Netflix Sets First Turkish Series; Ex-Studiocanal Chief Joins French Gov’t – Global Briefs


Expanding its international offerings, Netflix has set its first original series from Turkey. The untitled 10-episode action drama weaves together Ottoman and Turkish legend and history and is expected to launch in 2018. The story focuses on a young man who discovers he has special powers. When dark forces that threaten to destroy Istanbul emerge, he must team up with a group of misfit friends to harness these powers and defend the city. Istanbul-based O3 Medya is producing with Onur Guvenatam as executive producer. Netflix’s current Turkish content includes such licensed dramas as Magnificent Century, Ezel and Lovebird.

Former Studiocanal President Olivier Courson has been named Counselor for Culture, Communication and Digital Regulation in the cabinet of France’s new Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe. Earlier in his career, he was a member of the State Council and worked in the cabinet of former Prime Minister, Lionel Jospin. He joined Canal Plus in 2003 and became President of Studiocanal in 2005. An exec shake-up in 2015 saw his exit as Vincent Bolloré overhauled the corporate structure of Canal Plus. Courson has a number of executive producer credits to his name, including upcoming thriller Entebbe from director José Padilha. Part of his mandate for Philippe will include oversight of such web giants as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.

Marseille producer Federation Entertainment is teaming with Mayane Films to co-produce AIDS, an international series about the emergence of the disease and the effort to find its cause. Developed by Georges Benayoun and Franck Nouchi, the medical thriller will be set in the 1980s when the epidemic first hit and as parallel teams of French and American researchers were engaged in a race against time to discover the agent responsible for the disease. Paris’ Institut Pasteur and the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda were initially eager to collaborate, but things soon turned sour as conflict between the two teams’ respective leaders, the charismatic Robert Gallo and the reserved Luc Montagnier, spilled over into the public domain. The scientific squabble became an affair of state. Federation is handling international sales for the series; it says financing is being finalized with a major U.S. partner.

Roadshow Films has acquired a 50% stake in Blink TV, the Australian production company headed by Paul Clarke. Clarke’s credits include Long Way To The Top, Bombora: The History of Australian Surfing, Wide Open Road and Whitlam: The Power And The Passion. He has also been the key creative executive of the Eurovision Song Contest since 2009. The acquisition follows Roadshow’s move into scripted production last year with Roadshow Rough Diamond. Clarke says the plan is to bring the Eurovision brand to Asia, with the support of Oz broadcaster SBS and the EBU. Roadshow Commercial Manager Grahame Grassby will help lead the development of Blink series, formats and entertainment brands across the region.

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