ROME – The impact of Brexit on setting up high-end TV co-productions between the U.K. and E.U. will be a chief topic of discussion during a special sidebar at Rome’s new-concept MIA market for feature films, TV series, documentaries and video games.
For its upcoming third edition, the gathering – which runs Oct. 19-23, right after Mipcom in Cannes – is reinforcing its TV side and making overtures to the British television industry just as Italy starts to churn out more ambitious English-language productions such as “The Young Pope” and “Medici: Masters of Florence.”
“We will try to gauge the impact of the Brexit, or post-Brexit, era on TV co-productions between Britain with Europe, now that U.K. TV producers won’t be able to tap into funding from the MEDIA/Creative Europe Program,” said Lucia Milazzotto, director of the MIA, an acronym for Mercato Internazionale Audiovisivo (International Audiovisual Market).
Top British execs expected to make the trek to the MIA’s “Focus on U.K. TV” sidebar include Kate Crowe, head of television at Scott Free London; Sally Woodward, CEO of Sid Gentle Films; Polly Williams, Entertainment One’s head of scripted drama; Ben Donald, BBC Worldwide executive producer; and Jeff Ford, London-based chief executive of Fox Network Europe. Others attendees, including some British and American showrunners, are still being finalized.
Besides a discussion on current prospects for TV co-productions between the U.K. and the European Union, the focus will feature a panel on British and Anglo-Saxon TV production models, such as the showrunner model, still rare in European TV productions, where the director has more say, and so-called commissioning clubs in which big international players join forces to produce high-end content.
“We are trying to see if, by working in a more similar fashion in terms of production models and also in the creative sphere, we can overcome any impediments that Brexit may cause,” Milazzotto said. “We want to understand what strategies can be put in place to maintain the [U.K.’s] rapport with Europe and, in particular, with Italy.”
Recent examples of U.K.-E.U. co-productions include Sky Atlantic drama “The Last Panthers” (pictured) from Warp Films and French indie Haut et Court for Canal Plus, which received E.U. funding.
Co-productions are at the core of MIA’s mission. Given that it comes right after Mipcom, rather than finished product the Rome market is focusing on becoming a platform for high-end TV projects, presented in its drama series pitching forum. It will also hold an Italian TV upfronts presentation for the first time. MIA TV is headed by former Disney distribution executive Francesca Tauriello, working in tandem with project manager Gaia Tridente.
Last year’s Rome market, an informal, Eurocentric gathering, was attended by about 350 buyers and 130 international sales agents. The MIA has added two new product spotlights: one on TV and film content targeting young adults, with a special focus on global graphic-novel adaptations, the other on animation. Both are sectors in which the Italian industry is aiming to become more active.