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NEWS April 2018 www.miptv.com

DRAMA SPECIAL REPORT


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CONTENTS

6

Something for everyone

6

How to get noticed when there’s so much TV drama on sale and on our screens

‘A chance to discover 19 something new...’ The MIPDrama Buyers’ Summit offers buyers and commissioners a first look at new high-end series

23

23

How to be different from the rest

What separates a channel-building hit from an expensive flop?

28 more more talent, buzz’

‘More content,

This week sees the launch of CANNESERIES, the new Cannes International Series Festival

31

In Development

34

Creativity gets serious

34

MIPTV and CANNESERIES have partnered in a forum for the development of new drama

How the TV drama creators are adapting to a period of unprecedented demand

// DIRECTOR OF PUBLICATIONS // Paul Zilk // MARKETING DIRECTOR // Mathieu Regnault / EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT Editor in Chief Julian Newby Deputy Editor Debbie Lincoln Sub Editor Joanna Stephens Contributors Marlene Edmunds, Andy Fry, Juliana Koranteng Editorial Management Boutique Editions Head of Graphic Studio Herve Traisnel Graphic Studio Manager Frederic Beauseigneur Graphic Designer Carole Peres / PRODUCTION DEPARTMENT / Publishing Director Martin Screpel Publishing Manager Amrane Lamiri Creative and Production Officer Yovana Filipovic Printer Riccobono Imprimeurs, Le Muy (France).

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• April 2018


186_TV3_SPDRAMA_TV

8x48’ When all contact with the rest of the world is lost, how far would you go to find out who the new enemy of humanity is?

8x48’ Incredible story about people fleeing from epidemic to the far-off lake. Normally they wouldn't spend a single moment together, but do they have any choice now? Based on the bestselling book by Ya Yana Vagner translated into 11 languages.

8x48’ America is devastated. A Nuclear explosion at Calvert Cliffs has divided the nation. And there are only 5 teenagers knowing this explosion should have happened in Chernobyl, USSR. Once they have tricked th history – will they manage the to do it again?

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contacts us:

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RUSSIAN ROULETTE – WHAT’S IN THE NEXT CHAMBER


FEATURE: DRAMA TRENDS

Something

for

everyone How do you get noticed in this golden age when there is so much TV drama on sale and on our screens? Most agree that quality is the key. But that still means there is room for all genres. Andy Fry reports

ALMOST three years on from FX Networks CEO John Landgraf ’s declaration that there is “simply too much television”, the creative arms race between Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Hollywood, and international broadcasters and distributors, means the choice available to audiences continues to grow and grow. The challenge for producers and distributors is how to get noticed when there is so much to watch. The answer, according to Gary Marenzi, head of entertainment sales and partnerships at Endeavor Content (a supporter of In Development), is to invest in quality. “Leading broadcasters and subscription channels are looking for high-profile series that break through the clutter and find significant audiences,” he says “We look for projects from established showrunners and directors, with well-known actors attached.”

Marenzi says Endeavor’s MIPTV slate illustrates this approach. Titles on display include psycho-thriller Killing Eve (shortlisted for the CANNESERIES competition), Agatha Christie drama Ordeal By Innocence and Little Drummer Girl, the follow-up to The Night Manager from The Ink Factory. There is also The First, a near-future Mars adventure penned by Beau Willimon and starring Sean Penn. The emphasis on top talent means that the trend towards limited series continues. “These feature well-known brands or casts that can be heavily promoted,” Marenzi says. “And with six-to-10 episodes, they can be programmed in short bursts for maximum impact. The buyer can build a franchise that is repeatable if the show succeeds, and they are only investing in a limited number of Drama Special Report •

episodes in the initial season, so it doesn’t use up most of their budget.” Such is the range of potential buyers that Marenzi says there is room for most genres. He stresses, however, that there are still market staples: “Welltold stories from any genre will find an appropriate home, but it’s always good to have shows that can be embraced by as many buyers as possible. Blue-sky adventure, police and spy stories, and groundbased supernatural shows perform well across a wide range of territories. Sci-fi is growing beyond its traditional strongholds of North America, the UK and Germany as the world becomes more tech-savvy. Female-driven projects are highly prized as the female 18-49 age demographic drives a lot of audiences around the world. In general, there has been a move 6

• April 2018

away from stories that are very dark but, as subscription services increase their budgets, it’s only logical that many of their programmes will be edgier that those on free TV and basic cable.” Caroline Torrance, head of scripted at Banijay Rights, agrees that there is growing interest in series with strong female leads: “I think it reflects the need to bring something positive to the


FEATURE: DRAMA TRENDS

Swedish family drama The Restaurant, now commissioned for a third series

film and TV industry after all the recent revelations.” In terms of content trends, Torrance points to sci-fi, fantasy, lighter series and premium period shows. “But crime drama is also in high demand,” she adds. “We hear a lot about channels wanting lighter series and that’s true — but our Scandinavian crime series are selling better than ever.”

Caroline Torrance: “We hear a lot about channels wanting lighter series and that’s true — but our Scandinavian crime series are selling better than ever”

and Entre Chien et Loup for Canal+, season three opens after Louis XIV has won a war against Holland. But as the politics and power struggles play out, a prisoner, hidden behind a mask, presents a new threat to the Sun King. Banijay’s slate continues to showcase drama from mainland Europe. “Swedish family drama The Restaurant has been com-

On Banijay Rights’ slate, the third season of Versailles opened the CANNESERIES festival. Produced by Capa Drama, Banijay Studios France Drama Special Report •

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• April 2018

missioned for a third series and there’s a second series of eerie drama Black Lake,” Torrance says. “There’s a new series of Belgian drama Public Enemy and new dramas from Yellow Bird, including fantasy thriller Hidden and psychological drama The Truth Will Out.” There is also an interesting hybrid project reminiscent of Lilyhammer in the form of Banijay


FEATURE: DRAMA TRENDS

Re-energised German firm Bavaria Fiction, is introducing two major dramas at MIPTV: Das Boot and Arctic Circle, the latter selected for the MIPDrama Buyers’ Summit. “Also, our German-French culture-clash comedy Germanized is in production,” says Moritz Polter, Bavaria Fiction’s executive producer of international television series. Germanized (featured as a case study at In Development) is a 10 x 30 mins comedy for Deutsche Telekom and Amazon Prime Video France. It will star Christoph Maria Herbst (Stromberg), Roxane Duran (Riviera), Sylvie Testud (Stupeur Et Tremblements) and Marie-Anne Chazel (Les Bronzes; Les Visiteurs), and is co-produced by Bavaria Fiction and Telfrance (Newen Group). Echoing his peers, Polter says: “It has never been more important for broadcasters and platforms to showcase original content because viewers now have so much choice. To stand out, series have to be highly ambitious. The storyline, the cast, the showrunner and production values have to be on point,

which means higher and higher budgets. For this reason, our expertise in bringing international co-pro partners together to realise large-scale, must-see series is a huge advantage.” So what does it take to make a co-production work? “Series must have authenticity and resonate in each country involved in the co-production, and beyond,” Polter says. “Germanized will beautifully capture those eye-rolling, culture-clash moments that take place all over Europe, day in, day out. It will shine a spotlight on some of the reasons we believe we are different and, ultimately, show us that we are actually very alike.”

Photo: ©Nik Konietzny, Bavaria Fiction

Denmark and New Zealand co-pro Straight Forward. Created by John Banas, Torrance describes it as “an intricate mix of crime caper and a voyage of discovery, as a Danish woman attempts to leave her criminal past behind her by moving to New Zealand”. Torrance also reports an increased interest in formats: “We have produced a French and Finnish version of our own Swedish comedy hit Solsidan, with other versions in discussion. Banijay is also producing the first adaptation of the Norwegian youth series Skam [Shame]. We are always keen to exploit the format rights to our series.”

Moritz Polter: “Germanized will capture those eye-rolling, culture-clash moments that take place all over Europe, day in, day out”

In terms of trends, Polter says there is now a greater acceptance in the US that shorter episode runs are more appropriate for certain stories. “Eight-episode event series are more common now than they used to be because streaming platforms have broken the mould,” he adds. “The reason that this is great for us is that audience tastes are evolving, so shorter European series are more likely than ever to have appeal.” One thing is clear: broadcasters, platforms and distributors are not scared to back high-quality, non-English-language shows. Sonar Entertainment’s big launch at MIPTV, as referenced above, is its co-production with Bavaria Fiction, Das Boot. David Ellender, the company’s president of global distribution and co-productions, calls the eight-parter “a new benchmark in non-English-speaking drama”. He adds: “Das Boot is a $30m production with exceptional talent that will air on Sky Drama Special Report •

August Wittgenstein, Rick Okon and Franz Dinda star in das Boot

in the UK. And we are in the process of securing an important US deal.” More generally, Ellender says Sonar is striving to be “at the premier end of the market, where there is a convergence between film and TV talent”. Sonar’s slate includes high-end titles The Shannara Chronicles, Mr Mercedes, Taboo and an upcoming TV adaptation of Catch 22. “We’re also making a Nazi Hunter series with Jordan Peele [Get Out] for Epix in the US,” Ellender adds. “That’s the kind of project I’d call a familiar surprise, because it’s instantly recognisable to the audience, but will be given Jordan’s unique treatment.” Ellender says the market is all about “great talent and elevat-

