The €6 million ($6.7 million), six-part series is majority-financed by Franco-German cultural channel Arte, and will bow this fall/winter in the channel’s popular Thursday evening primetime slot.
Set at the end of the 21st century, the series depicts 20% of the population working inside a walled city, Aquaville, while the impoverished 80% live in the Zone.
Lensing took place primarily in the Paris area — including the Bibliotheque de France and the French Communist Party headquarters — but has a universal setting.
“When I read the scripts around a year ago I was very excited by the writing,” explained LER CEO Emmanuelle Bouilhaguet. “The high-end concept — the employed vs. unemployed — gives the series a strong international appeal and the story, characters and background are gripping.”
Bouilhaguet said that 45-year old Belgian director Vincent Lannoo (“In the Name of the Son”) also brings a cinematic look and feel to the series, complemented by lead actors, including Pierre Deladonchamps, who won best actor at the French Cesar awards for 2013 Cannes player “The Stranger by the Lake.”
The series is co-funded by the CNC, Ile de France region and Benelux VOD platform Proximus.
Produced by Katia Raïs, at Lagardère label Kalija, the series forms part of the group’s wider strategy to build its international business.
“We’re the biggest French producer, but at the European level we’re far from being the biggest,” explains Bouilhaguet. “We’re competing with other European producers and also with the big U.S. independent producers based in Paris.”
Bouilhaguet joined LER four years ago from Zodiak Rights, with a specific mandate to build international sales via shows such as Franco-Canadian series “Transporter.”
At Le Rendezvous, LER’s lineup includes French procedural “Cain” (34 episodes that run 52 minutes) about a wheelchair-bound cop, now in its fourth season; short comedy format, “Dear Neighbors,” just sold to Italy’s RAI2; and animation series “Sonic Boom.”
As part of its international expansion strategy, LER is also building its international portfolio, including several Spanish series, such as Antena 3’s comedy series, “Physics or Chemistry” and Ireland’s 2015 Oscar entry — lifeboat thriller “An Bronntanas” (The Gift) (five episodes that run 35 minutes), acquired in April from ROSG and De Facto Films.
“We have a very aggressive drama acquisitions strategy,” concludes Bouilhaguet. “We’re not solely focused on French production. At Mipcom, we’ll announce some new exciting series in the same vein as ‘Trepalium.’ ”