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Industria / Mercato - Germania

Rapporto industria: Serie

Storytellers di RTL sostiene le nuove voci che si sforzano di raggiungere il pubblico giovane

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Al Seriencamp di Colonia, le emittenti private hanno discusso di un nuovo formato di creazione di contenuti per aiutare a trovare talenti emergenti per spettacoli innovativi

Storytellers di RTL sostiene le nuove voci che si sforzano di raggiungere il pubblico giovane
Aylin Kockler (a sinistra) e Hauke Bartel (al centro) durante l'evento

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Besides the presentation of upcoming international series, a rich conference and panel programme was at the core of Seriencamp (5-8 June) in Cologne. First established in Munich, Bavaria, for the last two years, the festival has been held in Cologne and this year celebrated its tenth anniversary. A record number of 800 accredited professionals from the international series industry, such as producers, representatives of streamers and broadcasters, and filmmakers, attended this year’s iteration.

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Encouraging a dialogue between more experienced and younger professionals was one of the main goals of the event. Several panels therefore explicitly aimed to empower up-and-coming talents. In 2021, German private broadcaster RTL became active in this field with the launch of its Storytellers programme. During a panel called “Fostering Talent, and Promoting Creativity and a Launch Pad for Young Professionals”, the audience was able to hear more about it. Present at the presentation were, on the one hand, Hauke Bartel, head of Fiction at RTL Deutschland, and on the other hand, Aylin Kockler, a writer and comedian who has successfully participated in the programme.

RTL initiated Storytellers four years ago; in the meantime, two more broadcasting channels have got on board – namely, RTL+ and Vox. Bartel functions as the coordinator of the project. He explained that the idea behind including different broadcasters was to merge all of the existing individual programmes into one. This enables them to work with a larger budget, which is necessary for the production of the selected projects. The budget so far has been €750,000. Starting this year, it has risen to €1.5 million thanks to the support of the regional public funding body Filmstiftung NRW. “We are now the best-funded young-talent programme in Germany,” said Bartel.

Storytellers cooperates with seven German film schools, whereby film-school students pitch their ideas for young-adult series. For 2024, the first pitches have already been submitted, with 75 applications in total. In the next few months, the team will select the most interesting ones. During the so-called “Boxstop”, some of the students will have the chance to chat with broadcasting commissioners about technical and production-related issues inherent in making a series. Later, approximately ten youngsters will be invited to join a “class trip”, a kind of retreat that will serve as a think tank and an opportunity for mutual exchange. During this two-day workshop, the finalists will develop a production concept for which they get paid €5,000 each, and on which the broadcasters have a “first look” deal. This means that the broadcasters are given a certain period of time during which they can decide whether or not they want to realise the project.

Each of the five teams will also present this concept, including a short synopsis, to the other participants as well as to additional guests. The community, together, will then function as a jury and decide on its favourite project. The latter will then go into production. Bartel stated that because a great deal of care is taken to ensure that the projects are developed by young people, it is important that young people themselves decide on their favourite projects. “Therefore, none of the people involved are over 40 years old,” he pointed out.

One of these people is Aylin Kockler. The multi-talented young woman studied in New York, where she performed as a stand-up comedian, before coming back to Germany to pursue her studies at the HFF in Munich. She applied to Storytellers with a series project and won. At the two-day workshop, she got to know her future producer, and 15 months later, the series premiered at Film Festival Cologne. Hübsches Gesicht (lit. “Pretty Face”) has been aired on German-speaking TV, initially on the programme’s partner channels. It has been a big success: it was nominated for the Grimme Award and the German Television Award, and its creator, Kockler, has gained considerable influence through social media – but not only this. US magazine Forbes named her one of the “30 under 30” talents in the “Entertainment” category in 2022. Kockler is now working on new projects. As for her time at Storytellers, she said, “It was a great experience for me. The work took place at eye level. I was able to talk about topics that were important to me as I saw fit. It's great that this personal series has touched so many people.”

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