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ed stories”. He adds: “You may need to take bigger risks, but that’s how you stand out.” What is different these days, however, is that projects do not need to appeal to the entire TV universe: “We’re seeing a vast number of shows targeting different demos. There are opportunities now for so many niche, quality projects.” One of FremantleMedia’s big launches at MIPTV is My Brilliant Friend, an Italian-language series for RAI and HBO based on Elena Ferrante’s acclaimed novels. “We had a very brief conversation at the start about whether to produce in English, but audiences are more sophisticated than that these days,” says Christian Vesper, FremantleMedia’s executive vice-president


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FEATURE: DRAMA TRENDS looking for scripted programming that has an engaging and relevant story that will grip their audiences wherever they are.” That said, Guyonnet is seeing strong interest in politics and female empowerment: “Baron Noir’s second season starts with a female president of France. Women’s empowerment is of interest right now, and we are delighted to offer a series where the lead role is an authoritative woman.” Francoise Guyonnet: “Baron Noir’s second season starts with a female president of France. Women’s empowerment is of interest right now”

New French crime thriller Nox, a Creation Originale drama for Canal+ in partnership with Gaumont

and creative director of global drama. “They want authenticity and specificity of experience, which is why a lot of My Brilliant Friend is actually shot in a local Neopolitan dialect.” FremantleMedia is also showcasing another Italian-language project, The Miracle, which Vesper describes as “a baroque, beautiful and terrifying thriller written by Niccolo Ammaniti, which centres on a statue of the Madonna that inexplicably weeps blood”. Its key English-language titles include The Dublin Murders, Picnic At Hanging Rock and Narrow Road To The Deep North. Pivotal to succeeding in the current market is signing up great talent and stories, Vesper adds, which is why FremantleMedia is working with director Michael Haneke on Kelvin’s Book via German division UFA Fiction. “You need to lead with the story,” he says. “Everyone is struggling to work out why the audience should come to one network over another. So

our job is to give broadcasters scripted projects that will capture attention. Shows that are led by passionate writers and producers are more likely to get taken on.” Vesper says he welcomes the competition “because it makes everyone hustle more”. It is also encouraging producers and platforms to start looking at new ways to tell stories, he adds, perhaps with shorter episodes: “One thing I’ve started to notice is the number of big dramas that could be edited more succinctly.” Francoise Guyonnet, head of TV within European powerhouse Studiocanal’s production division, comes to MIPTV with new French crime thriller Nox (6 x 60 mins), a Creation Originale drama for Canal+ in partnership with Gaumont. Starring Nathalie Baye (Spin), Maiwenn (The Price Of Success) and Malik Zidi (Made In France), Nox is set in the underbelly of Paris. Studiocanal will share distribu-

tion with Gaumont. Underlining its international production spread, Studiocanal is also at market with Red Production Company’s UK drama Come Home, about a mother who walks out on her three children. Returning series include Ride Upon The Storm and French political drama Baron Noir. “Series one of Baron Noir has already sold to more than 85 territories,” Guyonnet says. “Season two sees Amelie Dorendeu running for presidential election in order to ‘save the Republic’, following [lead character] Philippe Rickwaert’s dangerous, twisted strategy.” In terms of what the slate says about the scripted market, Guyonnet reports demand for “universal relatability around family exploration”, evidenced by the international interest in Studiocanal’s new dramas Come Home and Ride Upon The Storm. “But really, it’s less about trends and all about the storytelling,” she adds. “We know that our clients around the world are

Drama Special Report • 10 • April 2018

In terms of the key challenges facing firms like Studiocanal, she says: “Staying ahead of the action and attracting the very best writing, production and acting talent is vital. Because we have a rich vein of leading production companies working with us as part of the Studiocanal family, we can rely on them to deliver the most on-trend ideas.” Guyonnet adds that Studiocanal’s reputation helps it to attract high-level talent, such as Michael C Hall (Dexter), who stars in Red’s new drama Safe (premiered out of competition following the CANNESERIES Awards Gala), and Benedict Cumberbatch, who stars in The Child In Time, produced by SunnyMarch. Gaumont Television is presenting Narcos (40 x 60 mins) to its linear TV partners for the first time this year. “The rise and fall of the Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar is a story people can’t get enough of and we anticipate strong global demand,” says Vanessa Shapiro, the company’s president of worldwide TV distribution and co-productions. As mentioned above, Gaumont


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2018

MAKE ROOM FOR CANADA. CANNESERIES Digital Competition

Photo: Jean-François Sauvé. Graphic design: Catherine Potvin

CANNESERIES Digital Competition

In Development Competition Digital Short Form

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In Development Competition Early Stage

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Production First Love Films Producers Andrew Nicholas McCann Smith Laura Perlmutter Creators Erin Carter Justine Stevens Contact info@firstlovefilms.com

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FEATURE: DRAMA TRENDS is also sharing the distribution of Studiocanal’s Nox and is showcasing season two of The Art Of Crime (12 x 60 mins), which will debut later this year. “In this series, the first procedural crime drama set in the world of art, an unlikely duo — a hot-headed cop and a renowned art historian — come together to solve a series of modern-day crimes,” Shapiro says. The slate, she adds, reflects the parallel trends in the market: “Narcos, produced for Netflix, is a serialised drama, and The Art Of Crime, produced for France 2, is a procedural, both of which are in strong demand. However, there is also demand for limited series, such as Nox, that broadcasters can schedule as event programming to attract new viewers.” Editorially, Shapiro says Gaumont is looking to produce series featuring strong female characters. She also sees continued demand for scripted formats: “Companies recognise strong global concepts that can be translated across cultures. We are in development on series based on movies from our theatrical library. For example, STL [working title] is a TV drama series adaptation of feature film

Kew Media’s Frankie Drake Mysteries, which debuted on Canada’s CBC last year

36 Quai Des Orfevres.” Jonathan Ford, Kew Media Group’s London-based executive vice-president of sales and distribution, singles out Frankie Drake Mysteries and The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco, a new instalment from the successful Bletchley Circle franchise. “Set during the mid1950s, these new episodes cap-

Ella Purnell as Tess in Sweetbitter, season one

ture the lives of four women with extraordinary intelligence and a genius for decryption,” he says. Kew also has a new season of coming-of-age millennial drama Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope. Ford observes that Kew Media’s slate illustrates the growing demand for returning drama series with strong female leads. In terms of format, he says: “The need for returning drama series remains strong although, as viewing habits change across different platforms, there is more flexibility on initial episode counts, which can now be six, eight or 10 episodes.” There is a divergence in requirements between OTT/premium pay TV, basic pay TV and free TV, “which means we need to be very clear on our targets as we take on new series”, Ford adds. A key challenge, he says, is to ensure titles “have qualities that will make them stand out, such as unique storylines, locations or characters”. At the same time, selling across multiple windows and combining lin-

Drama Special Report • 12 • April 2018

ear and SVOD rights “to their best potential” is an evolving challenge: “We put the emphasis on building trusted relationships with buyers, alongside developing a deep understanding of each individual market.” Lionsgate Television has a diverse slate of programming, including two Starz Original series, Vida and Sweetbitter. Vida is a 6 x 30 mins drama focusing on two Mexican-American sisters from eastern Los Angeles, who couldn’t be more different or distanced from each other. Sweetbitter is a 6 x 60 mins contemporary drama, adapted, created and written by Stephanie Danler, author of the original best-selling book. It tells the story of Tess, a 22-year-old who arrives in New York City ready to pursue a new life. Finding a job in a restaurant, she is quickly intoxicated by this chaotic, adrenalin-fuelled world. Peter Iacono, Lionsgate Television’s president of international television and digital distribution, says Vida’s USP “is


FEATURE: DRAMA TRENDS in the way it deals with sexual orientation, and family ties and values, which are very topical”. He adds: “With Tanya Saracho on board as showrunner, we are set to deliver a show with the authenticity that resonates with viewers, making it noisy enough to stand out.” With the bookbased property Sweetbitter, “we already know that the concept ‘works’ and that there is an existing fan base”, Iacono adds. Moreover, both Vida and Sweetbitter target traditionally underserved audiences: “They are character-driven, female series that also intersect with LGBTQ and, in the case of Vida, Latin audiences. They are reflective of real life: we don’t all fit neatly into one box nowadays. We can be all these things at once and that’s what viewers need to see reflected on screen.” Peter Iacono: “We don’t all fit neatly into one box nowadays. We can be all these things at once and that’s what viewers need to see reflected on screen”

In a commercial sense, Iacono says the big challenge is how best to maximise the long-tail value of content: “Do you sell to a global platform for one large advance and run the risk that your show may not find an audience among a large digital catalogue? Or do you take the more traditional route of a local broadcast on a curated channel with traditional marketing, followed by the hard graft of territory-by-territory sales? It’s always our aim to find the right platforms for the shows we distribute to ensure they have a long lifecycle and generate profit for all parties.” Emmanuelle Guilbart and Laurent Boissel, joint-CEOs and founders of About Premium Content (APC), are showcasing two dramas: Keeping Faith,

a new BBC drama series produced by Vox Pictures (a Market Screening at MIPTV); and Fenix, a dark crime series from Lemming Film in the Netherlands. Keeping Faith, Guilbart and Boissel believe, will appeal to broadcasters looking for relatable mainstream drama. The show centres on a woman, played by Eve Myles (Broadchurch), who finds herself coping with the sudden and mysterious disappearance of her husband. By contrast, Fenix is likely to appeal to pay-TV and digital platforms. The storyline centres on two main characters, who return to their home region in the Netherlands to try to understand why and how their respective fathers have been killed. Fenix has a distinctive tone and style, and explores an “unknown and dark side of Dutch society”, Guilbart and Boissel say. “To stand out, great storytelling isn’t enough anymore. Series now also need to stand out visually.” Guilbart and Boissel say there is a clear demand for lighter, easier, more entertaining drama as a counterbalance to the heavier crime series and thrillers. They also agree that shorter run series are in demand: “Broadcasters are looking for fewer episodes — ideally no more than six — in order to create event mini-series, while limiting the risk associated with serialisation.” UK-based DCD Rights comes to MIPTV with six-part political thriller Romper Stomper, which debuted on Stan in January. It is also showcasing a second season of Easy Tiger’s Jack Irish and a new fifth season of scripted series Rake. DCD Rights CEO Nicky Davies Williams says: “In our experience, buyers are particularly looking for drama with a top-quality, internationally known cast. What is interesting

