Patrick Phelan: “If the story is great, we want to get behind it”

The Director of World Sales at Leonine Studios describes the demand for high-end drama and how the company is searching and investing in titles that can reach global audiences.


Leonine Studios is expanding in the global drama arena with titles that embrace great production quality and original stories. To describe that positioning, Señal News spoke with Patrick Phelan, Director of World Sales at the company.

How would you define Leonine Studios’ acquisitions and sales strategy? What are the current demands of global clients?
“In general, we are open to a big variety of content and stories, it just has to be the right fit, both for us as a company and for the producer, be it an in-house project or one coming from a third party. Current demand seems to be on the lighter drama side, escapism is still in demand, and female characters are at the forefront. If the story is great, we want to get behind it.”

What new shows have you launched for the summer season that started with NATPE Budapest?
“We launched three fresh and intriguing new series at NATPE Budapest. First, there is the 6-part one-hour series ‘Herzogpark,’ which comes from the production company of Bad Banks and just premiered on RTL’s streaming service RTL+. The dramedy takes a look through the keyhole into the seemingly picture-perfect lives of five very different women living in a super posh neighborhood. At the same time, new to our line-up is the Australian thriller series ‘Troppo.’ The show premiered on ABC Australia and is a Freevee US Original. Finally, ‘Bonn’ is a six-part political thriller that focuses on a young woman who struggles to find her own place in a male-dominated society in the 1950s and the political tug-of-war between Germany’s two rivaling intelligence services. The series was created by multi-award-winning filmmaker Claudia Garde and stars an acclaimed cast including Mercedes Müller and Max Riemelt. ‘Bonn’ will premiere on the German network ARD in 2023.”

What is the global potential of AGC Television's “Troppo”?
“It has all the ingredients to resonate with audiences worldwide. It’s based on a known brand, comes from an award-winning team, features internationally known actors, and takes us to exotic locations: The series is based on the highly popular Crimson Lake novels that are printed in 15 languages and were written by New York Times best-selling author Candice Fox. The production quality and the locations are unique. It takes viewers on a trip into the wilds of tropical Far North Queensland into a dense character-driven 8-part thriller series created and written by award-winning filmmaker Yolanda Ramke, who co-directed with acclaimed directors Jocelyn Moorehouse, Catherine Millar, Ben Howling, and Grant Brown. The cast is internationally well-known and includes, among others, Thomas Jane, Nicole Chamoun, Radha Mitchell, and David Lyons”.

How do you analyze the global demand for high-end international drama?
“The appetite for high-profile international productions is big. This applies to English-language productions as well as local productions, which often offer an exotic and exciting new look and unique storytelling. The package is still key though and a great story combined with great names behind and in front of the camera is the key to success.”

Leonine Studios had just picked up worldwide distribution rights for “The Seed.” What are the expectations around this show?
“’The Seed’ touches on a topic that is as relevant as it is fascinating and has the potential to resonate with audiences around the world. ‘The Global Seed Vault,’ the backup hard drive of global nutrition, is the backdrop for this 6-part English-language thriller series coming from the makers of ‘Spy City’. It’s a high-profile international co-production between NRK in Norway, Odeon Fiction and ARD in Germany, and MIA Film in the Czech Republic. It started shooting at the end of May at original locations in Spitsbergen (Norway) and features a renowned international cast including Heino Ferch, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Rainer Bock, Jonathan Berlin, Seumas Sargent, Erik Madsen, and Friederike Becht.”

By Diego Alfagemez

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