The Greek drama from Netflix is ​​set to go global.

By | November 13, 2022

The Thessaloniki Film Festival kicked off its inaugural Agora series strand on November 10 with international TV executives and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in attendance, highlighting the commitment of the government and local industry to jump-start the domestic TV sector.

Speaking to a full house at the historic Olympia Cinema, Mitsotakis described the government’s efforts to support the Greek screen industry with a 40% rebate and 30% tax relief program: “We hope this is just the beginning.” “

Last year, the sun-drenched Mediterranean nation hosted 20 international television productions, the prime minister said, including the spy thriller “Tehran” on Apple TV Plus.

Domestic production on the hit drama series is on the rise — and foreign buyers are paying attention. Earlier this week, Netflix announced that it has acquired the international rights to the drama series “Maestro” directed by and starring Christophoros Papakaliatis, for the first time on its streaming service, a Greek TV show. The series, which is currently airing on private broadcaster MEGA, will premiere on Netflix in Greece and Cyprus on December 19, ahead of its worldwide release in early 2023.

Speaking at a panel of industry executives on Thursday, Netflix Italia Content Discovery Manager Veronica Vitali outlined the kind of series the streaming service is looking for from the growing Greek TV business.

“’Maestro’ is a very good example of… it feels very local, very Greek. But at the same time, it explores universal themes like forbidden love, human nature, conflicts, family,” she says. “We hope this will bring people around the world to connect with him.”

Munich-based Beta Films producer Ferdinand Dohna, who is selling the Greek abduction thriller “Silent Road” internationally, said the series highlights the fascinating culture of ancient Greece. “It really shows the essence of Greek mythology,” he said.

Governments and financial institutions are stepping in to translate the tradition into a global television drama. Earlier this week, Thessaloniki’s Hellenic Development Bank (HDB) announced a €62.5 million ($64 million) loan guarantee program focused on the audiovisual sector, including motion picture, video and television production and computer game development. The program offers an 80% guarantee rate for low-interest loans between €25,000 ($25,600) and €900,000 ($922,000) through partner lenders Piraeus Bank and Optima Bank.

With a successful cashback scheme and tax relief program, as well as low production costs relative to most of Europe, Greek producers now have more financial tools at their disposal – even if they are traditionally strapped for cash. Domestic outlets.

“You don’t have to have a million euros ($1.02 million),” emphasizes producer Julien Leroux of London-based Paper Entertainment. [per episode] Budget will be relevant outside of Greece.

“Look at Israel,” said Leroux, who served as an executive producer on the Emmy-winning “Tehran” and co-produced season two. “Israel is producing on very low budgets, similar to those in Greece, and Israeli content is going around the world. It’s not necessarily about money. It’s also about creative ambition and bringing singular, ambitious, new stories to audiences – first in Greece, and if it works for a Greek audience, maybe there’s a shot at making it work outside of Greece.

“Tehran,” which will air globally on Apple TV Plus in 2021 after debuting on public television in Israel, is produced by Greek broadcaster Kosmote TV and filmed mostly in Athens, which doubles as Iran’s capital. “It’s doing amazingly well,” Leroux said. “There is such a wide variety of places in Greece. It’s fantastic. This is a huge advantage Greece has over many other states.

Vitali added: “We know how special Greece is, as Netflix has shot more than 10 productions in the country in recent years, including Rian Johnson’s “Glass Onion: Knife Out” and Maggie Gyllenhaal’s “Gone Girl.”

But while “locations are a big thing,” he asked the audience of Greek producers eager to work with the streaming giant, “What do you bring to the world?” she asked them.

Why is that story being told by you and not by an American company or writer? What makes it special? What value are you adding to this story? A lot of times, if anyone can tell that story, it’s probably not the best story for you to tell,” she says.

“Start with what is known to the Greek audience and try to elevate that – to bring something new and to say something that has not been said.”

The Thessaloniki Film Festival runs from November 3 to 13.

Category: tv

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