As Mipcom kicks off, Variety looks back at just a few very recent stories you – and Variety – may have missed in the buildup to the world’s biggest TV market. The BBC picks up a trio of Nordic series, Netflix backs its first Original in Iceland, exciting startup Toon2Tango announces its first IP, African animation makes a impact at MipJunior; and Eccho Rights sells “Invisible Heroes” in Spain.
BBC3 Acquires its First Non-English-Language Series in NRK’s “Nudes”
Wild Bunch has closed a raft of sales deals for NRK’s Norwegian YA series “Nudes” including the BBC’s youth network BBC Three in the U.K. – the first non-English-language series for the network, AMC in Spain and Portugal, SBS in Australia and Yandex in Russia. The series turns on three stories of teens in the midst of personal crisis stemming from leaked nude photos. Each must find their own way of handling the situation to regain control of their lives. Nina Barbosa Blad, Jørgen Færøy Flasnes, Liv Barbosa Blad and Erika Calmeyer created and wrote the series which Blad and Calmeyer directed. Barbosa Film produced the series, commissioned for NRK P3. The deal between the BBC was brokered by the BBC’s head of program acquisitions Sue Deeks and BBC Three controller Fiona Campbell. “Nudes” joins other high-profile Nordic series in Banijay’s “Wisting” and Tobias Lindholm’s “The Interrogation” as pickups by the BBC to start this year’s Mipcom market.
Netflix Nabs First Icelandic Original in Baltasar Kormákur’s “Katla”
First announced by Variety in 2017, Baltasar Kormákur and Sigurjón Kjartansson’s eight-part sci-fi thriller “Katla” has been picked up by Netflix as the company’s first Original out of Iceland. Set in the remote Icelandic village of Vik, the series unspools one year after the eruption of a sub-glacial volcano. Locals being to evacuate, but as the ice begins to melt prehistoric elements beyond imagination emerge having been frozen for millennia deep within the glaciers. The series was developed for RVK Studios and is written by Kjartansson, Lilja Sigurðardóttir and Davíð Már Stefánsson. According to nordicfilmandtvnews.com, Kormákur expects to begin production at RVK’s studios outside Reykjavik in spring 2020, with casting already under way.
Toon2Tango Announces First Multi-Platform IP, “Rebel Nature”
Hans Ulrich Stoef and Jo Daris’ Toon2Tango animation startup has revealed details on its first multi-platform IP “Rebel Nature.” Created by Christian Faber, one of the main creators of Lego’s transmedia and toy set Bionicle, the new IP is targeted at audiences from tweens-young adults and likely beyond. The narrative of the trans-media project is set 25 years in the future and follows a young girl raised by a robot on an AI-controlled oil rig. It picks up as the girl decides she must leave the rig to look for her parents and follows as she gets caught in the middle of the battle between technology and nature taking place across Earth. The story will unspool across linear, VoD and OTT platforms, as well as a variety of print media. Rebel Nature Pictures will co-produce with Toon2Tango, which will handle global distribution.
Trio of African Producers Announce Projects at MipJunior
African animation production companies Arobase Studio, Basement Animation and Triggerfish each made major announcements on MipJunior’s opening day. Ivory Coast-based Arobase announced Season 2 of “Kassa The Messenger” for France’s TV5 Monde as well as two other series currently in development, “The Queen” and “Tamia the Explorer.” Nigeria’s Basement Animation pitched two 26×11’ projects: “Adefellas” and “Tech Timi Out,” both in search of co-production partners and distribution. And South Africa’s Triggerfish, the first African company to produce a Netflix Original animated series with “Mama K’s Team Four,” promoted a hefty slate of eight projects, four series and four features, as well as video game projects and a new Director’s Lab to train up local talent. The increased presence of African animation within the global marketplace mirrors what was seen at this year’s Annecy, where the continent was announced as the 2020 territory of focus and Netflix announced a new initiative in which the company will grant four-year scholarships to as many as ten students a year from across the African continent to attend Paris’ prestigious Gobelins School of Images.
Eccho Rights Brings “Invisible Heroes” to Spain
A hit at MipTV and Pamplona’s Conecta Fiction – where it opened the increasingly important Spanish TV market – the Venice TV Awards and the Göteborg Film Festival among other high profile events, Finnish-Chilean co-production “Invisible Heroes” is headed to Spanish OTT Filmin as Eccho Rights has announced a new deal with the popular and mow profit-making OTT platform. Inspired by historical events, the series follows Finnish diplomat Tapani Brotherus who helped more than 2,000 Chilean citizens secure asylum when their lives were threatened by Augusto Pinochet’s 1973 military coup. Finland’s YLE and Chile’s Chilevisión backed the series which received a strong critical reception and ratings when it launched on YLE. It will broadcast on Chilevisión this fall.
De Mensen Brings Back Scripted Dept Founder Marijke Wouters
Leading Belgian production house De Mensen has announce that the company’s scripted department founder Marijke Wouters will return to oversee international sales and co-productions. In 2017 she left to establish Pine Agency, which represents many high-profile Belgian actors, filmmakers and athletes. In her time at De Mensen Wouters executive produced “Brothers United” and “Hotel Beau Séjour,” a key title in the emergence of Belgian Noir, The company also announced that Nico Moolenaar, creator of “Missing Persons Unit” and Netflix acquired Canneseries contender “Undercover,” has extended his contract with the company and will develop further seasons of “Undercover” in addition to other new projects.
Sony to Produce Docuseries of Colombian Cyclist Rigo
Sony Pictures Television (SPT) announced the acquisition of the rights to popular Colombian cyclist Rigoberto Urán, to be developed into an original bioseries. SPT SVP and general director of international production for Latin America and U.S. Hispanic Ana Bond will executive produce the series to be written by “El cartel de los sapos” and “El señor de los cielos” writer Andrés López. Known colloquially as Rigo, the cyclist is respected around the world for his comebacks from serious falls – just this summer he broke his collarbone at the Tour de España – and winning the silver medal at London’s 2012 Olympics, two second place finishes at the Giro d’Italia and second place at 2017’s Tour de France. Born to a humble family in rural Colombia, Urán’s father introduced him to cycling before being killed by paramilitaries when Urán was only a teenager.