LILLE, France — Italy’s Palomar and Spain’s Mediapro have joined forces on the WWII-era drama “CCLXX,” and will launch their project, as part of Series Mania’s Co-Pro Pitching Sessions. The two companies will hold their joint presentation on Wednesday May 2 in front of TV professionals from around the world, looking to secure broadcasters and financiers.
The series is based on real-life events which took place in Sept. 1943, when Hitler’s German troops stormed Rome and claimed the city for the Third Reich. One of the first directives of the Germans at the time was the exportation of the city’s Jewish population. This forced the Roman people into a terrible position: Should they do as they are told and hope that help is on the way, or do they fight back?
The series will tell the stories of the people of Rome who risked their lives, their families and their morality holding out for 270 days tumultuous days that Italian autumn. It will focus on the Jews of Rome, but also the non-Jewish Romans, who give up much of what they have when a German Gestapo commander makes an impossible demand. When the Germans go back on their end of the bargain, a simple Roman doctor must once again act to help save his fellow citizens, and imagine a contagious disease to keep them hidden.
The idea for the series came to Mediapro head of international content development, Ran Telem, when he stumbled on “one of the most amazing, courageous, witty, powerful stories I have ever known,” he told Variety, “The story of a noble Catholic doctor, who is probably the only man in this world who invented a disease in order to save lives.”
Palomar managing director and partner Nicola Serra feels similarly: “What really caught our attention was that in this extraordinary story,” he told Variety, “our hero is not the classic war hero, but a simple doctor, that with his great acts of courage and wit will end up saving so many lives.”
Last year Mediapro took part in the Co-Pro Pitching Sessions as well, along with Swedish production company Dramacorp, a joint venture with Germany’s Beta Film.
“The response was overwhelming,” remembers Telem. “Series Mania enables you to pitch, meet, discuss, and interact in a peaceful and quiet venue with some of the best professionals in the world.”