31 AUG 2021

Series Mania Forum 2021: Diversity and creativity for European shows

On the second day of the hybrid event, European players discussed about the better options of working together and the best ways to generate projects that appeal to all the continent.


In order to compete with the digital streamers and its varied offer, European players have to join forces and work together in co-productions trying to find the right IP, share the same vision and find the necessary investment to get projects to come to live. The second day of Series Mania Forum gathered European networks, producers and executives to share their views about the right content and the right partner in a European co-production.

In the “European Drama Co-Productions: Myths And Reality” panel, executives from ZDF and ITV expressed their vision along with Michael Polle, Producer, head of TV - X Filme Creative Pool. "We invest in co-prpoduccions because we believe in share visions and stories and become part of that story and vision," said Simone Emmelius, Senior Vice President co-production and acquisition from  ZDF. "We are also very open mind in respect of where the stories come from, the story that should be told has to be interesting, unique and has to attract different audiences."

"The first rule is that there is not any rule, there are many diverse ways to advance in a co-production," explained Julie Meldal-Johnsen, EVP of Global content at ITV. "It's a very difficult market out there, with a lot of competition, and we have to do whatever it takes in terms of being competitive in the current landscape.", she resumed.  For Michael Polle, It's all about great ideas and creatives projects. "We always have a unique and special view in our projects with a strong IP behind",  he stated.

Diversity and creativity are two very relevant words in the audiovisual current panorama and have been discussed at Series Mania Forum. In the panel, “Is European TV Ready For Diversity?”, Muñoz Guerra Teresa Maria, Equality and diversity manager from Radio Televisión Española (RTVE); Turton Amy, Project manager at Diamond project and Tangen Anders, Head of department development and audience insight from Norwegian Film Institute, debated about the inclusive society that they want in the future.

In Spain, the public broadcaster Radio Televisión Española (RTVE) is very committed to air programs that promote the inclusion and diversity. "We have the responsibility to promote and invest in more inclusive and diverse content with the aim of being an agent of changing in our society," expressed Guerra Muñoz. "We know that education is the only tool that we have to reach the inclusion", she concluded. Guerra Muñoz also mentioned the "HIT" series aired by the Spanish public broadcaster, where the educational system is put on debate.

"In France does not exist any data about inclusion and diversity on the audiovisual landscape", asserted producer Laurence Lascary. For that reason, Lascary created her own organization called "Collectif 50/50" where data is recollected and then try to find solutions of discrimination issues. "Structured as an action tank, 50/50 is firmly committed to reflect upon and fight for equality, parity and diversity in the film and audiovisual industry", commented Lascary.

In the UK exists the Diamond project, which purpose is to enable the UK Broadcasting industry to increase diversity and inspire inclusion. Amy Turton, Project manager Diamond, explained that "Diamond goal is to unit the industry by sharing best practice and creating the forums for collaboration to identify and celebrate the actions that improve diversity and inclusion."

In the panel, “The Keys To European Creativity”, Maite Bulgari, Chairwoman at Garbo Produzioni; Francisco Carballal, screenwriter, director of content from Plano A Plano;  Britta Meyermann; Head of international Co-Production at Odeon Fiction; Moritz Polter,  Managing director, executive producer -ITV - Windlight Pictures and Gjermund  Eriksen Stenberg, writer, producer, creator of Monster Scripted, have shared their opinions about the best models to create content in the European market.

In the same way that Moritz Polter and Britta Meyermann introduced their companies, Windlight Pictures and Odeon Fiction respectively, Maite Bulgari confirmed the second season of "La Porta Rossa Trieste" and mentioned the opening of a Garbo office in Spain and Francisco Carballal from Plano a Plano  affirmed that the company is working on several projects at the same time and confirmed its focus on films

The executives also debated about the European co production model versus the American co-producción model, and they all agreed about the differences.  "The writing rooms are different in Europe and America, all the development process is different,  it is more collaborative in America," asserted Polter.

"The original reason of the European co production are the budgets, we need to collaborate and hear the voices of different nationalities,", said  Britta Meyermann. On Bulgari opinion, "The American market is the best, is unreachable, and totally different from the European. We need to develop our own model to create content.", she concluded.

 By Romina Rodríguez

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