MIPTV: The Week in Drama
By Mansha Daswani
At the Gare Maritime in Cannes last week, producers and distributors were busy networking, pitching and making deals for new drama projects as part of the In Development initiative. Organized as a co-production of sorts between MIPTV and the inaugural CANNESERIES festival, In Development attracted some 600 delegates and spotlighted 12 new projects. The two projects selected to receive funding support from In Development partners Federation Entertainment and La Fabrique des Formats were The Sources of Evil produced by Wueste Film (Germany) and Whatever, Linda from The Donaldson Company (Canada).
Alongside the presentations of new concepts, attendees were able to check out sessions on the creative process, including one that featured three of Europe’s leading TV screenwriters: Deutschland 83’s Jörg Winger, 1992’s Ludovica Rampoldi and Nobel’s Mette Bolstad.
Behind the Curtain: Meet the Showrunners!, moderated by Anna Carugati, the group editorial director of World Screen, looked at the evolving position of screenwriters in Europe. Bolstad said that when she started working in TV, it was very director-led. Her new show State of Happiness, however, “is more producer- and writer-led.”
In Italy ten years ago, “the writer was out of the process,” said Rampoldi. “They wrote the script and delivered it, and that was it.” They weren’t on set or involved in casting or editing. “Most of the time, the writer watched this show for the first time when it was aired on television. It was very common that entire scenes were changed by the director or by the broadcast delegate or the actors. Writers know how bad that can be. When you change something in long-form programming, you have to be fully aware of the consequences.”
Winger said that Germany had “the cult of the genius and of the director. It wasn’t just that the writers weren’t in charge, they weren’t allowed to participate. When I started, I was a writing producer, but I had to write secretly, basically hide it from the broadcaster because they thought producing and writing was a conflict of interest.”
Carugati noted that showrunners in the U.S. wear many hats, including writing, editing and overseeing the look of the show. She asked the panelists about the position of the showrunner in Europe. “I’m not a showrunner,” Rampoldi said. “In Italy, there is a bias against the writers. We don’t consider writers as the authors. We give authorship to the directors. The showrunner has the budget and the final cut. In Italy, only directors have the final [cut]. And for the budget, broadcasters don’t trust writers. The only cases where we have a showrunner is when the writer and creator is also the director. I’m thinking about Paolo Sorrentino’s The Young Pope and now The Miracle from writer Niccolò Ammaniti.”
This article continues here.