‘Fear’ gives courage to Endemol SA

'Scandal,' other projects looking tor partners

JOHANNESBURG — Endemol South Africa, producer of “Big Brother South Africa,” “The Fear Factor” and local daily soap “Isidingo,” is exploring international co-production opportunities, with two dramas already at an advanced stage of development.

Managing director Chantal Sturkenboom believes the best way to grow the production market is by stimulating local exports.

It was Endemol South Africa’s work on “The Fear Factor” that was the catalyst for the new direction, she says. Last year, Endemol coordinated back-to-back “Fear Factor” productions in Cape Town for European countries including the U.K., France, Belgium, Holland and Scandinavia.

“We worked with top teams from many countries and saw that our creative talent was on a par with international standards, and that we could work in this arena with confidence,” Sturkenboom says. Endemol South Africa writers started developing dramas in workshops with producers from Canada and Australia during 2002.

The drama “Scandals” came out of the workshops, and was submitted to the pubcaster South African Broadcasting Corp. at the beginning of the year. Another series is in the final stages of negotiation, and a third project is in the early stages of development.

“I can’t give too much detail, but we already have the involvement of a Canadian broadcaster and strong U.S. and European interest,” Sturkenboom says. “Our aim is to develop product … that will be targeted at the international market, but must also be co-created in South Africa and partly shot here using mostly local crews.”

This ensures ownership rights and intellectual capital are equitably shared. Endemol wants co-productions, not service partnerships, she says.

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