At the MIA, the European Alliance launches call for new high-end projects, unveils new drama series
- Speaking as one voice, the group has already produced nine high-end series and will aim to target younger audiences, promoting Europe’s values and creative talents
On 12 October, as part of Rome’s MIA, the Cinema Barberini hosted a one-hour conference where the present and future work of the European Alliance, a group of three public broadcasters (RAI, ZDF and France Télévisions), took centre stage.
Speaking about how the three networks joined forces, Simone Emmelius, of ZDF, said: “The idea was to bring together three public broadcasters on a mission to show our audience programmes that could resonate with them – programmes no one of us would be able to afford alone. Why? Because we’re convinced we have a common heritage and a common understanding, even though we come from different countries and speak different languages.”
In total, the European Alliance has already produced nine high-end TV series covering genres such as adventure, thriller, sci-fi and period dramas. Among these shows are Mirage (which recorded 3 million viewers per episode in France and 4 million in Germany), Germinal (winner of the Audience Award at Series Mania in 2021), Around the World in 80 Days (premiered at Cannes Series, racking up 8.9 million viewers on ZDF Mediaplayer in Germany and 3.5 million in France), Leonardo and Survivors. The Reunion and The Gymnasts are set to premiere on France 2 on 17 October and Paramount+ in Italy on 26 October, respectively.
Manuel Alduy, of France Télévisions, later spoke about the different ways to approach the group with projects. He also announced together with Emmelius and his colleague Francesco Nardella, of RAI, the new autumn call for projects, the deadline for which will be set around mid-January 2023. The European Alliance is looking for “organically international European drama co-productions that inspire desire, provoke emotion and arouse reflection”. These series should boast “a positive tone and [be] generous in their approach, with a contemporary appeal”. Moreover, stories should ideally be set in Europe, mainly in France, Germany or Italy. They should also target “families, adults or young adults, with a focus on some appealing genres, such as adventure, action, family and romance”.
The three speakers also seized the opportunity to launch their new joint effort, the 6x52-minute series The Kollective, currently in development. This international political drama has been created by Leonardo Fasoli and Maddalena Ravagli (Gomorrah – The Series, ZeroZeroZero [+see also:
series profile], Django), with Femke Wolting serving as the executive producer. The show will tackle timely subjects such as “fake news, attacks on EU democracy, bottom-up investigations and freedom of press, wrapped up in a highly charged global thriller and a heart-breaking love story”.
The story of The Kollective revolves around a group of passionate young journalists. After one of their members is killed while investigating a mysterious plane crash in the Congo, the group find themselves drawn into a globe-spanning web of fake news, corruption, espionage and murder. Emotions run high as the group battles to uncover the mystery of a shadowy new cold war, as well as their own complex feelings and desires. Slowly realising that all roads lead back to Putin’s resurgent Russia, they must call upon their innovative technological skills, fierce bravery and youthful self-belief to stop a dark conspiracy that threatens to destroy democracy itself. The Kollective asks what price we are willing to pay to keep the truth alive.
During the final Q&A session, we asked the speakers whether they were open to the idea of expanding their team, even in the long term. While not ruling it out, they also agreed that the “club of three” is “cosy enough”, and enlarging it without due caution may bring significant disruption in terms of streamlining working practices. They remain open, however, to the potential participation of other strong European broadcasters on a project basis.
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