baking and even for sleeping. We're reading e-books, streaming, sharing, posting - this is our reality. It's time for a reset.

An inspiring new feature documentary AN IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT that celebrates all things analogue is an antidote to digital. This warm and witty celebration of a counter-revolution - the come-back of analogue - is set for its UK premiere from Bohemia Media on 15 March 2021. The film - shot on 35mm and with an amazing live orchestra score - will premiere on YourScreen and digital platforms and (subject to Covid restrictions) in cinemas at a later date.

The film follows modern-day Don Quixote, Florian "Doc" Kaps, an eccentric, enigmatic Viennese biologist who risks his career and entire fortune to take on AN IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT to save the world's last Polaroid factory. A courageous, against-the-odds mission to break free from the seemingly unstoppable advance of technology, the story of this self-proclaimed 'Patron Saint of all things analogue' is told in this thought-provoking film from director/producer Jens Meurer (Public Enemy, Russian Ark, Carlos).

In an ode to physical formats, the film charts Doc's drive to keeping analogue alive. His obsession and passion takes him on a journey across the globe where he encounters like-minded souls who share his passion for the tangible, from photography to vinyl. Along the way Doc meets others analogue superheroes: there's Moleskine founder Maria Sebregondi, a direct-to-vinyl recording session in Vienna with American Idol singer Hayley Reinhart, and a fateful trip to the Sudbahnhotel, a 1902 Grand Hotel in the Alps, an all-analogue wonder that has stood empty but fully functional for 43 years and that's set for a revival... and a there's surprise twist in the tale.

AN IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT is an affecting and entertaining film that offers a deep, satisfying breath of haptic fresh air in these increasingly unreal times. Shot on 35mm and featuring a soundtrack recorded direct to vinyl by a 40-piece jazz orchestra, this intriguing documentary provides nostalgia, wit and warmth from start to finish, as we follow the wonderful underdog story of a charming visionary who has never given up on making the impossible possible. It inspires us to choose our own 'impossible'.



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Marcella Series 3 and Complete Series 1-3 Box Set

INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED, EMMY award-winning star Anna Friel returns to our screens as the deeply troubled detective, Marcella, for the highly anticipated third series of the darker than dark, gripping drama. Following its UK premiere on ITV Marcella Series Three arrives on DVD alongside Marcella Complete 1 - 3 DVD Box Set on 15 March 2021, courtesy of Acorn Media International.

Co-created and written by writer-director of The Bridge and Scandi-noir legend Hans Rosenfeldt, the first two acclaimed series follow reckless detective Marcella Backland (Friel - Deep Water, Pushing Daisies) as she unrelentingly solves horrific crimes in London while struggling to balance her family life and debilitating mental health issues.

Series Three takes a dramatic new turn as Marcella goes deep undercover in Belfast and adopts a whole new identity alongside a snappy new haircut. But don't be fooled - Marcella may have gone blonde, but the series is as dark as ever...

Under orders from new boss Frank Young (Hugo Speer - London Kills, Britannia) to infiltrate an infamous crime family headed by steely matriarch Katherine McGuire (Amanda Burton - White House Farm, Silent Witness), Marcella must put the past behind her and embrace her new identity...but will her old life catch up with her? Old boss DI Rav Sangha (Ray Panthaki - Gangs of London, Eastenders) certainly won't give up on her without a fight.

Interweaving storylines follow Marcella's quest for the truth and lead the audience into the depths of the Irish criminal underworld...and into her damaged psyche. As the past closes in, can Marcella run forever, or will she finally confront her demons for a chance at redemption?



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Sacrifice

A couple expecting their first child head to a remote Norwegian village after a death in the family only to find themselves caught up in a deadly cult in Sacrifice, a twisted Scandi-folk horror tale.

FrightFest favourite Barbara Crampton (From Beyond, Re-Animator) makes a welcome return to our screens in this dark terror-filled flick that's set for its UK premiere this March thanks to 101 Films and it's a fright for sore eyes.

This thrillingly gut-churning folk horror from Andy Collier and Tor Mian, arrives on digital on 15 March 2021. It follows fish-out-of-water Americans who head to their ancestral homelands near the arctic circle and are soon out of their depth.

After his mother dies New Yorker Isaac (Ludovic Hughes - Murder Maps, Ride) and pregnant wife (Sophie Stevens - The Haunted, The Black Prince) journey back to the remote Norwegian village of his birth to get the family affairs in order.

The frosty welcome the couple receive from locals when they arrive soon warms as villagers learn their family name and are soon taken under the wing of policewoman (Crampton), but is she everything she seems?

The pair soon discover dark secrets from Isaac's past and things become increasingly strange as Emma's nightmares become all too real. A sinister cult that worships a sea-dwelling deity turns its followers' attentions to the couple. Is it by chance or is it fate? And will they make the ultimate sacrifice?



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