Time constraints are a dead end. Only when the scoreboard in the final section shows fast traffic times does young talent Dani (Emilia Varanski) get a chance at a ski academy boarding school, giving her a chance at a skiing career. On the way there, he's an outsider: in contrast to his competition, who is already semi-professionally set up for a big career, Dani and his talented sister train under their father's tutelage. Dani is too slow in the judging race – but she's still allowed to go to the academy. Why? Because some things don't play by the rules at this particular school.
The academy is under massive financial pressure, as the didtsy village emperor (Gregor Seberg) doesn't forget to insist. However, the main dangers are lurking in this pressure cooker drenched in adrenaline and sweat in the valley of Castine: the unresolved death of a “champion” contributes to this, as well as the masochistic methods of a bully (Simon Hatzl). Characters with dark secrets take shelter here, and ex-professional Mark Auer (Jakob Seebach) takes over as headmaster to put together the organizational structure that the young people must deal with growing uncertainties. Includes cat fights, extravagant behavior, fights, and a constant search for meaning.
Jacob Seebach plays the role of school principal Mark Ayer
© Stephanie Leo
Superfilm produced the eight-part series behind producer John Luftner and director and writer David Shalko. “School of Champions” was a first scene for Luftner, who already realized several major projects like “M” or “Me and the Others”, and he says with a smile: “For the first time my 16-year-old daughter has a series, which I produced coolly. Had and recommended to their friends.The fact that I can still enjoy this at my old jobs is mainly thanks to our lovely young team in front of the camera.
The concept had been on the shelf for years, but now ORF saw the right time. This is probably due to the recognition of how well Sky films are received by audiences. In 2022, the major biopic “Chasing the Line” was seen by more than 1.2 million people, including SERVTV and ORF broadcasts. The documentary “Glamour Kegen Russi” was also well received with 700,000 viewers at the time. The Kitzbühel movie “One Hell of a ride” has been making ratings in countless iterations for ten years.
As in “Biester”, ORF relies on the young, new generation of actors in “School of Champions”, thus turning itself into a talent factory. These include Waranski, who plays a foreigner, Imre Lichtenberger, who is in charge of the opposition, and Luna Mwesi, a 16-year-old Swiss. The ensemble is rounded out by familiar faces from Seebach, Hatzl and Seberg to Thomas Mraz. The series, produced in cooperation with Bavarian and Swiss television, will be filmed from October 2022 to March 2023 in the Castine Valley and Vienna. The ÖSV team candidates provided daring stunt drivers for fast competitive scenes.
Between the ski races in Kitzbühel and Schladming, ORF put its new series “School of Champions” at the heart of the Austrian Winter Games. Watch tonight on ORF 1 from 8:15 PM. Like “Biester”, ORF relies on its success and pays in advance: the shooting of the second season began in November.
Young talent and familiar faces: Gregor Seberg, Mika Fourcher and Emilia Varanski
© Stephanie Leo