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The Creatives, an alliance of independent production companies from across Europe and beyond, has picked 16 screenwriters to participate in a session of brainstorming workshops aimed at developing ideas and pitches for new films and high-end drama TV series.
The group, announced Monday, includes veteran writers Thomas Bidegain, co-writer of The Bélier Family, the 2014 French feature adapted into English as 2021 Best Picture Oscar winner CODA, as well as several collaborations with French director Jacques Audiard, including A Prophet (2009), Rust and Bone (2012) and The Sisters Brothers (2018); Israeli writer Sigal Avin, creator of Apple TV+ Losing Alice; and Denmark’s Julie Budtz Sørensen, a writer on Netflix series The Rain and Chosen.
The 16 writers, joined by 10 producers from The Creatives, will take part in three, five-day workshops across Europe this year. The first will kick off in France’s Île-de-France region this week. The concept of the workshops will see the writers and producers hear from experts in different, non-entertainment fields, including artificial intelligence, environmental studies, genetics and philosophy, in a bid to help guide them in creating new stories.
Any ideas or concepts generated during the first workshop will be taken and explored in a pre-development workshop led by leading residency program Le Groupe Ouest in March 2023, and then shaped further in a writers residency held in August 2023. The workshops are being co-funded by the European Commission.
The Creatives, whose members include British group Good Chaos (Triangle of Sadness), France’s Haut et Court (The Returned), Germany’s Komplizen Film (Spencer) and Razor Film (Quo Vadis, Aida?), as well as Dutch group Lemming Film, Belgium’s Versus Production, Norway’s Maipo Film, Israeli group Spiro, France’s Unité and American production outfit Masha, have a three-year partnership deal with production giant Fremantle to help develop and distribute any series or film ideas that come out of the workshops.
The other writers picked for the 2023 workshops include: Tawfik Abu Wael, writer on HBO’s Our Boys; Tunde Aladese, the screenwriter on Kenneth Gyang’s 2018 feature The Lost Café; Mette M. Bolstad, a co-writer on Anne Sewitsky’s 2010 Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner Happy, Happy, and the NRK series State of Happiness; Jan Schomburg, a co-writer on Maria Schrader’s I’m Your Man (2021); and the writer-director of the 2011 feature Above Us Only Sky; Irish writer Susanne Farrell (Drift, Dirty God); Turkish writer Mustafa Duygulu (Mocro Maffia); and Iván Szabó (The Citizen) from Hungary. Also participating are Hungarian-French writer Judit Anna Bánházi, Finnish screenwriter Reeta Ruotsalainen, Cyril Tysz from France, Cecilia Verheyden from Belgium, and Elena Lyubarskaya and Ipek Zübert from Germany.
Set up in 2021, The Creatives is an attempt by these independent outfits to response to seismic changes in the international television and film industries driven by the explosion of streaming services worldwide. While the streaming boom has boosted demand, it has also fueled consolidation on the production side — Fremantle, Banijay and other global giants have bought up numerous independent companies — and concentrated financial and creative power in the hands of a small number of streaming and studio players.
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