Production is set to start next week on pan-European TV series “Survivors,” the latest project commissioned by the partnership known as The Alliance between leading European public broadcasters to counter the growing power of Netflix and other streamers.
The plan is for cameras to start rolling in Genoa on Oct. 21 on the series revolving around a sailboat that gets destroyed in a fierce storm and disappears. After a year the wreck is recovered with seven survivors aboard, some of whom seem to be hiding a terrible secret. Each episode follows the complex events related to their return.
The start of principal photography on “Survivors” was announced on Friday during Rome’s MIA market.
Italy’s RAI Fiction, France Télévisions, and Germany’s ZDF are on board the show, which is produced by Fabienne Servan-Schreiber and Thomas Saignes at Paris-based Cinetevé and by Marco Poccioni and Marco Valsania at Italian shingle Rodeo Drive.
Italian TV director Carmine Elia (“The Sea Beyond,” “The Red Door”) is helming the 12-episode series for which a 23-week shoot is planned in Genoa and Rome. The ensemble cast comprises actors from France such as Stéfi Celma, best known for Netflix series “Call My Agent!”; Italy’s Barbora Bobulova (“Black Souls”); and Germany’s Sophie Pfennigstorf (“Tatort”).
“Survivors” was germinated by a team of young Italian writers trained by RAI’s screenwriting school in Perugia.
RAI Fiction deputy director Francesco Nardella said the concept and plot were conducive to the collaboration between pubcasters. “It’s a universal story,” he noted. “A homecoming, with the language and plot devices of a mystery drama. It looks deep into the human soul and its relationships to show what we are capable of doing to stay alive,” Nardella added.
Nathalie Biancolli, senior VP international fiction at France Télévisions, said she was particularly pleased that the “Survivors” series “brings together critical aspects” of the pubcasters’ missions, within The Alliance, those being “the promotion of young writers and also highlighting our talents in the international market.”
Simone Emmelius, senior VP international fiction, coproduction and acquisition at ZDF, said “Survivors” provides “proof of the added value generated by talented Italian writers, gifted actors from France, Italy, and Germany, and the deeply committed production companies Rodeo Drive and Cinétévé.” She also underlined that the series “targets a modern, cosmopolitan audience that we primarily reach with our digital platforms ZDFneo and Mediathek.”