It’s all about talent! The fifth edition of the Drama Series Days has begun
- Opening discussion: „Facing New Challenges and Opportunities: Streaming Services and TV“
- German Showcase: NRW-backed series „Bauhaus – A New Era“, „The Best Things in Life“, „Other Parents“
- From 11 – 13 February as part of the European Film Market in the Zoo Palast
- Film- und Medienstiftung NRW as Official Main Partner
The market access of the streaming platforms and the current boom in series have opened up enormous possibilities for producers and creatives whilst at the same time triggering a tough international competition for talents, producers and service-providers. Opportunities and challenges in the new competitive situation were the central themes of the opening discussion at the Drama Series Days which were opened on Monday morning by the EFM director Matthijs Wouter Knol, Berlinale Series section head Solmaz Azizi, and Petra Müller, CEO of the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW. The fifth edition again sees the Filmstiftung serving as the official Main Partner of the Drama Series Days – the showcase and marketing platform for international high-end series – at the European Film Market during the Berlinale. Experts from around the world will be discussing the current trends in international series production until Wednesday.
The moderator Ali May spoke with the director Edward Berger („Patrick Melrose“, „Jack“) in the Keynote Interview. For Berger, the work for cinema and series are on the same level: “there aren’t any major differences except for the dramaturgy. We can pour the material into the shape it needs.“ For this to function one needs to gather the very best for a production. But this is where there is still some catching up to be done. We have to pool the talents and train them up where’s still a need.“ Berger had already been in the programme when the Drama Series Days when it started in 2015 when he presented the series „Deutschland ’83“. His new film „All My Loving“, which was made with backing from the Filmstiftung and features Hans Löw and Lars Eidinger in the lead roles (Pandora Filmproduktion), is screening in the Panorama at this year’s Berlinale.
„The Drama Series Days have developed in a short time into an important showcase and marketing platform. The triad of conference, showcase and screenings under one roof works well,“ says Petra Müller, CEO of the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW. „The discussions on the opening day focused on strategic and creative issues affecting current series production in the competition between television, pay TV and platforms. There was also a very good response to the presentation of the three Filmstiftung-backed series productions in the German Showcase. All in all, a very successful start to the fifth edition of the Drama Series Days!“
„The Drama Series Days have become an integral part of the European Film Market in their fifth year of existence,“ Matthijs Wouter Knol said at the opening. The successful integration of Berlinale Series at the shared venue in the Zoo Palast is especially gratifying.
The opening panel „Facing New Challenges and Opportunities: Streaming Services and TV“, which was held in cooperation with the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, featured David Kessler (General Director, Orange Studio), Sabine de Mardt (President, Gaumont), Nathalie Biancolli (SVP Acquisitions & Co-production, France TV) and Brian Pearson (Director, EMEA Co-Productions and Acquisitions, Netflix). Pearson also stated at the outset that the current demand for talent is enormous and a good training is required. This helps the audience as well as the producers because „the results are then constantly improving.“ Sabine de Mardt also raised the question of talents: „the new platforms mean that new specialists are also required.“ Many professions like that of the showrunner hardly exist in Germany. David Kessler shared this view: „Talents are the decisive factor“. Producers and broadcasters should also invest in training. Kessler: „The 'golden age of television' has only just begun.“ And Nathalie Biancolli stressed: „we also believe that talents are the biggest issue.“
Showcase with three NRW-backed series
Exclusive excerpts from three German series projects backed by the Filmstiftung were then presented in the showcase of „Upcoming Series from Germany“:
- „Bauhaus – A New Era“ (zero one film in co-production with Constantin Television, Nadcon Film for ZDF/Arte)
- „The Best Things in Life“ (Bantry Bay Productions for Vox)
- „Other Parents“ (eitelsonnenschein Filmproduktion for TNT Comedy)
Acting Talents, CoPro Series Pitchings
A campaign for the presentation of German acting talent was held for the first time during the Drama Series Days on Monday afternoon under the banner of „Face to Face with German Films – Breaking Boundaries: German Acting Talent on German TV’s ‘Golden Age’“. The CoPro Series Pitchings of the Berlinale Co-Production Market are being held on Tuesday.
Panel with the content team of Netflix
The first public appearance by the international content team of Netflix, with responsibility for the development of new European series for the international market, is eagerly awaited. Kelly Luegenbiehl (VP Creative International Originals Europe, Middle East and Africa), Rachel Eggebeen (Director Content International Originals, DACH), Kai Finke (Director Acquisitions & Co-productions, DACH), Damien Couvreur (Director International Originals, France), Diego Avalos (Director International Originals, Spain) and Kate Townsend (Director Original Documentary & Stand up Content) will be talking about „From Idea to Screen: Developing European content for and with Netflix“.
Launched in 2015, the platform for high-end series is a joint initiative of EFM, the Berlinale Co-Production Market and Berlinale Talents. The Film- und Medienstiftung NRW is a co-initiator and the Official Main Partner.
The Drama Series Days are being held this year at the Zoo Palast from 11 to 13 February. All the conferences and programmes on series are being brought together here under one roof for the second time. This is also where the programme of Berlinale Series is screening with its gala premieres of the latest high-end series from around the globe.