Case study on Cleverman, Berlinale Co-Production Market
A panel from the Co-Production Market at the 66th edition of the Berlinale, focusing on the Australian/New Zealand drama series Cleverman
This panel from the Co-Production Market of the 66th edition of the Berlinale is a case study of drama series Cleverman, which tries to impart 60,000 years of Indigenous Australian story-telling culture into six one-hour-long episodes.
The session, run in co-operation with Series Mania/Forum des Images and moderated by Laurence Herszberg (Forum des Images executive director and Series Mania founder and director), brings together the series’ creator and producer, Ryan Griffen, its producers Rosemary Blight (Goalpost Pictures, Australia) and Angela Littlejohn (Pukeko Pictures, New Zealand), and Amelie von Kienlin (Red Arrow International, Germany)
This panel is focused on the concept of the TV series and the reasons behind its creation, something that came to Griffen while he was playing with his son in the backyard. The series, which will be broadcast by the Australian TV channel ABC, is a high-concept drama that aims to bring the stories of the Dreamtime, which are in severe danger of dying out with Indigenous Australian elders, to a modern audience.
The discussion looks at the decisions that were made by Cleverman’s creators. This includes the questions of why a team of people, more experienced in film than television, chose to move away from what they knew and make a TV series, the differences between the current climate in film and television, the differences between writing for film and TV, cultural sensitivities, and how to market and generate funding for something so quintessentially Australian on an international scale.