MIA Market 2022 Day 2: Production strategies for linear and digital

Expert producers from, Studiocanal, Legendary and Wild Sheep Content as well the two-time Emmy Award winner Femke Wolting brought its experiences and discussed the main production challenges in the dynamic current landscape.

13 OCT 2022

Francoise Guyonnet, Anne Thomopolous, Matt Brodlie and Erik Barmack

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In the middle of a disruptive time for the audiovisual sector, with linear players, subscription platforms and streamers, production companies have to elaborate different strategies in order to satisfy the consuming demands of users from all ages. As example, the two-time Emmy Award winner Femke Wolting, CEO and Owner of Submarine Entertainment revealed the way of an original IP can be created for the virtual world at MIA Market. She talked about the potential of the metaverse as a space that allows the creation of contents that are capable of targeting very young viewers, and as a new form of business and exploitation of IP.

She mentioned the virtual world "Second Life". "When this project came up to life, more people started to spend more time in the digital world, so we decided to make a documentary film about it that was bought by HBO", said Femke. "It was our first project for an American streamer, and it was very exciting and one of our first animated projects also," she added. She also talked about the animated feature "Apollo 10 1/2" for Netflix that was shot in February, previously the Netherlands' lockdown. "We delivered the film a year and half later we had started the process," she said.

Femke also made reference to animation series "Undone" for Amazon Prime Video, that explores the elastic nature of reality through its central character, Alma, a 28 year-old assistant at a kindergarten school living in San Antonio, Texas. After getting into a near fatal car accident, she discovers she has a new relationship with time and uses her ability to uncover the truth about the death of her father during her much younger years. "I's a super exiting time for animation, for a long time animation was for kids and was related with Disney movies but now more and more animated series are targeting young people and adults, and the boundaries between animation and live action are disappearing and now there is a combination of both," she stated.

Part of the official program was also the panel "The Global Production Landscape. Time to Stop Saying Foreign-Language" where an ensemble of top global producers uncovered current trends and explore what’s being produced globally for local markets walking us through their new slates from Australia to South America, Asia, Africa and Europe. They discussed why it’s time to stop calling the shows foreign-language when they’re simply non-English and shared plans for the future of Drama Production.

“Nowadays audiences are reading subtitles and switching languages and understand them perfectly”, commented, Anne Thomopolous, Partner at Legendary Global, coproducer of Portuguese series “Vanda”. "You have to tell stories in specific territories with local talent and don’t force the international travel of the project”, she added.The same concept was share by Francoise Guyonnet – Managing Director TV Series at Studiocanal. The company will be promoting 22 series from different countries and several languages at Mipcom. "We are very international work team, we read the same scripted and we decide if we are going forward with a project and that is more efficient that an algorithm", she described. "Scripted series are a big part of our business and we want European stories that can travel worldwide, but we don't force the international travel of the stories".

“We have to be passionate about the project, and trust in your partners in different countries”, added Matt Brodlie, Founder of Upgrade Productions in the panel while Erik Barmack, CEO and Founder of Wild Sheep Content, said the company has 14 projects in the US and 11 outside the US that are driving by big IP's, like books.

In terms of future trends, the executives mentioned a shrink of American TV shows, and more program coming from around the word, a great diversity in projects as well, a bunch of niches audiences that represent more opportunities for production companies.

The leading Italian company Gruppo Alcuni had participated at Animation Pitching Forum with two animated titles. One is the new production "The Black Diamond Race" by Sergio Manfio (Italy) and produced by Francesco Manfio (Gruppo Alcuni) in coproduction with Indian Toonz Media. The pre-teen miniseries (9×45′) currently reflects a joint collaboration between leading European and Asian partners.

In the series, a good and highly respected Maharaja, who has a soft spot for gambling, owns the famous Black Diamond. A mysterious Collector desperately wants the diamond at any cost, so he comes up with a plan to walk away with it. He then challenges the Maharaja to a car race across India, four cars per team: the starting point for an amazing adventure.

Gruppo Alcuni has also presented the 5th season of their successful "Mini Pet Pals" pre-school brand. Set in a stunning mountain cave-school, the brand-new "Mini Pet Pals & Mini Dinos" will engage and educate little ones on topics such as individual lifestyles, daily routines and how diversities are enriching rather than limiting.

                                                                                                                                                           By Romina Rodríguez from Rome