Nippon TV’s Anone, available as a finished drama and a scripted format

is that there is an increasingly global source for this level of programming. Drama productions are no longer dependent on just two or three key markets to finance them or kick-start their success. We are also finding that drama series shot in 4K, such as Romper Stomper, have an edge, and this format also futureproofs their value.” Like the team at APC, Davies Williams sees a gap for “lighter, aspirational content combining personal and professional themes”, pointing to Irish drama Striking Out as an example. She has also noticed that broadcasters are looking for dramas with the “double hit, where they can reach an audience online as well as on linear channels”. Looking beyond the US and Western Europe, Cindy Chino, senior director of international business development at Nippon TV (NTV), says the Japanese broadcater’s latest ti-

Drama Special Report • 13 • April 2018

tle, Anone, is available as both a finished drama and a scripted format. “We also have 15 titles from our archive, which we believe are relevant with universal themes, to catch up with the growing demand for local adaptations,” she says. Anone is the story of a young girl who, after losing her family, becomes separated from society and can no longer figure out a way to live. “The drama begins when she meets an old woman, like herself, who is no longer able to believe in people due to so much deception and betrayal,” Chino says. Chino has high hopes for Anone: “The scriptwriter, Yuji Sakamoto, is generating a lot of attention following the success of the Turkish adaptation of his work Mother [which premiered in 2016] on Turkey’s Star TV, and Woman on Fox, whose ratings have soared since last fall. As for the 15 titles from our archive,


FEATURE: DRAMA TRENDS they were selected on the basis of creative originality, strong storylines and universal themes.” Agreeing with Iacono, Chino says the biggest challenge for drama producers is “negotiating terms and conditions with various players with totally different requirements, be it contractual terms or creative modifications”. NTV tries to be flexible, she adds, “but we also must be careful regarding the chain of titles, so that conflict is not caused and excitement can be shared among all the parties”. The female flavour to scripted content is also evident in Russia, with Sovtelexport prioritising two women-oriented contemporary dramas: The Maze (8 x 52 mins) and The Captain’s Wife (16 x 52 mins). Also new from Sovtelexport is historical high-budget drama Gounov, set in the 16th century following the death of Ivan the Terrible. The Maze is a modern melodra-

ma centred on a young, beautiful and successful woman, while The Captain’s Wife tells the story of a young woman who loses everything she loves after a terrible car accident. “Both are contemporary stories about strong women who overcome highly dramatic circumstances to rule their own fortune,” says Sovtelexport director Julia Matiash. “Considering the pre-sales interest, this kind of story is in high demand now.” Matiash agrees that great storytelling is key, but believes there are two ways to make it appealing to international audiences: “You can make [the story] neutral so that viewers in any country will identify with what they see. Or you can really emphasise the show’s authenticity and create a totally different world — something absolutely unexpected and unknown.” Raphael Correa Netto, executive director of international

business at Brazil’s Globo, says his company’s catalogue features productions of all genres, from traditional telenovelas to super-series. Following Globo’s international success including Under Pressure, Jailers and Merciless, new releases for Cannes include Thirteen Days Away From The Sun, a co-production between Globo and O2 Filmes, which tells the story of a group of people trapped in the debris of a collapsed building. “There is also The Seamstress, which is an intimate drama about two sisters with opposing fates, set against the backdrop of political and social transformation in Brazil; and Forbidden City, a Noir-style series featuring the adventures and mishaps of a private eye who gets caught up in secrets, lies and betrayals in ravishing 1950s Rio de Janeiro,” Netto adds. For Netto, these new titles reflect Globo’s mission to “tell

Globo’s The Seamstress, an intimate drama about two sisters with opposing fates

Drama Special Report • 14 • April 2018

good stories featuring relevant and current themes”. He adds: “One of our initiatives to help promote this creative exchange of ideas was the launch of Casa dos Roteiristas [House of Screenwriters] last year. This gave us more amazing titles covering an even broader range of subjects and genres.” Netto has found that dramas about “corruption, moral values and public health have been in the spotlight. Another trend is the production of local series that work well in other territories. These local productions are now going global, transcending the barriers of language and subject.” Netto says the market’s continued demand for drama series has given Globo “an opportunity to embrace new ideas, try out new formats and maintain a steady output of quality productions”.


© 2018 Mon Voisin Productions - Mother Production - France Télévisions

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Drama I S3 6x52’ - Format rights


183 FRANCE TV_DRAMA_TV-p1

183

DRAMA l 6x52’

Mother is wron based on MICHEL BUSSI’s best seller Mother is wrong Published by editions Presses de la Cité, a PlaCe des editeurs division

FRANÇOIS VELLE written by VÉRONIQUE LECHARPY a series by

© FRANCE TÉLÉVISIONS/MFP/PICTANOVO/2018. PHOTO: ©ALAIN GUIZARD-FRANCE TÉLÉVISIONS/MFP. PUBLISHED BY EDITIONS PRESSES DE LA CITE, A PLACE DES EDITEURS DIVISION, 2015.

WOULD YOU BELIEVE A CHILD WHO TOLD YOU HIS MOTHER WAS NOT HIS REAL MOTHER?


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2 May 2018

Where Global Content Meets China Production, development, financing opportunities with one of the world’s largest entertainment markets www.mip-china.com or contact your MIP representative

- MIP®China is a registered trademark of Reed MIDEM – All rights reserved - Gettyimages

6-7 June 2018 Hangzhou - China

Registration deadline:


FEATURE: BUYERS’ SUMMIT

‘A chance to discover something new...’ The popular MIPDrama Screenings have been reinvented as the MIPDrama Buyers’ Summit for 2018. Complementing the new CANNESERIES competition, the pre-MIPTV showcase offers buyers and commissioners an exclusive first-look at a curated lineup of high-end dramas. Andy Fry reports DURING the weekend preceding MIPTV 2018, 450 of the world’s leading buyers and commissioners will converge on the Palais des Festivals to preview six new dramas that have been selected for their writing and production values, originality and worldwide appeal. Arctic Circle, Bullets, Cleaning Up, Gigantes, Pagan Peak and Trigger are all in the early stages of production and have not as yet been presented at a festival or market. However, they are all 100% financed, which means they are genuine prospects for those in search of quality, exclusive drama. Commenting on the new-look event, Laurine Garaude, director of television at Reed MIDEM, says she is “thrilled with the rich selection for the inaugural MIPDrama Buyers’ Summit, which encompasses a range of genres from territories as diverse as Finland,

Spain, the UK, Germany and Russia”. Garaude’s enthusiasm is echoed by TV2 Denmark’s head of acquisitions and formats Anette Romer, who is a member of MIPTV’s Drama Buyers’ Advisory Board: “The Summit gives us buyers the opportunity to watch a lot of titles in a short time and provide sufficient advance insight for us to know if the titles are appealing and relevant to our audiences. And it’s a big advantage to decide early what is important. Priorities and time — important words for Cannes.” Emmanuelle Guilbart and Laurent Boissel, joint-CEOs and founders of About Premium Content, are seizing the chance to promote their Spanish crime drama Gigantes. They say the Summit is an opportunity to get noticed by the buyer community: “It gives buyers a foretaste of the series’ cinematographic qual-

ities and Spanish elements, and we’re excited to be a part of it.” Emmanuelle Bouilhaguet, managing director of Lagardere Studios Distribution, is showcasing Arctic Circle. “Selling a show these days is about much more than taking meetings and handing over DVDs,” she says. “You need to create some buzz to attract the attention of buyers. There are only six series on show at the Summit, seen by 450 buyers, so that’s a good situation for us.” The MIPDrama Buyers’ Summit features a conference session entitled Fast Forward: Drama, The Viewer’s Story. Presented by TAPE and Eurodata TV Worldwide, the presentation delivers insights into the drama themes and approaches that are resonating with audiences worldwide. It also explores what is driving viewing habits, and how viewer-behaviour is changing. There is also a Buyers’ Network-

Drama Special Report • 19 • April 2018

ing Lunch, sponsored by CITVC (China International Television Corporation). “After years in the industry, CITVC has become an important window for the world to enjoy Chinese culture,” says Jianing Shen, assistant to the president of CITVC. “We are always committed to presenting the most excellent Chinese TV programmes to a global audience, and we cherish every single opportunity to exchange ideas with industry talents.” Emmanuelle Bouilhaguet: “You need to create some buzz to attract attention. There are only six series on show at the Summit, seen by 450 buyers, so that’s a good situation for us”

