Toronto: Trans Atlantic Partners Program Is Thriving at Its 10-Year Mark

THE TALE Still 1 - Sundance 2018 - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Jennifer Fox's 'The Tale,' Pan Nalin's 'Angry Indian Goddess' and 'Tokyo Trial' from directors Rob W. King and Pieter Verhoeff are just three of the scores of features and series that have come out of TAP, the Canadian-German training and network program that is celebrating its 10th anniversary at TIFF.

A story of childhood sexual abuse starring Laura Dern and Elizabeth Debicki; an Indian-German drama about eight women gathered in Goa to celebrate a wedding; and a Dutch-Japanese-Canadian co-production set during the Tokyo War Crime Tribunal.

Jennifer Fox’s The Tale, Pan Nalin’s Angry Indian Goddess and Tokyo Trial from directors Rob W. King and Pieter Verhoeff are just three of the scores of features and series that have come out of Trans Atlantic Partners, the Canadian-German training and network program that is celebrating its 10th anniversary at TIFF.

The collaboration between Berlin’s Erich Pommer Institut and the Canadian Media Producers Association is the only program of its kind dedicated to fostering cross-Atlantic productions. In two training modules — in Berlin in June and in Halifax, Canada in September — producers from around the world are brought together with the aim of fostering long-term cooperation. TAP alumni include such acclaimed producers as Guneet Monga (The Lunchbox), Birgitte Skov (Borg vs. McEnroe), Peter Bouckaert (Bullhead) and Michael Frislev (TV’s Fargo).

With the independent film industry undergoing “disruptive change” in financing and distribution models, notes TAP’s director Jan Miller, it becomes “even more essential to bring together producers from across the globe to facilitate their move into international co-production.”

“Producers tend to know their own territory really well — you understand how tax credits work in Europe or how to do gap financing in North America — but we tend to be naive when it comes to the business outside our area of expertise,” adds Sol Bondy, a German producer who participated in the TAP program in 2013. “TAP brings you together with experts from America, from India, from Asia, in a way that you can all learn from one another.”

Both The Tale and Angry Indian Goddesses came directly out of TAP, Bondy says. Fox’s feature — which premiered at Sundance before selling to HBO (and picking up two Emmy nominations), started life as a TAP pitch — Bondy’s Berlin-based One Two Films signed on to co-produce with Fox’s New York-based shingle A Luminous Mind Productions. For Angry Indian Goddesses, Bondy came on after the film had wrapped, helping fellow TAP producer Gaurav Dhingra to complete financing for postproduction. The film went on to sell to some 50 territories worldwide.

Says Fox: “TAP helps you form international networks. This isn’t about financing a one-off project, it’s about the long game, for people who want to learn how to work internationally in the long term.”

This story also appears in The Hollywood Reporter's Sept. 9 daily issue at the Toronto Film Festival.