Mira Fornay eyes the episodic format
by Martin Kudláč
- The Carpathian Beast might be the Slovakian filmmaker’s shot at quality TV
Slovakian filmmaker Mira Fornay, who won a Rotterdam Hivos Tiger Award in 2013 for her sophomore feature, My Dog Killer, telling the story of an 18-year-old skinhead, is thinking about taking a shot at the increasingly popular episodic narrative. The filmmaker is currently in development for the eagerly awaited feature COOK, FUCK, KILL (read the news), which tackles the topic of home abuse and is being co-produced by French outfit Slot Machine. Under the title of The Carpathian Beast, Fornay plans to develop a seven-part crime/mystery miniseries. “Haves versus have-nots, city versus village, public versus secret, rational versus religious, science versus magic. The beast emerges as a sign and strong impetus for these classifying notions that undeniably form a construction of ‘modern’ conscience and a definition of ‘traditionalistic’ past,” the filmmaker said, outlining her vision of the miniseries, which will reflect the current socio-economic and political context.
The miniseries is set to be structured around seven virtues, one per episode, following the serial formula of solving a crime every episode while simultaneously developing the main narrative arc about the eponymous killer beast. The realistic social mystery-thriller will be set in a region of Slovakia close to the Czech and Polish borders. “Our miniseries is a story of human imagination and superstition starting to transcend rational thought, which appears to be non-functional,” the filmmaker explained. Despite the grim set-up, Fornay adds that The Carpathian Beast “is meant to be about humanism, the ability to help each other and to share, listening to each other and communicating – not only within a family, but also as part of wider society, and between man and nature.”
By December 2016, a first version of the series set-up should be ready, while producers plan to start negotiations with potential sales agents in October 2016. The rough timeline sees the production stage unspooling over 2017 and 2018, comprising a total of 112 shooting days, with a possible premiere expected in 2019.
Recently, the series about a women’s asylum Secret Lives, screened by the Slovakian public broadcaster, received wider critical acclaim and was renewed for a second season. According to the producer’s statement, The Carpathian Beast will be developed in order to be able to compete with current European production of so-called quality TV and be appealing to international audiences, despite its domestic setting. A project harbouring similar ambitions, the miniseries Wasteland (read the news), was recently backed by HBO Europe in the Czech Republic.