That positive sentiment is echoed by Ruediger Boess, executive vice-president of group content acquisitions and sales at ProSiebenSat.1 Media, who is also a member of the Advisory Board: “It’s always fun to meet people from our industry at MIPTV and talk about new programmes, get insights into which ones are working and even, sometimes, get a hint to discover something new on the programme side…”


FEATURE: BUYERS’ SUMMIT

ARCTIC CIRCLE

BULLETS

Origin - Finland/Germany

Origin - Finland

Co-producers - Yellow Film & TV and Bavaria Fiction

Co-producers - Vertigo; Nadcon and Lunanime/Lumiere

International Sales - Lagardere Studios Distribution

International Sales - Sky Vision

ARCTIC Circle is set in the polar region of Finnish Lapland. Policewoman Nina Kautsalo finds a prostitute lying close to death in an old cabin in the wilderness. The criminal investigation takes a surprising twist when a deadly virus is discovered in the woman’s blood sample. A German virologist, Thomas Lorenz, travels up to Lapland to investigate, and Nina and Thomas soon find themselves in the middle of an unusual investigation that ends up forcing them to act outside of the law. Moritz Polter, executive producer of international TV series at Bavaria Fiction, says a big attraction of Arctic Circle is the calibre of talent involved. The series stars Lina Kuustonen (Nurses), Maximilian Bruckner (War Horse), Clemens Schick (Casino Royale) and Pihla Viitala (Black Widows), and is directed by German-based Hannu Salonen (Downhill City; Shades Of Guilt). In addition to its gripping storyline, Polter says: “I also believe the setting of a story is important. The location can become a character in a series and a huge draw for viewers. Lapland, where Arctic Circle was filmed, is breathtakingly beautiful, with wide-open icy plains, and extra-long, stunning dawns and dusks. The outdoor terrain creates a certain mood, in contrast to the homely atmosphere of the indoor scenes.” International sales for Arctic Circle are being handled by Lagardere Studios Distribution. Explaining the appeal of the production, managing director Emmanuelle Bouilhaguet agrees with Polter that “Lapland’s inhospitable landscape is an important part of the project’s attraction. But I have to say that the script and production team are also totally amazing, which is why we entered this partnership so early.” Shot 50% in English with the balance in Finnish and German, Bouilhaguet says Arctic Circle is “exactly the kind of high-quality commercial series that will take our company to the next level”.

BULLETS (10 x 45 mins) tells the story of Mari Saari, a gifted undercover cop who has infiltrated the inner circle of suicide-bomber recruiter Madina Taburova, nicknamed the Black Widow. Mari unwittingly forms a kinship with Madina and soon finds her duties as a cop and her drive to protect Madina coming into conflict. Produced by Finland’s Vertigo, Bullets was created by producer Minna Virtanen with writer Antti Pesonen (Bordertown; Nymphs). “We will take the audience behind the political curtains between East and West,” Virtanen says. “We are living in turbulent times, and Finland happens to have a central position in this complexity.” Virtanen says Bullets is not typical Nordic noir: “It’s a mix of genres: a drama about broken families, a political drama, a police procedural and a spy thriller.” Vertico is working with European producers Lumiere and Nadcon, and local distributors Elisa Viihde and MTV, as well as Sky Vision, which is handling the worldwide distribution outside Finland, Estonia and the Benelux. Pesonen, who shares writing responsibility with Matti Laine (Bordertown) and Kirsi Vikman (Mother Of Mine), adds: “Every character in the series hides their true self in order to survive. But what happens when the assumed identities start to take over?” Nadcon managing director Peter Nadermann has worked on many Nordic productions, but this is the first foray into Finnish TV drama. “We feel there is a new and interesting scene developing in Finland,” he says. “We’ve been working more than a year very successfully on the development of Bullets, which has become a very promising crime-series project with a great cast and a talented director.» Bullets is also timely given that the international market is on the hunt for drama featuring strong female characters. Sky Vision will start soft pitching the show to buyers at MIPTV.

Drama Special Report • 20 • April 2018


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FEATURE: BUYERS’ SUMMIT

CLEANING UP Origin - UK Producer - Sister Pictures International Sales – ITV Studios Global Entertainment

CLEANING UP tells the story of office-cleaner Sam, who is struggling to maintain her life as a devoted mother after becoming addicted to online gambling. In danger of losing custody of her two daughters, she desperately needs to get her life back on track. She soon realises that the office she cleans has access to lucrative stock-market information which, if used correctly, could be the answer to her prayers. Ruth Berry, managing director of ITV Studios Global Entertainment, calls Cleaning Up “an empowering, fun story that is extremely well written and well produced. It’s the softer side of crime, with characters you can relate to and an almost ‘it’s naughty… but’ feel to it. Viewers will root for Sam and potentially place themselves in her position. What would they do if they thought they could get away with it?” In terms of the show’s ability to travel, Berry adds: “It has proven talent behind it, which is a strong starting point. It’s also aspirational, feel-good TV, which is timely and relevant. Yes, it challenges boundaries, but it remains light-hearted and relatable, and will chime with viewers across the globe.” Berry believes that Cleaning Up offers “escapist fun” that will keep viewers wanting to return to the series week after week. “There is a recognition that we all harbour dreams and ambi-

tions, and that these characters — this invisible army of cleaners — are no different,” she adds. Cleaning Up is currently in post-production and will air on UK commercial channel ITV later this year. In terms of the kind of networks it could play out on, Berry says: “It’s a mainstream show and could happily sit across a range of platforms.”

GIGANTES Origin - Spain Co-producers - Telefonica Studio, Lazona International Sales - About Premium Content

GIGANTES tells the story of the Guerrero brothers, Daniel, Ciro and Clemente, who for decades have controlled the drug traffic in Iberia under the direction of their father, Abraham. But time passes and things start to go wrong: Daniel, the eldest son, is jailed for 15 years, Clemente disappears and Abraham grows old and senile. Ciro is left with a drug empire to rule and only a teenage daughter and a few rivals to worry about. But then Daniel gets out of jail and is eager to reclaim his place in the family. Emmanuelle Guilbart and Laurent Boissel, joint-CEOs and founders of About Premium Content, say that, although Gigantes is a crime saga, it is above all a story about family — three brothers raised under a ferocious regime and condemned to destroy each other. With award-winning director Enrique Urbizu at the helm, Gigantes is also much more cinematic than most series: “It’s not mimicking any existing series, but uses a new mix of genres to tell a completely original story. Add to that a very cinematographic aesthetic and an iconic Spanish setting that has not really been explored on international television and you get a series that stands out.” In terms of its international appeal, Guilbart and Boissel say Gigantes has firstrate production values, a distinctive style, a strong local component and a universal narrative: “Those are the key elements that allow a series to travel well. Gigantes’ subject matter and tone will make it a great candidate for premium pay TV and platforms, but it could attract other types of broadcasters as well.” Drama Special Report • 21 • April 2018


FEATURE: BUYERS’ SUMMIT PAGAN PEAK Origin - Germany/Austria

TRIGGER

Co-Producers - Wiedemann & Berg Television; epo-film produktionsgesellschaft

Origin – Russia Producer – Sreda Production

International Sales - Beta Film

International Sales – Sreda Production

IN PAGAN PEAK, two detectives are sent to investigate when a weirdly positioned body is found in a mountain pass in the Alps, close to the German-Austrian border. For German detective Ellie, this is the first real challenge of her career, while her Austrian counterpart, Gedeon, seems to have lost interest in his work. The pair duly discover more crime scenes with symbolically posed victims, reminiscent of pagan rituals. Ellie and Gedeon’s subsequent hunt for the perpetrator leads them into dark places and archaic Alpine customs — and, ultimately, into the paranoid world of the killer. Pagan Peak, which launches on Sky Germany in early 2019, is being produced by Quirin Berg and Max Wiedemann, bestknown for Netflix’s first-ever German original Dark. According to Berg, one of Pagan Peak’s greatest assets is its stunning backdrop: “We’re in the awe-inspiring Alps in the dead of winter, which makes for a breathtaking atmosphere. It has a very archaic touch. Together with our partner Sky, we’re looking forward to having an opportunity to make a mark on the current series landscape.” Beta Film is handling Pagan Peak’s international sales outside of Germany. Oliver Bachert, Beta Film’s senior vice-president of international sales and acquisitions, believes the show can play across most channels and platforms. He is also confident that there will be no resistance to the fact it is a German-language show: “It’s less of an issue than it used to be. Our experience is that, if a show is good, it will find its audience. I think the market is mainly focused on whether a show feels authentic and has the right atmosphere.”

TRIGGER tells the story of Artem, a 35-year-old psychologist, whose controversial therapeutic methods are successful until one of his clients commits suicide. Artem had tried to cure his patient by taking him up to the roof and telling him to jump, hoping the therapy would have the opposite effect. It doesn’t — and Artem is sentenced to eight years in prison. When he is released, he still believes in his methods and is determined to prove that his patient’s death was not his fault. Each episode of Trigger features a separate case, which Artem brilliantly solves. But will he be able to save himself? Sreda is known for its period dramas such as Trotsky, but it has also carved out a reputation for itself in edgy contemporary dramas that have the potential to play on the international stage. The company’s CEO Aleksandr Tselako, for example, has licensed several shows to Netflix, including Sparta, The Method, Locust, Fartsa, Territory and Silver Spoon. The latter is a 2015 crime drama, which is also being developed as a format for the US. Commenting on Trigger’s international potential, Tselako says: “Mixed-genre drama is popular these days… family drama, crime drama, psychological thrillers. In this show, the cases are all real and we have a charismatic protagonist. Also, this project is probably more familiar for a European or American audience, as having a therapist in Russia is rare. I think the series suits platforms such as Netflix or Amazon, or any other European platform or channel that is ready for mixed-genre drama. The format would work well for any country, as loneliness and psychological childhood problems occur everywhere.”

