The Council of Europe’s ambitious three-year pilot programme for series coproductions, that aims to do for high-end drama what Eurimages has long been doing for feature coproduction, is preparing to open for first submissions.
Programme manager Alex Traila confirmed to Screen at Sarajevo’s CineLink Industry days that the programme will launch its first call for projects next month with EUR21m to invest over a three-year period from 2023 to 2025.
The series iteration will operate independently and as a sister programme of Eurimages. The series program will operate independently and as a sister programme of Eurimages. Producers will be required to have 60% of their funding in place before they apply. The development award will be given to a project that is a coproduction between two independent producers in Eurimages member countries. Producers from non-Eurimages countries, including the UK, Canada, the US and Japan, and the US streamers, can be co-producers but there will be a cap on the rights they can own.
As of August 2023, 12 countries of the 39 in Eurimages, are envisaged to sign their commitement to the pilot programme: Belgium, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia and Spain among them. The possibility of adding more countries next year is being discussed. The pilot states are contributing extra funds to fund the scheme. The investments are separate from these countries’ Eurimages subscriptions.
In the first year, there will be “an envelope of slightly less than EUR7m… but nevertheless, it will allow us to support between 10 and 12 projects”, said Traila.
There will be only one call for submissions per year. There will only be one call for submissions per year. The organisers are looking for a balance of gender in creative roles. “We don’t have quotas but the points system that will be in place on the evaluation side will take into consideration the balance of gender,” Traila confirmed.
“We are looking for series, be it drama in the larger sense or comedy as well, docu-series, animation and
any target audience,” the programme manager added. “There is no editorial line that we are asking for.”
An independent panel of experts, including commissioning editors, sales agents and producers, from across Europe will be appointed shortly to evaluate the submitted projects.
Traila talked of “empowering independent producers to have the possibility to retain a certain percentage of the rights.”[with]These producers have to apply with a broadcaster or platform from their own country already abroad. “The minimum condition is to have another coproducer which will also be an independent company but this cane be from any of the Eurimages countries and that includes Canada,” Traila said.
Another condition for applying is the producer must have a license agreement in place that is “outside the coproduction countries because we are looking for projects that are meant to travel and be seen,” said Traila.
Traila was speaking after the CineLink Industry Talks panel, “Public Pockets for Private Dramas: The Financing Challenge?” This explored the financing hurdles faced by independent producers of drama.
“We have two days to sell a film at a festival,” say sellers at Sarajevo