Magazine article Screen International

The Idea Trade

Magazine article Screen International

The Idea Trade

Article excerpt

The TV industry does it and film is finally starting to do the same: selling the stories and concepts of existing movies for repackaging in multiple international territories.

We've all heard the axiom that there are six basic stories in movies that are tweaked, twisted, adapted, rejigged and mixed up in every screenplay. But I am intrigued these days by the notion of story as currency to be traded across borders.

In TV it's now a routine notion to franchise your dramatic concept in other countries.

UK TV audiences are getting comfortably ensconsed with the latest hit Nordic crime series The Bridge (Bron), a Danish-Swedish co-production about the Copenhagen (Denmark) and Malmo (Sweden) police forces collaborating on a murder that takes place on the bridge that links the two cities. The series - co-produced by Sweden's Filmlance, a division of the international Shine Group - is now being developed in a host of reboots teaming different police forces - UK and France, Spain and Portugal, US and Mexico among them. Likewise Israel's In Treatment has been formatted in the US, The Netherlands, central Europe, Serbia and others.

I'm not talking about straightforward remakes here by US networks (Homeland, The Killing, The Office etc), but the localization of great stories in multiple versions. It's a logical extension of the franchising of gameshows or talent contests across the world. Why not franchise stories?

Some enterprising film players are experimenting in the film sphere. In an interview with Screen for the Cannes issue, Fox International Productions president Sanford Panitch explains how he is plotting European remakes of two FIP-backed productions - Brazil's Federal Bank Heist and Korea's The Yellow Sea.

International veteran Clifford Werber has created a financial model through his Fluent Entertainment to make local-language films that Sony will distribute, often looking at remakes of films from around the world such as the German remake of Brazilian smash If I Were You which he set up. …

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