Drama Special Report • 22 • April 2018


FEATURE: BUYERS AND COMMISSIONERS

Versailles, co-produced by Banijay Studios France with Canal+, Newen Group subsidiary Capa Drama and Canada’s Incendo

How to be different from the rest COMMISSIONING an original drama or paying for a licensed scripted title is not cheap. The price tag for high-end drama is now around $3m an hour. However, audiences’ growing appetite for quality drama has seen the world’s commissioners and buyers add the genre to an increasing number of platforms, from its traditional heartland of free-to-air and cable and satellite, to the new VOD platforms that are storming the industry. In this uber-competitive environment, where between 400 and 500 hours of drama is produced annually, commissioners and buyers want their money’s worth. Cathrine Wiernik, director of programmes at Sweden’s Bonnier Broadcasting, achieves this by negotiating for titles that can be exploited via as many release windows as possible. “We try to maximise every acquisition and commission via

the whole chain,” she says, referring to Bonnier’s bouquet of major Swedish and Nordic platforms, which includes freeto-air commercial broadcast giant TV4, ad-funded catch-up/ VOD service TV4 Play and pan-Nordic subscription-funded platform C More, which car-

ries both premium linear and on-demand content. “Not every right will be appropriate,” Wiernik adds. “But when we acquire high-end big dramas, or Swedish or international co-productions, especially from the UK or US, we want it on the whole ecosystem.”

Evergreen Swedish detective franchise Beck

Drama Special Report • 23 • April 2018

Today’s moviegrade TV drama is expensive — especially if it fails. So what separates a channelbuilding hit from an expensive flop? What are commissioners and buyers looking for? Juliana Koranteng sets out to answer the mostasked question in Cannes Bonnier likes to buy what Wiernik calls “broad-appeal serialised crime dramas, stories with an arc” in the English language. These are expensive to make, but they look good, and get viewers talking and coming back for more. As examples, she cites Riviera, the sophisticated


FEATURE: BUYERS AND COMMISSIONERS

Bonnier Broadcasting’s Cathrine Wiernik

10-part series that premiered on the UK’s Sky Atlantic last year; and blockbuster The Night Manager, which debuted on BBC One in the UK and on AMC in the US. Wherever possible, Bonnier goes after the Nordic rights, as it did with The Night Manager. “And sometimes we collaborate on pre-buys for local and international dramas with TV2 in Denmark and Norway, even though they have different owners,” Wiernik adds. With competition from Netflix and HBO Nordic, Bonnier seeks

Banijay Rights’ Chris Stewart

rights that keep its viewers within its ecosystem. “We have the ability to cross-promote within the region with all the windows that we have,” Wiernik says. She adds that “it’s good for producers not to feel buried among 1,000 titles”, which can happen when their content is available only on an SVOD platform. Bonnier’s commissions, on the other hand, focus on local dramas, including the evergreen Swedish detective franchise Beck, which airs on TV4 and C More, as does edgy new thriller Farang, which is set in Thailand.

Gaumont’s Vanessa Shapiro

ITVS GE’s Ruth Berry

Also new is terrorist thriller Greyzone, which debuted on C More and Denmark’s TV2, which co-produced the show. According to research group IHS Markit, of the 77 startup production companies that launched internationally between 2013 and 2017, 32 are focused on drama. Investments in scripted-content production companies grew more than 29% during the same period, compared to 8% for non-scripted firms. In today’s aggressive drama business, few legacy TV networks can afford to be the

sole investor in a major drama. Consequently, distributors are now helping to fund expensive original productions. Separating the roles of buyer and commissioner is no longer clear-cut. Los Angeles-based Vanessa Shapiro is president of worldwide TV distribution and co-production at international studio Gaumont, which is France-headquartered. But while Bonnier’s Wiernik both commissions and buys drama content, Shapiro commissions and sells, which means she needs to understand what buyers want. The pressure to pick a potential hit early in the development cycle is also increasing, with buyers, commissioners and other investors coming in as early as the script stage, especially on projects with big-name talent attached. “Buyers are looking for original, creative characters to be attached to,” Shapiro says. “If the script doesn’t grab my attention in the first five pages, I lose interest.” She reckons audiences will give a drama around 10 minutes of their time before zapping to another channel if it fails to hook them. Vanessa Shapiro: “If the script doesn’t grab my attention in the first five pages, I lose interest”

Terrorist thriller Greyzone, which debuted on C More

Drama Special Report • 24 • April 2018

Shapiro adds: “If I’m getting involved in a project today, by the


FEATURE: BUYERS AND COMMISSIONERS time it gets done, it will about a year from now. I’m already in talks about 2019 and 2020. It’s a matter of finding what you think the audience really wants — something not seen before.” Meanwhile, Gaumont is thriving from its investments in crime. It is making the second season of L’Art Du Crime (The Art Of Crime) for France 2, as well as new 6 x 60 mins crime thriller Nox for Canal+. The demand for international crime dramas is no longer limited to English-language offerings from the US and the UK, Shapiro says, as proven by the success of Narcos, the mega-series made in English and Spanish by Gaumont for streaming-TV colossus Netflix. “Only five years ago, all we sold were English-language international series, mostly from the US,” she adds. “Now, we’re opening Gaumont in Germany and the UK. The fact is that high-end European series are much cheaper to make than US productions.” Bonnier’s Wiernik says that foreign-language police procedurals are not popular with Nordic viewers, who are spoilt for choice when it comes to quality crime content. Shapiro, on the other hand, says the genre is still in demand in other European markets: “Europeans love procedurals, especially the US ones. CSI is still airing in France successfully.” Chris Stewart, vice-president of sales (UK and Eire) and acquisitions at Banijay Rights, a subsidiary of Paris-headquartered international production powerhouse Banijay Group, agrees that there is still a demand for procedurals in several European markets. “There is always a portion of the audience that will go back to procedurals,” he says. “They do so in Germany and France, where the genre has always been a staple of their schedules. In

SHOSHANA WILSON (UK) Director of programming, scheduling and acquisitions, Fox Networks Group Europe “WHEN buying, what we want is broad and compelling. From acquisitions, a procedural with a little twist would be nice and, from commissions, a statement serialised piece. It’s key that titles can work on both linear and non-linear and that the shows complement each other, so that we have light and shade in the schedule.”

ROSS CROWLEY (AUSTRALIA) Director of content, Foxtel “WHILE Australians are very outwardlooking and enjoy drama from all over the world, they especially love local drama. Two of our recent commissions, the beautiful new Picnic At Hanging Rock and the compelling Fighting Season, are both being presented at MIPTV by FremantleMedia and Sky Vision respectively. We consider commissions that speak to our audiences about universal stories executed through characters they can identify with. And an Australian angle is essential.”

KAZUFUMI NAGASAWA (JAPAN) Chief content officer and board member, HJ Holdings “WE ARE looking for the next The Walking Dead, Game Of Thrones or The Handmaid’s Tale. We are also keen to acquire mega-hit drama series from all over the world. For example, we have acquired Wentworth from Australia, The Day After from Russia, Magnificent Century from Turkey and Locked Up from Spain. We are flexible in terms of genres. We prefer serialised dramas, but have a limited appetite for mini-series. The English language is preferred, but is not a must.”

COCO MA (CHINA) Vice-president of Drama Centre, Youku, Alibaba Media & Entertainment Group “WE COMMISSION and buy original dramas. In 2018, we are looking for bold and fresh dramas with exciting new twists, whether it’s in the storyline, the cast or the production quality. This also goes for both our original local series and overseas acquisitions. We want stories that appeal to millennials and online users in China. For Youku, that means young adults from 18 to 25. This year, we’ve got a full slate of drama programmes, ranging from IP adaptation, historical period and fantasy to crime, detective and, of course, classic romantic comedies.”

