TV Drama Festival Recap

The new opportunities afforded to drama producers and distributors as the streaming wars kick up another notch were a recurring theme at the inaugural TV Drama Festival last week. Held from June 28 to 30, this latest addition to World Screen’s portfolio of successful virtual summits gathered 20-plus speakers from across the scripted segment to discuss commissioning and rollout strategies, approaches to running writers’ rooms and delivering authentic storytelling that will resonate with viewers who have an abundance of choices available to them.

Missed any of the sessions live? You can access the entire festival on-demand here:

We opened the event last Tuesday with U.K.’s Finest, a superpanel featuring Banijay Rights’ Cathy Payne, All3Media International’s Louise Pedersen, Entertainment One’s Stuart Baxter and ITV Studios’ Ruth Berry weighing in on commissioning and financing trends in British drama. Our first keynote of the day was delivered by prolific showrunner Howard Gordon, discussing how he adapted the British drama Accused into a new anthology for FOX in the U.S. and highlighting the continued importance of broadcast television, which he described as the “most durable place for people to gather at the same time and watch a story.” We then heard from Argentinean television and film director, writer and producer Juan José Campanella, who has also worked across broadcast and streaming. Campanella discussed his wide-ranging deal with VIS and his Paramount+ series The Envoys (Los Enviados). TV Drama Festival viewers were then treated to a keynote conversation with Neil Dudgeon, the star of All3Media International’s long-running and well-traveled crime drama Midsomer Murders. Next, Filippa Wallestam, executive VP and chief content officer at Viaplay Group, told TV Drama Festival viewers about her approach to curating the streamer’s slate of originals and acquired fare as it expands its global footprint. And in the final session on Tuesday, Lars Blomgren, head of scripted at Banijay, and Karen Wilson, managing director of Kudos, offered up a look inside the company’s drama development and production process.

The Wednesday schedule opened with the presentation of the TV Drama Pioneer Award to Walter Iuzzolino. The curator and co-founder of Walter Presents discussed how he and his team are positioning the service as a premier home for top-notch foreign-language scripted series. Then, we put financing models in the spotlight with the Co-Production Evolution session, with ZDF Studios’ Robert Franke, Dynamic Television’s Daniel March and LEONINE Studios’ Caroline Kusser discussing the best ways to pool resources to bring compelling projects to the screen. Robert and Michelle King then offered tips on running writers’ rooms and managing an ever-growing slate of shows while also discussing the keys to their long-running partnership. Sandra Stern, the president of Lionsgate Television Group, talked about how the independent studio is partnering with established and new talent to serve the needs of commissioners across broadcast, cable and streaming, always with a focus on innovative funding models. Next, Bob McCourt, the COO of Fremantle International, discussed the opportunities the company is finding amid a renaissance in European drama production. The final session of the day featured showrunner Miranda Kwokdiscussing how she adapted the successful Argentinean series The Cleaning Lady for FOX in the U.S. and placed diverse and inclusive storytelling at the forefront of the show.

We closed the TV Drama Festival with a Screenings Day featuring ZDF Studios’ Sløborn and All3Media International’s Dalgliesh, The Brokenwood Mysteries and Van der Valk.

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