Future European TV shows take shape in Pilsen
by Martin Kudláč
- The second workshop of the MIDPOINT TV Launch programme readied a raft of promising projects for the international market
Another year has gone by already, and MIDPOINT’s development programme for episodic series, TV Launch, recently returned to the city of Pilsen in the Czech Republic for another round of tutoring, from 10-16 April. The creators behind a selection of the latest European television projects currently in development met during the Finále Plzeň annual showcase of Czech cinema (see the news). This was the second of three workshops, during which the creative teams participated in the process of taking “an idea through the development process while also tackling the business side of things”. This is the core concept behind the TV Launch programme, as producer and consultant Maggie Murphy told Cineuropa last year.
Television production veteran Rumle Hammerich – a director and producer, the former director of Danish television station DR’s Fiction department and the creative director of Nordisk Film Production – discussed working in a triangle and the all-important common platform for the writer, director and producer: the “shared vision”. Furthermore, he emphasised the importance of defining the theme, the core and the philosophy of the show while also introducing the four dimensions of a TV programme. Steve Matthews, executive producer at HBO Europe, offered various insights on pitching, series development and production, and Nebojša Taraba, producer and partner at Croatian production company Drugi Plan, enlightened the participants on the “alchemy” of transforming words into pictures, such as when proceeding from development to production. Apart from the intricacies of development and production, more business-orientated tasks were also addressed during TV Launch. Co-CEO of the Lumière Group Marike Muselaers approached TV shows as if they were start-ups and walked participants through how to navigate the current TV market as well as how to finance and package an international TV series. She also discussed different business models.
Among the 2019 participants was Slovakian director Tereza Nvotová, who, besides working on her sophomore feature, The Nightsiren (see the interview), is developing the series Convictions with scriptwriter Barbora Námerová, who also worked on Filthy [+see also:
interview: Tereza Nvotová
film profile]. The series is described as a “portrait of a young woman’s courage set within a grand historical narrative” during the times of Soviet-controlled Czechoslovakia. “We were selected for MIDPOINT TV Launch with our mini-series Convictions, based on the memoirs of Jo Langer. When we applied, we just had a book and the idea. Now, after the second workshop, we have a pilot and a very clear vision of its style, outlines for all the episodes – and a bible,” Nvotová revealed to Cineuropa.
Producer and director of interactive projects Michaela Pňačeková participated in the 2019 edition of TV Launch with the series Playgirl, which revolves around the female and male identity crisis. In it, two women, one a videogame enthusiast and the other a sexually liberated teacher, meet in Berlin. Pňačeková mentioned that one of her main motivations was the fact that there are still not enough female-orientated projects in the CEE region aimed at a young and emancipated audience. When asked about her reasons for taking part in TV Launch, the producer told Cineuropa that the objective of the programme was to teach the participants how to think in an international context “so that our project would not lose its uniqueness while also being able to stand up in an international competition. That’s why MIDPOINT was our first and only choice,” Pňačeková concluded.
Nvotová added, “MIDPOINT is really helpful in providing tutoring and feedback from experienced professionals from all around the world, ranging from HBO Europe or Universal executives from Hollywood to the best TV directors and writers. It is very inspiring, especially for people like us, who are entering the world of high-end TV for the first time.”
The final session of TV Launch will take place during the Sarajevo International Film Festival in August.
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