Drama Special Report • 25 • April 2018

the UK, Father Brown and Midsomer Murders perform well on the digital platforms, where they are being repeated. That’s the beauty of them, compared to the 10-part drama for which you need to find a specific time slot.” As a result, buyer demand for crime continues to grow, Stewart says: “It is always high on the shopping list.” He adds that audiences also continue to clamour for well-crafted period dramas, such as Versailles, which is about to enter its third season. Versailles, set during the reign of Louis XIV, was co-produced by Banijay Studios France with Canal+, Newen Group subsidiary Capa Drama and Canada’s Incendo. At a time when Netflix and Amazon have pledged to spend billions of dollars on original content, while rival Hulu has raised its investment in original dramas, the pressure to commission unique shows is more intense than ever. “The ever-increasing budgets from the SVODs, which are prepared to pay high for premium content, are making it difficult for the free-to-air broadcasters to compete,” Stewart says. “There are more co-productions compared to the past. Before, a broadcaster might have been the sole commissioner. Now, it has to co-produce — and that’s not an easy option either.” In addition to Versailles, Banijay Rights is returning to MIPTV with Wolf Creek, Black Ops and Occupied. “It helps when dramas return year after year because they are tested products,” Stewart says. “Buyers like that, because they know it’s something that works for them and the networks.” He also points out that quality does not necessarily mean costly: “We’re looking for high-budget titles with movie-grade production standards and values. And it’s tricky to find something that has not been done before. There


FEATURE: BUYERS AND COMMISSIONERS are only a small number of toptier writers that UK broadcasters are willing to commission. But our European partners have shown that it doesn’t need to be expensive all the time.” Chris Stewart: “We’re looking for highbudget titles with moviegrade production standards and values. And it’s tricky to find something that has not been done before”

ITV Studios (ITVS) commissions for its own commercial network — also called ITV — as well as for third parties. Recent commissions include a 2018 adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray’s classic novel Vanity Fair, which is being produced by its subsidiary Mammoth Screen. Mammoth Screen is also adapting HG Wells’ sci-fi classic The War Of The Worlds for the flagship UK public-broadcast network BBC One. Trauma, a contemporary-drama hit in the UK, is also made by an ITVS company, Tall Story Pictures. “We are a seeing a desire for IP-driven event minis, such as Vanity Fair,” says Ruth Berry, managing director of ITV Studios Global Entertainment (ITVS GE). “Broadcasters are excited by these big-branded minis, which they can place into their schedules. That’s something our forthcoming drama from Mammoth Screen, The War Of The Worlds, will also offer.” From her experience, Berry says buyers want stories featuring taut crime narratives, challenging political themes and aspirational relationships. She cites ITVS GE’s Age Before Beauty from UKbased Mainstreet Pictures; Little Dog, which is co-produced by Canada’s Cameron Pictures for CBC; Aber Bergen from ITV Studios Norway; and Rig 45 by Sweden-based Mopar Media Group for MTG Studios, which

Vanity Fair, produced by Mammoth Screen

is set to premiere on Nordic streaming platform Viaplay. “We are concentrating our efforts on building a more global portfolio housing a mix of procedural and serialised dramas from around the world, with the aim of having something for everyone,” Berry adds. Once a producer knows what a commissioner or buyer wants, another hurdle emerges — ensuring what ends up on the audience’s screens is also what the viewer wants. “With deficits often exceeding the 50% mark, one of the key challenges is weaving together the financing needed to get a show over the line,” says David O’Donoghue, joint managing director of the UK’s Carnival Films. “With territorial boundaries falling and drama volumes increasing, what’s hot today may not be tomorrow. So the speed at which a project can move through development is critical.” O’Donoghue adds: “The fact that audiences have an unparalleled choice of content means that authenticity, quality and brand position are vital not only for commissioners, but for international too.”

Aber Bergen from ITV Studios Norway

Drama Special Report • 26 • April 2018


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FEATURE:

CANNESERIES presents 10 of the best

This week sees the launch of CANNESERIES, the new Cannes International Series Festival. Andy Fry reports

THIS week sees the launch of CANNESERIES, the new Cannes International Series Festival, giving a global voice to an increasingly powerful art form. Designed to showcase drama series from all over the world, CANNESERIES has been created with the City of Cannes and in partnership with MIPTV. “Cannes is famous all over the world as a centre for the entertainment industry, so it’s the right place to launch this event — and MIPTV is its nat-

On the jury: screenwriter and director Audrey Fouche

ural partner. CANNESERIES is working hand-in-hand with MIPTV to deliver a world-class festival.,” CANNESERIES managing director Benoit Louvet says. The 10 series in competition were unveiled in March and comprise “innovative series from around the world, in every format, every distribution form and with no selection quotas applied”. A jury headed by writer and creator Harlan Coben will decide which shows take home the six awards on offer.

On the jury: composer Cristobal Tapia de Veer

The Official Selection is: • Aqui En La Tierra, a Mexican drama set against the backdrop of a controversial airport-construction project • Cacciatore: The Hunter, an Italian mafia drama set on the streets of Sicily in 1993 • Felix, a Spanish thriller about a man searching for a missing woman • Killing Eve, a US drama about a cat-and-mouse chase between a female MI5 agent and an elusive female killer • Miguel, an Israeli drama focus-

Jury president: bestselling author and showrunner Harlan Coben

Drama Special Report • 28 • April 2018

ing on the issue of cross-culture adoption • Mother, a Korean drama about a woman who kidnaps a child to protect her from her abusive parents • State Of Happiness, a Norwegian series set in an oil-drilling community in Stavanger in 1969 • The Typist, a German production about a woman who is trying to find out what happened to her missing daughter • Undercover, a Belgian drama about two agents trying to shut down an ecstasy drugs business

On the jury: actor Melisa Sozen


FEATURE:

On the jury: actor Michael Kenneth Williams

• When Heroes Fly, an Israeli drama about four estranged special-forces friends who reunite to find a woman who is the former lover of one of them and the sister of another. Screening out of competition is the World Premiere of the third season of Canal+’s Versailles, which opened the Festival on April 4. With Coben on the jury are: actor Paula Beer (Germany); screenwriter and director Audrey Fouche (France); actor Melisa Sozen (Turkey); composer Cristobal Tapia de Veer (Canada/Chile); and actor Michael Kenneth Williams (US). They join the first CANNESERIES patron, actor Sidse Babett Knudsen (Borgen), and a line-up of international talent from the CANNESERIES screenings and the shows to be launched at MIPTV, on the evening of Monday, April 9, at the steps of the Palais des Festivals. Officially closing the first edition, the CANNESERIES

On the jury: actor Paula Beer

Award Ceremony is broadcast live on Canal+, from the auditorium Lumiere in the Palais des Festivals. The event is hosted by French actor and comedian Kyan Khojandi. Following the ceremony, series creator Harlan Coben and lead actors Michael C Hall and Audrey Fleurot will present Safe, produced by Red, a Studiocanal company, for C8 and Netflix. At the Opening Ceremony on Saturday, April 7, digital juror Michelle Dockery was presented with the Variety Icon Award. The Ceremony was followed by the World Premiere Screening of MGM Television’s The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair. Following on from the inaugural event, Louvet says CANNESERIES also “marks the start of the creation of an area in the west of Cannes dedicated to audiovisual creation and production, that will involve the University of Cannes, and will offer high-level diplomas and a business incubator”.

On the digital jury: actor Michelle Dockery

On the digital jury: actor Jessica Barden

On the digital jury: writer, producer and director Ed Solomon

On the digital jury: producer and showrunner Adi Shankar

The first CANNESERIES patron: actor Sidse Babett Knudsen

Drama Special Report • 29 • April 2018


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The CANNESERIES Official Competition 1 - Mother (Korea); 2 - Aqui En La Tierra (Mexico); 3 - Felix (Spain); 4 - Killing Eve (US); 5 - Miguel (Israel); 6 - State Of Happiness (Norway); 7 - Cacciatore: The Hunter (Italy); 8 - The Typist (Germany); 9 - Undercover (Belgium); 10 - When Heroes Fly (Israel)


FEATURE:

Around the world

in 12 stories MIPTV and CANNESERIES — the brand new International Cannes Series Festival — have teamed up to create In Development, a screen-agnostic drama incubator, which aims to fast-track the production of premium content. Andy Fry reports

IN DEVELOPMENT’s mission is to discover new voices and fresh, original ideas for all screens. Decision-makers will be able to connect with some of the world’s leading writers and producers through pitches, round tables and high-level networking. Ultimately, the hope is that this will lead to scripted projects being greenlit. A call for entries was made in 2017 and resulted in 344 projects being put forward from 46 countries. By March 2018, an international jury of drama experts had selected 12 projects from producers and screenwriters. These will be presented to potential partners during In Development, which will be held in the Palais des Festivals. For CANNESERIES managing director Benoit Louvet, In Development is “an essential element of the partnership” with MIPTV. “It underlines our commitment to taking an active role in helping individuals and companies develop drama projects,” he says.

From a MIPTV point of view, Laurine Garaude, director of television at Reed MIDEM adds: “The 12 selected projects are the perfect illustration of the richness of global talent. We’re delighted to provide a showcase for these projects, all of which have strong potential in the international market.” Among the expert decision-makers on the event’s jury was Vanessa Shapiro, Gaumont Television’s president of worldwide TV distribution and co-productions, who say: “In Development is a great way for us, as a producer and distributor, to have access to great content all at once in the same place. It allows us to meet with producers, writers and showrunners at the very early stages of series development.” For Shapiro, the event is very timely given the boom in scripted content: “What has changed in our industry is that there are more outlets today than there have ever been and the SVOD platforms, in particular, have

provided a new platform for this content to reach audiences globally. Additionally, there is a big appetite for binge-watching and consumers are watching more series than they have ever done before. As a result, there are significantly more drama series going into production and this has opened the door for creative talent around the world who might not previously have been discovered to get involved in pitching, developing and producing their projects.” Fellow jury member Erik Pack, head of distribution and co-production at Platform One Media, says: “In Development is a good opportunity to explore co-production opportunities around the world, meet with producers and co-production executives, and gauge where the market is going. There is immense positivity around the idea of international co-productions, so it would be exciting to see this translate into real partnerships.”

