It’s a long way from the Alamo, but the Lone Star will be shining on the French Riviera, as History channel’s miniseries “Texas Rising” makes its world premiere April 13 at the Mip TV Media Market in Cannes.
Presented by ITV Studios (which co-produced with A+E Studios and Thinkfactory Media) at the Grand Auditorium in Palais 1, the event begins with a Q&A panel featuring cast members Bill Paxton, Ray Liotta and Olivier Martinez, along with director Roland Joffe and executive producer Leslie Greif, followed by a screening of the first installment of the eight-hour epic.
It might seem odd to premiere the story of the founding of the Republic of Texas in an international setting, but not to Dan Gopal, exec VP of distribution and global partners, EMEA, for ITV Studios Global Entertainment.
“Its root is very much this sort of Western drama based on real-life events,” Gopal says, “but having seen quite a few of the episodes, it’s a much broader show than that. It’s got huge global appeal, lots of different storylines and themes.”
Contrary to any antiquated notions of regional-specific television, “Texas Rising” is a model of how lavish smallscreen productions are now being made for viewers worldwide.
“Our focus is to find great stories and great content wherever they are in the world, try to get them financed and produced, and then take them to as broad and global an audience as possible,” Gopal notes.
“Two years ago, a high percentage of the content we were taking to market came from the U.K., and that has shifted. We’re investing in, obviously, ‘Texas Rising’ and ‘Aquarius’ (an upcoming limited series about the hunt for Charles Manson starring David Duchovny), another one of our shows in the U.S. It’s a slightly different model, but it brings something different to our portfolio, and then our buyers tell us what they want and are interested in.
“We’re investing in content still here in the U.K.; we’re investing in content in Europe, in Australia. … Regardless of where the show is, we’re really focused on partnering with great producers and writers and talent, hopefully bringing our distribution experience in terms of financing those projects, getting them made, then being able to sell them around the world.”
For two-time Oscar nominee Joffe, it’s about bringing the past — and his past — back to life.
“(In) my memories of my childhood,” the London-born filmmaker says, “many days were spent sitting in the cinema watching cowboy movies. These things go very deep. Even as a kid, I realized all these movies are really about people finding themselves.
“Cowboy movies are actually about people discovering, essentially, who they really are … in ferocious and powerful landscapes.”