Co-production has not only become an important means of production financing, it is also proving to be the driving force behind some striking storytelling from around the world, Marlene Edmunds reports…

Once a sideline in the financing world, co-production has become a major force, nowhere more so than in Europe. The region has produced compelling new stories and original content, alongside innovative ways of coming up with the money and ideas.

Lagardere Entertainment and its subsidiary Atlantique Productions, as well as Canal+ and Jan Mojto’s EOS Entertainment, the BBC, the UK’s Left Bank — a company 25% owned by BBC Worldwide — Sweden’s Yellow Bird (part of Zodiak Media Group), Tandem Communications in Germany, Italian private media outfit Mediaset and state broadcaster Rai are among the leaders.

While finance is clearly a prime mover, a new generation of multilingual, pan-European and inter-continental players are engaging in moves designed to change the face of the co-production industry. Most are familiar with EU funds, tax rebates and a host of local film and TV subsidies, and have an inspired confidence in their ability to tell Europe’sstories.

Atlantique Productions, headed by managing director Klaus Zimmermann, signed American scriptwriter Tom Fontana to write the first two episodes and executive produce Borgia. At $34m, Borgia is the largest TV series ever financed solely out of Europe. Co-production partners include Canal+ and EOS Entertainment,with Germany’s Beta Film picking up worldwide distribution outside France. The Wire’s John Doman stars as Rodrigo Borgia, head of the powerful Spanish/Italian clan.

Atlantique is also busy with Europol, a new European crime series crafted incollaboration with TF1; Transporter, in partnership with Luc Besson’s Europacorp, and Death In Paradise, the first co-production initiated by FranceTelevisions and the BBC.

Full article only in the MIPTV Preview magazine, online here (email required)

“Borgia” will very much be a star series at MIPTV:

– Seven members of its cast and crew will be present in Cannes to speak to the industry and the media

– The show will be a key focus of April 4’s keynote by Rodolphe Belmer, COO of Canal+ Group (17.00)

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As Head of Social Media for Reed MIDEM, James Martin oversees social strategy and deployment for B2B events MIPTV and MIPCOM, Midem (music industry) and MIPIM & MAPIC (real estate & retail). He is based in Reed MIDEM's Paris office.

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