ROME – Expanding Italian production company Wildside is looking to grow its presence in the international TV arena with several new projects, including high-concept skeins being penned by two of the country’s best-selling authors, Niccolò Ammaniti and Paolo Giordano.
Giordano, whose novel “The Solitude of Prime Numbers” won Italy’s top literary nod, the Premio Strega, is at work on a scripted series working-titled “Lo Sciamano” (The Shaman) about a man who emanates what are believed to be magic powers in a European city outside Italy. “Numbers” was adapted into a Wildside-produced film helmed by Saverio Costanzo. It went to Venice in 2010.
Ammaniti is instead at work on “The Miracle,” a mystery/thriller/drama which turns on a magical event that impacts the lives of characters across borders, including in an anglo-saxon country. A top Italian director will helm the skein, now in advanced scripting stages. Ammaniti’s books have been made into six movies, including Gabriele Salvatores’ “I’m Not Scared,” and “Me and You” by Bernardo Bertolucci.
Treatments for both projects have been shopped around to several international broadcasters and elicited positive responses, enthused Wildside prexy Lorenzo Mieli and CEO Mario Gianani. Pilot scripts will be ready for MIPCOM in October.
Mieli noted that “there is an untapped reservoir of talented writers and directors in Italy who haven’t yet done high-end TV.” Wildside intends to capitalise on this pool and also use it in tandem with international creative talents.
Earlier this month Wildside branched out into two separate units, Wildside Series and Wildside Cinema, in order to differentiate and grow its TV output, an area in which they are seeking “long-term partnerships with other international companies,” says Mieli.
Wildside Series’ current flagship international skein in the pipeline is Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Young Pope,” centered around a young and very handsome imaginary American pontiff called Lenny Belardo. “It’s a sort of ‘Sliding Doors’ that portrays a parallel reality about another possible contemporary pope,” said Mieli. Plan is for Sorrentino (“The Great Beauty”) to start shooting next summer for possible airing by Sky Atlantic in early 2016 in Italy. Talks are in advanced stages with prospective U.K., French, and U.S. partners. The positive international response to “Young Pope” “proved that there is potential for us to expand internationally,” said Gianani. For Sky they also produced “1992,” a drama about Italy’s watershed Clean Hands corruption probe. “1992” will air on Sky in Italy this fall and will subsequently be sold internationally.
Wildside is also developing comedy series “Tomorrow Is A Big Day” a mix between “24” and BBC sitcom “The Worst Week of my Life.” It’s about the 24-hour tragicomic lead-up to a wedding, with each episode focussed on a single hour before the knot is to be tied. Edgy comedy show will be made locally, but Mieli and Gianani are looking to export it as an English-language format.