CANNES — Launching new production units in France and the U.K., European film-TV powerhouse Studiocanal is priming its established talent relationships as it pushes ever more fiction format sales. The production-distribution-sales house hits Mipcom with “Pros and Cons,” the latest series from SAM Productions, co-run by “Borgen’s” Adam Price, and “,” from Nicola Shindler’s RED Picture Company, “Happy Valley” producers.
With Urban Myth Films’ producer-scribe Howard Overman set to shown “The War of the Worlds,” produced by Urban Myth, Canal Plus and Fox Networks Group Europe, Studiocanal has now acquired world sales rights outside Spain to “Instinto,” a original series from Telefonica’s Movistar + produced with Ramon Campos and Teresa Fernández-Valdes Bambu Producciones, in which, as SAM and Urban Myth, Studiocanal holds a minority equity stake.
The “Instinto” deal marks Studiocanal’s first move on a title from Bambu Producciones, one of the drivers in Spain’s fiction boom, producers of “Velvet,” “Las chicas del cable,” Netflix’s first original series in Spain,“Velvet Collection,” Movistar +’s first original series, and “Fariña,” one of Spain’s TV events of 2018.
Shooting on location from May, “Instinto” is “somewhat erotic but aimed at broad audiences,” Guyonnet said, commenting Studiocanal would be aiming for both pay TV and free-to-air sales.
“We are great fans of what Bambu Producciones produces. It is really exciting to work with them finally,” she added.
It also signals a first deal between Studiocanal and Telefonica’s Movistar +, the pay TV unit of Europe’s second biggest telecom, as Studiocanal ups the ante on various fronts.
“What we want is really to bring the best to the market, it’s not a question of quantity,” Francoise Guyonnet, Studiocanal executive managing director TV, said at Mipcom and she drilled down on its growth strategies.
That said, she added that Studiocanal is increasing the number of Studiocanal productions.The budgets of some titles is escalating, given their subjects. Apart from “War of the Worlds,” Studiocanal is also handling international sales on “ZeroZeroZero,” starring Andrea Riseborough, Dane DeHaan and Gabriel Byrne. Produced by Italy’s Cattleya for Sky, Canal Plus and Amazon, the eight-part international cocaine trafficking epic, an adaptation of a book by “Gomorrah” scribe Roberto Saviano is shooting in English, Spanish, Italian, French, Wolof and Arabic for eight months in six countries.
Studiocanal is also ramping up the number of territories which provide it with content, Guyonnet observed, citing, of non-English language titles on its sales slate, Sweden’s “Sanctuary,” and “Moscow Noir,” “Raven,” from Poland, ”Interns” and “Esther’s Notebooks” from France, Denmark’s “Pros and Cons,” and now Spain’s “Instinto.”
“We’re looking for local productions which can have an international appeal,” Guyonnet said.
That search means Studiocanal is allying on a title-by-title acquisition basis with some of Europe’s biggest players, such as, in Scandinavia, the Modern Times Group’s Viaplay, whose “The Lawyer” was one of Studiocanal’s banner titles for Mipcom last year. Now Studiocanal has struck its first deal with one of the other big new powers on Europe’s premium original series production, Movistar +, which released 11 originals in its most year of commercial operations.
Studiocanal is also looking in other directions for growth.
“Due to the number of channels and platforms around the world, there is a strong tendency towards local production: Channels have less and less access to good American productions,” said Guyonnet, saying that opened the door to fiction format sales.”
“We really want to develop the format sales business. People want to produce locally and are looking for strong story lines,” Guyonnet added, arguing that re-versioning also speeds up the development process.
In one milestone deal announced in the rum-up to Mipcom. Russian broadcaster TV3 is set to remake supernatural crime thriller “La Porta Rossa,” produced by Italy’s Velafilm for Rai Due and sold in format and original by Studiocanal. 1-2-3 Production, TV3’s new in-house unit, will handle the production. That is the first format sale on the series. More, on “La Porta Rossa” and other Studiocanal titles, are likely to follow.