Drama Special Report • 31 • April 2018

Particularly exciting for Pack is the fact that country-of-origin is less of an issue in drama these days: “There is a real openness to partnering with producers and broadcasters across borders. The bottom line is there is a desire for great stories and great characters, regardless of the origin of the series or the idea.” Erik Pack: “The bottom line is there is a desire for great stories and great characters, regardless of the origin of the series or the idea”

Jane Gogan, head of drama at Irish public broadcaster RTE believes the event will provide much needed help to producers and writers in what has become a ferociously competitive market: “It’s expensive and takes time for a producer to build a reputation and make connections, particularly in an international business. This idea potentially concentrates that


FEATURE: journey with greater efficiency. Having been a producer, I can see the value of getting access to mentoring and experienced business partners when you’re starting out.” Details of the 12 projects remain sparse, since they are still in early development. But what is known is that there are concepts from the US, Canada, Germany, Spain, France, the UK, Sweden, Belgium, Iceland and New Zealand. These are divided into two groups: Pro-

grammes In Development and Early-Stage Projects. The subject matter of the 12 contenders is, as one would expect, diverse. But there are some strong female-driven stories. Angelica, for example, centres on four women connected to an abortion clinic in the US Midwest. Dead Head is about a fake psychic who develops the ability to communicate with the dead after an accident, while Whatever, Linda is a 1970s period piece about a woman who starts a financial Ponzi scheme.

Other subjects tackled include cryonics, cryptocurrencies, a crumbling East Germany and a dual time-stream detective story. There is also a modern reworking of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, which places the action in recent France, with Jean Valjean reincarnated as a convict turned hotel-owner. As well as winning the opportunity to pitch a show to a high-level professional audience, selected projects may be eligible for funding from In Development’s official partners. Leading European indie Federation

Entertainment (The Bureau) will offer to co-develop, co-produce and distribute one of the selected projects. Meanwhile, French think tank La Fabrique des Formats and its investment fund will award financing for up to two series from the event’s selection, backed by a French producer or co-producer. In Development will provide attendees access to key decision-makers and potential partners, matchmaking and mentoring opportunities, and a programme of panels and case studies.

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Drama Special Report • 32 • April 2018

1 - ANGELICA Produced and written by Jen Mc Gowan and Eliza Lee (US); 2 - DEAD HEAD Produced by Screentime NZ (New Zealand); 3 - GR5 Produced by Zodiak (Belgium); 4 - LES MISERABLES Produced by Elephant Story (France); 5 - STRANGE FISHING SUNDAYS Produced by Laniakea Capital (Spain); 6 - THE MACHINERY Produced by Anagram Sverige (Sweden) 7 - THE SOURCES OF EVIL Produced by Wueste Film (Germany); 8 - WHATEVER, LINDA Produced by The Donaldson Company (Canada)


FEATURE:

EARLY-STAGE PROJECTS 1

2

3

4

1 - CLASS A Written by Charley Packham, Oliver Deacon and Simon Schneider (UK); 2 - REVIVAL Written by Joseph Kay (Canada); 3 - SELFIES Written by Joanne Lau (UK); 4 - VIOLATOR Written by Jon Atli Jonasson and Ragnar Jonsson (Iceland)

There are four Oh My Pitch! sessions over the two days of In Development. The first takes place on Tuesday, April 10 from 09.50 to 10.35 and from 16.30 to 17.15. The second is on Wednesday, April 11 from 09.50 to 10.35 and from 16.40 to 17.25.

THE DIGITAL SHORT-FORM SERIES PITCH IN DEVELOPMENT is designed to find great projects for all screens. In view of this, within the body of the event, six finalists have also been named for the Digital Short-Form Series Pitch competition. Drawn from the US, France, Argentina, South Korea, Australia and Canada, these finalists will have the chance to pitch their projects (pictured) in Cannes on Tuesday, April 10 from 15.10 to 16.10. This is the second edition of the Digital Short-Form Series Pitch, which sets out to find new short-form talent, and provides creatives with an opportunity to break into the international scene and meet key decision-makers. For this event, there is a separate jury consisting of experts from companies including NBCUniversal, Viacom, Verizon Digital Entertainment, Caracol TV, Canal+ Group and Alibaba Media.

1

2

3

4

5

6

1 - BEAST Presented by Blueprint Motion Pictures (US); 2 - BIG G Presented by Octopods Films (Belgium); 3 - DEAD LINE Presented by Nativa (Argentina); 4 - DXYZ Presented by 72Seconds (South Korea); 5 - THE G.O.A.T Presented by More Sauce (Australia); 6 - MADE WITH LOVE Presented by First Love Films (Canada)

Drama Special Report • 33 • April 2018


FEATURE: THE CREATIVES Endemol Shine’s Troy: Fall Of A City

Creativity gets serious

In a remarkable half a decade, the drama content world has shifted on its axis, with demands of audiences and broadcast players for high-end drama causing seismic swings in how ideas get incubated, developed, scripted and financed, and who gets involved in the creative process and when. Marlene Edmunds reports HEIGHTENED collaboration between drama players, and a wave of partnerships between distribution companies and the most prolific and creative production houses, have been driven by the prolonged global demand for high-end television drama. Take ITV Studios, which now has stakes in 18 drama labels headed up by some of the most innovative minds in the business, including Apple Tree Productions, founded by former DR head of

drama Piv Bernth, and Riccardo Tozzi’s Cattleya (Gomorra). ITV Studios president international Maria Kyriacou says that ITV Studios has grown substantially in the last few years for good reasons. “People do their best in their own creative units and that’s a culture we’ve fostered at ITV,” she says. “All of our developments have come at the creative level so we have allowed these companies to make their own de-

cisions about what they want their audiences to watch, what they want to commission and what they want to produce.” She adds: “It is absolutely their decision and that strategy has provided us with the opportunity to have a culture that allows these labels that we have to co-exist within a network.” The rising costs of making high-end drama has clearly been the main driver of such developments. “In the past, largely

Drama Special Report • 34 • April 2018

because financing was more contained inside the domestic market, distribution was potentially treated as an add-on and it was great if a project also travelled outside of its domestic market, Endemol Shine International (ESI) CEO Cathy Payne says.” Now, production financially depends on distribution outside the domestic market and requires a collaborative approach from the outset. “We actively work with our creative


FEATURE: THE CREATIVES

Bavaria Fiction’s Oliver Vogel

colleagues ––both in-house companies and the third parties we represent ––to identify the path for a project from development through to financing and then its distribution outside the commissioning broadcasters,” Payne says. ESI has a number of scripted series recently commissioned in the UK for which Payne and her team are actively deciding on the right financing route. “The scenarios vary from co-production, to presales to being fully funded by distribution in advance, with sales to be explored later down the path. Each project will have a different strategy and this applies across English and non-English product.” Among recent series currently on air where ESI has been present at the early stages of development include Troy: Fall Of A City, The Good Karma Hospital, Action Team and Harem.    While competition among bluechip players has driven budgets up, many believe that money isn’t everything. Payne says that Broadchurch, The Missing, The Fall and Happy Valley were all great successes and yet, not the most expensive shows. Keren Shahar, Keshet International (KI) COO also questions whether quality drama always has to come with a high price

Big Light’s Frank Spotnitz

tag. “I think storytelling is always the starting point,” Shahar says. “This means that the show doesn’t necessarily need to have over-the-top production values. It also means that you don’t have to have top international talent. It’s all about the storytelling and the characters – characters that audiences anywhere can either relate to, or not, but that trigger an emotion, or a reflection, with the audience.” Keshet International’s global drama co-development department concerns itself, usually as equal partners, in developing an idea, packaging it, pitching, selling (and co-producing at times) with another partner – a producer or a broadcaster, Shahar says. But the shift is clearly also about incubating and developing creativity as early as possible. Keshet recently picked up a majority stake in Greenbird Media, a stable of UK production companies involved in content and incubation investment. The bottom line is that producers and their writers are often happy to use distributors to scale up. Independent distributor all3media international (all3mi) does just that by helping move projects toward a studio/ co-commissioning model. CEO Louise Pedersen says that all3mi has a number of shows that it has co-commissioned and co-fi-

Endemol Shine’s Cathy Payne

Keshet’s Keren Shahar

nanced to a higher level than the usual distribution model, among them The Feed, a Studio Lambert production for Amazon Prime Video, Liberty Global and all3mi. “We co-developed and greenlit the project with Liberty Global/Virgin and then attached Amazon as the co-producer in the Americas,” Pedersen says. “We’ve invested development money into a number of projects in the last six months.” The company is currently working with German colleagues and plans to announce a new partnership on a Scandinavian script at MIPTV. Kyriacou, Payne, Pedersen and Shahar are all part of the Big Shift conference in the main programme at MIPTV that spotlights distributors who are approaching the business with a producers’ mindset. Patrick Nebout: “Distributors are eager to secure access to the most attractive projects and ideas as early as possible”

“As the hunt for the best IP is becoming fiercer for every day, it’s no surprise distributors are eager to secure access to the most attractive projects and ideas as early as possible,” Patrick

Drama Special Report • 35 • April 2018

Nebout, managing director and executive producer of Dramacorp says. And from a producer perspective there are more than a few advantages. “You are able to get much more – and specific – market intel because the distributor is investing and risking money at a very early stage. It has a clear motivation to support and back you as a producer in any way it can to secure the commercial viability of the project.” But Nebout also warns this trend “could also fuel an expanding drama bubble and bidding wars between distributors”. Dramacorp, he says, stays open to different forms of partnerships, whether through joint ventures or co-productions. Among Dramacorp’s latest projects is a joint venture with Pampas for the series Hamilton, which has Petter Rosenlund (Heavy Water) as lead writer and Kaspar Barfoed (Below The Surface) as conceptual director. “The backdrop is the new and chaotic cold war unfolding in the Nordic region. The world has never been as cynical as it is today,” Nebout says. “Our show is about how a young intelligence officer gets caught and lost in this deceptive new reality, not knowing where his loyalty should be.” Lionsgate is among companies


FEATURE: THE CREATIVES

all3mi’s Louise Pedersen

ITV Studios’ Maria Kyriacou

that began getting up close and personal on the scripted front some years ago. Executive vice-president, worldwide television Chris Selak spearheaded Lionsgate’s internal scripted TV business for seven years before moving up to her current position in 2017. Oversight of international scripted, a focus on co-productions with European territories, and creative oversight of newly launched Lionsgate UK was added to her brief. “We are always looking for innovative ways to develop and produce content around the world,” Selak says. Among projects set to begin filming in WITH A list of credentials that includes The X-Files, Crossing Lines, The Man In The High Castle, Medici: Masters Of Florence, Ransom and The Indian Detective, Frank Spotnitz, CEO, Big Light Productions, describes his company as an idea generating machine. “Our development team is constantly reading the news, and brainstorming among ourselves for ideas we can take to writers,” he says. “And, of course, we love hearing ideas from writers we meet with, then helping them to develop those ideas and find the best broadcaster or platform for them.”

