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NEM ZAGREB 2023 Awards

Spy/Master wins the inaugural NEM Awards

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- The Romanian espionage show created by Adina Sădeanu and Kirsten Peters has emerged victorious as the premier TV drama series in the Central and Eastern European region

Spy/Master wins the inaugural NEM Awards
Representatives of the three winning series (Spy/Master, The King and Moth Hunting) on stage (© Warner Bros Discovery)

The second day of NEM Zagreb, the leading event dedicated to television series and film production, captivated audiences with the announcement of the winner of the prize for the best TV series in the CEE region.

Claiming the title of Best Drama TV Series in the CEE was the Romanian espionage show Spy/Master [+see also:
trailer
interview: Adina Sădeanu, Kirsten Peters
series profile
]
, a Warner Bros Discovery production. Created by Adina Sădeanu and Kirsten Peters, the series was directed by Christopher Smith. The narrative unfolds around Victor Godeanu, a prominent officer within Romania's secret service and a trusted advisor to President Nicolae Ceaușescu. Godeanu's intriguing journey involves offering himself as a defector to the Americans, leading to a gripping tale that intertwines espionage and political intrigue.

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A day prior to the announcement, two other outstanding series emerged from the region's selection of 29 top drama shows. These notable mentions included the Hungarian biopic The King, produced by RTL Hungary, and the Polish period drama Moth Hunting, by TVP. Each of these productions possesses its own unique narrative flair, showcasing the rich diversity and talent that are thriving within the Central and Eastern European television landscape.

Marc Lorber, executive producer at The Art of Coproduction and one of the jury members, mentioned about the competition: “It's wonderful to see how far the region has come in these last 14 years. It is high time the region had this award – not just to highlight the creativity across the CEE region, but also to give it an extra push in the right direction. Let’s encourage more such original ideas, more well-executed projects and further co-production within this region.”

Sanja Božić-Ljubičić, CEO of Pickbox, Mediatranslations, Mediavision and NEM, underlined: “This year’s judging has been of the highest quality, with top professionals from Italy, France, Germany, the UK and other countries outside the CEE region as jurors. We wanted to make sure the judging would be fair to all participants, about 250 in all, in different categories of the NEM Contest.”

The culmination of said contest, sponsored by HAVC, was a showcase of the top projects vying for the Best Script Idea Award within each contest category. Across four distinct strands – Scripted Series, Scripted Feature-length Film, Documentary Series/Feature-length Documentary Film, and Non-scripted Entertainment Format – three finalists each presented their projects before a panel of jurors and a sizeable audience.

As part of the prize for the top three finalists in every category of the NEM Contest, they participated in individual script-surgery workshops taking place over two days, providing an exhaustive analysis of the most outstanding entries in the contest. Additionally, two master class events were held. One was led by Steve Matthews, scripted content executive at Banijay, delving into the intricacies of developing a television series – from pitching the project to navigating key stages of its production. The other session, conducted by Frank Spotnitz, CEO and executive producer at Big Light Productions, imparted invaluable knowledge and practical guidance to enhance participants’ scriptwriting skills.

Furthermore, within the Meeting Room, the authors of the top ten projects from each category of the NEM Contest were invited to engage with members of the contest jury. This opportunity not only facilitated the sharing of experiences and expert advice, but also offered prospects for collaboration on projects that piqued the jury’s interest for further development.

The winners in each category are as follows:

Scripted Series
Rene Gallo - Mild Miracles (Croatia)

Scripted Feature-length film
Mile Božićević - Mothers of Humanity (Croatia)
Daria Stilin - Tied Up (Croatia)

Documentary Series/Feature-length Documentary Film
Julia Groszek - Sugarland (Poland)

Non-scripted Entertainment Format
Martichka Bozhilova, Iskra Angelova - Eat a Book (Bulgaria)

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