Wednesday , February 20 2019

Find Me in Paris game changer in ‘tweens’ TV

Int’l Emmy Kids Awards

CANNES, France, April 11, (Agencies): A big-budget children series set in the Paris Opera Ballet — which is being billed as a game changer in tweens television — will premiere Tuesday in Cannes at the world’s top TV market.

“Find Me in Paris”, a time travelling ballet and hip-hop story aimed at girls and boys from six to 12, is being sold as the first children’s show to attempt to ape the success of high-end adult series.

Made in English with a 12 million-euro ($14.7 million) budget, a second series has already been commissioned even before it goes out on Hulu, Disney and French, German and Australian TV.

It tells the story of Lena Grisky, a young Russian princess and star dancer at the Paris Opera school in 1905 who is accidently catapulted to the present day by her boyfriend.

As he tries desperately to bring her back, she falls for her handsome modern dance partner Max, who also runs an underground hip hop dance crew in the French capital.

Mostly shot on location in Paris and the spectacular Opera Garnier, it worked with the ballet’s own choreographers and had dancers from its school doubling for the cast.

Producer David Michel of Cottonwood Media called it a “gender neutral show mixing ballet, hip-hop and time travel” before its red carpet screening at the MIPTV market in the French Riviera resort.

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“We hope the show will speak to both the younger end of the six-to-12 bracket because of the ballet and love story aspects of the plot, and to tweens thanks to the more complex storylines about time travelling,” he said.

Industry analysts have compared its budget and high production values to adults shows, saying that it could be the first of a wave of high-quality tween dramas, a market up till now dominated by lower budget comedies.

Co-produced by the ballet itself and German public broadcaster ZDF, but with a mainly British and Canadian cast, the 26-part series will be broadcast by Disney this weekend in France.

A new spy drama which turns James Bond gender roles on their head was hailed Monday as a “must-see show of the year” by critics.

“Killing Eve” stars Sandra Oh of “Grey’s Anatomy” fame as a frustrated, shambling bureaucrat working for Britain’s MI5 spy agency who ends up on the trail of an international hitwoman.

The drama got rave reviews after being shown in competition in the CannesSeries festival in the French Riviera late Sunday.

The Hollywood Reporter called its wicked mix of thriller chills and whip-smart comedy “thrillingly addictive… and massively entertaining, the next must-see show of 2018”.

Variety said that “in attempting something rare, wild and risky” there is no doubt the series will become “one of the favourite shows of the year”.

Its British creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge told reporters Monday that it was shocking that it has taken this long for women to take the leads in a classic spy cat-and-mouse story.

“It is so obvious when you think about it. Why hasn’t it been done before with women?” said Waller-Bridge, who wrote and starred in the highly acclaimed jet-black BBC comedy series “Fleabag” about a young woman not coping with her life.

“I hope the hell that this is part of the change after #MeToo and that they cannot get away with not having that conversation anymore,” she added.

The writer, who adapted the story from a series of novellas by Luke Jennings, said the two protagonists were “women who are messy, flawed, and yet still fascinating”.

Eve, played by US star Oh, is in a comfortable mid-life marriage but craves excitement.

“She wants to be out there protecting people but when there’s a bang in her house, she runs upstairs and hides. There is something much more human and relatable about that,” said Waller-Bridge.

In contrast, the assassin Villanelle, played by British actress Jodie Comer, is fearless, a psychopath with a twisted sense of humour who lives in Paris and travels all around Europe killing people in ever more creative ways.

In a neat stab at the macho Bond stereotype, she celebrates a successful hit by going out and picking up two men.

The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences presented the winners of the 6th International Emmy Kids Awards in Cannes on Tuesday night, at a ceremony at the Carlton Hotel.

With over 1,000 buyers of youth-oriented programming assembled in Cannes for MipTV, Academy President and CEO Bruce L. Paisner celebrated what he described as an “exciting and thriving industry” that’s “pushing boundaries inventing new forms.”

Twenty-eight nominees from 16 countries gathered for the presentation of awards highlighting the dynamism of kids programming around the world.

In the category of Kids: Factual, the winner was “Berlin und wir!” (Berlin and Us!), by Germany’s Imago TV and pubcaster ZDF, about German and refugee kids learning about each other’s cultures in Berlin.

Topping the Kids: Preschool category was France’s “La Cabane a Histoires” (The Treehouse Stories), by Dandelooo and Caribara Production, about four friends who meet in a secret treehouse to share their favorite books.

The Kids: Non-Scripted Entertainment award went to “Snapshots,” by Canada’s Forte Entertainment, which pits three young shutterbugs in a competition against each other to take the best photo.

Kids: TV Movie/Mini-Series was won by the UK’s “Hank Zipzer’s Christmas Catastrophe,” by Kindle Entertainment, DHX Media, and Walker Productions, with the support of Screen Yorkshire’s Yorkshire Content Fund. Based on the best-selling book series co-written by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver, the show is about a smart and resourceful 14-year-old boy with dyslexia.

Kids: Digital prized “Jenter” (Young Girls), an innovative web series for tweens with a short-burst, real-time release format, by Norwegian pubcaster NRK, which produced “Skam.”

Getting the nod in Kids: Series, Germany’s “Club der Roten Baender” (Red Bracelets) is a teen hospital drama about friendship helping characters get through medical hardships, produced by Bantry Bay Productions GmbH and VOX Television GmbH.

In the category of Kids: Animation, the award went to “Revolting Rhymes,” a stylish animation adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic by the UK’s Oscar-nominated Magic Light Pictures.

The statues were presented by an international cast of TV and digital personalities and character mascots, including Spanish YouTube star Ruben Doblas Gundersen, better known as “El Rubius” creator of Movistar + original series “Virtual Hero”; Natasha Negovanlis and Elise Bauman, stars of the hit Canadian web series “Carmilla”; Quebecois actor and rapper Emile Schneider; and Bushra Rozza, an Egyptian actress and producer and founder of the El Gouna Film Festival.

Other prize givers took in British classical music group Ember Trio; German pre-school character Die Maus from WDR’s “The Program with The Mouse,” presenting alongside Clarissa Da Silva from the broadcaster’s kids’ series “Ah – I Got It!”; and South Korea’s Jenny Kim, who was crowned Miss Supranational in 2017.

With the range of content represented by both winners and nominees, the night was a celebration of the spirit of innovation driving kids content today—a feeling summed up by NRK’s Beate Rendahl who, in accepting the award for “Jenter” (Young Girls), said, “Thank you to everyone who says yes to new ideas.”

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