Dramacorp’s Patrick Nebout

April is The Rook, a co-production between Lionsgate and Liberty Global for the Starz platform. In addition to putting its own creative team in the UK led by Steve November, Lionsgate has invested in local scripted production companies Potboiler and Kindle and has a first-look deal with Bonafide. “We’re very excited about the projects that will emerge from all three of these ventures,” Selak says. “We have also been working closely with Canadian production companies and broadcasters for years, and the new partnership between Bell Media and Starz creates even

Apple Tree Productions’ Piv Bernth

more original content opportunities there.” Canada has had a strong showing on the co-production and development front for some time and this year is no exception. Canadian projects Whatever, Linda and Revival are among 12 shortlisted projects being pitched at Cannes Drama Creative Forum: In Development (April 10-11). The two-day event is aimed at providing the opportunity for screenwriters and producers to pitch and seek finance and broadcast partners for new drama production. Joseph Kay-created Revival is among

Ransom (Big Light Productions)

Drama Special Report • 36 • April 2018

Cattleya’s Riccardo Tozzi

Early Stage Projects and The Donaldson Company’s Whatever Linda was selected for the Programmes In Development category. Mackenzie Donaldson, executive producer and president of The Donaldson Company, says: “With the support of Bell Media in Canada we are writing a kick-ass, darkly funny, thriller of a ponzi-con story, but we will need other partners to bring that pilot and show to life.” She adds: “In Development is the perfect event for Whatever, Linda to be seen by international buyers, co-producers, studios and broadcasters. It


FEATURE: THE CREATIVES will expose our team to some of the biggest international decision-makers out there. And it will help us get one step closer to a green light.” Revival is a darkly comic drama about a married couple with a cryonics business whose previously dead clients come back to life. “Revival subverts the standard ‘case-of-the-week’ with something new – a ‘revival-ofthe-week’,” says writer/creator Kay. “The creative spark came from a fascination with the subject matter and a desire to tell a serialised character story, while being refreshing and delivering on a solid episodic framework.” Canada’s Made With Love was also selected for the Digital Short Form Series Pitch. The 10x10 project was co-created by Erin Carter and Justine

Stevens, with First Love Films’ Andrew Nicholas McCann Smith and Laura Perlmutter on board as producers. “We love digital content because it is an unhampered and new territory that allows you to create your own rules when exploring drama. Formats, lengths, and whether the image is horizontal or vertical are all up for discussion,” Carter says. “Short-form content also lets you access audiences that traditionally haven’t been catered to, due to the reduced financial risk. This is why we’re can’t wait to make Made With Love, an LGBTQ show that can access a generally underserved audience.” Canada Media Fund and Telefilm Canada (supporters of In Development) are part of Canada’s public-private support eco-system for the audio-

visual industry. Canada Media Fund CEO Valerie Creighton says that the Canadian industry “is increasingly united around a vision for a world where Canada’s talent and stories transcend platforms and borders, triggering emotion, innovation and ideas”. Creighton adds: “We are achieving this, thanks to the extraordinary skills of our creators and talent, but also thanks to the support of a funding ecosystem that supports innovation, and visionary government policies that continue to place an emphasis on exports development.” Canada-based Kew Media launched an IP in early 2017 and has been on a major M&A spree since picking up stakes in a pack of production and distribution players over the last year. Kew brought on board

well-known industry figure Carrie Stein, formerly with eOne and ICM, to oversee its TV drama efforts as executive vice-president of Global Scripted Series. Stein has a long track record when it comes to drama, including working on the BET drama The Book Of Negroes, CBS/ Shaw series Ransom, and Welcome To Sweden, among others. Carrie Stein: “The key to building a highend slate of shows is to work with the best talent”

“I have very strong relationships with top producers and writers and I’ve learned that the key to building a high-end slate of shows is to work with the best talent and choose distinct and engaging stories to adapt,” Stein

163_RM IN DEVELOPMENT_DRAMA_TV

By

and

The Cannes Drama Creative Forum

Discover. Connect. Greenlight. 10 and 11 April 2018 Cannes’ Gare Maritime

#indevelopment canneseries.com/en/indevelopment

Pre-registration mandatory. Space limited

Drama Special Report • 37 • April 2018


FEATURE: THE CREATIVES says. “In this highly competitive market, you need to keep your eye on the ball and play to your competitive advantage”. Part of Stein’s brief is to work with Kew’s newly acquired drama production companies Sienna, Awesome Media & Entertainment and Jigsaw Productions. “Jeff Norton’s transmedia company Awesome produces books, online, film and TV and Norton himself has published over 30 novels and has been partnering with top-notch companies,” Stein says.   Multiple award-winning Jigsaw Productions founder and documentary superstar Alex Gibney has recently turned his considerable talent to scripted TV, with the recent launch of The Looming Tower on Hulu. And Sienna “has managed, unlike a lot of Canadian producers, to develop ideas for the world market rather than simply the Canadian market,” Stein says. Headed by talented duo Julia Sereny and Jennifer Kawaja, Sienna is now in post-production on Ransom 2 for CBS and on the third season of Cardinal.  “Kew’s mission is to work with talent at the earliest stages of development and to be aligned with our producing partners from the beginning to ensure that each project can go the distance and have the greatest chance of commercial and creative success,” Stein says. “We will support our partners on an as-needed basis. If it makes sense for a project to be done at Netflix, or even with another studio, we will support that strategy if it’s best for the project, even though it means giving up distribution. “Kew Media is currently courting several scripted companies for potential corporate acquisitions and strategic alliances and are also building a slate with independent producers with whom we want to work”.

The Looming Tower (Jigsaw Productions)

Also triggering the shift are the many changes in international co-production models over the last decade. Companies and groups who once played it safe, are now willing to take risks to find finance and fresh ideas. All3mi’s Pedersen says that a lot of the projects she is working on would not happen without a co-producing partner. “That’s obvious on premium dramas but what we are also looking at is financing lower-budget shows with a group of co-production partners who are looking for the same type of show. We are not talking about the old ‘Euro-pudding’ model but rather projects with a really clear creative vision and purpose and a lead editorial vision which deliver on what we know some of our broadcast partners are struggling to find.” On the brink of its second decade and local success with titles including Rosenheim Cops and Storm Of Love,

Bavaria Fiction began flexing its international ambitions in 2016. “We decided that some of the productions we wanted needed more scale and set up a new department for international series in 2016, headed up by Moritz Polter,” CCO Oliver Vogel says. “Moritz has a great instinct for bringing together well-suited co-production partners and a natural flair for managing those relationships throughout a production. This has made it possible for us to achieve some of our most ambitious series.” Among those series is Das Boot with Sky Deutschland/Sonar Entertainment; Arctic Circle, the first German-Finnish co-production with Yellow Film and TV; and Germanized, an original co-production with Telfrance (Newen Group), for Deutsche Telekom and Amazon Prime Video France. For Germanized, the culture clash is the comedic backbone but it is also a tool for

Drama Special Report • 38 • April 2018

refining ideas at the incubation stage, Vogel says. “The difference between the partners’ perspectives with Germanized is a huge advantage for the show creatively. We’ve assembled a very talented, multi-national team, in which every function has a German and French equivalent, from the production companies, to the writers, the cast and of course Deutsche Telekom and Amazon Prime Video France.” These points of view all make for authenticity, which underscores the comedy, he says. Vogel and Polter are executive producers for Bavaria Fiction and Sandra Ouaiss serves as executive producer on behalf of Newen. Germanized is devised and written by Franck Magnier and Alexandre Charlot (Les Guignols De L’Info/ Bienvenue Chez Les Ch’tis) alongside co-creator and writer Thomas Rogel, known for the ZDF political satire Heute Show, and Stromberg producer Peter Gude.


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Miptv 2018 drama special report  

Miptv 2018 drama special report; MIPDrama Buyers'Summit; CANNESERIES; In Devlopment; Drama trends; MIPTV; Cannes

Miptv 2018 drama special report  

Miptv 2018 drama special report; MIPDrama Buyers'Summit; CANNESERIES; In Devlopment; Drama trends; MIPTV; Cannes