Less than two years after joining France Télévisions, former Canal Plus executive Manuel Alduy has helped flesh out the French public channel’s international series offering with shows such as “Bardot”, a biopic mini-series by Brigitte Bardot, and “The Insoumise”. about Alice Guy, the first female filmmaker of all time.
Ahead of France Télévisions’ Series Mania press conference, Alduy said the broadcaster’s first-look initiative with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) had resulted in several high-profile projects, including “Bardot.” The EBU represents 113 organizations in 56 countries, including the BBC in the UK, ARD in Germany, DR in Denmark, SVT in Sweden, Rai in Italy and the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation.
“Bardot” traces the life of the French actor and model from 1949, when she first appeared on the cover of a magazine, until the birth of his son in 1960. It is produced by Federation Entertainment with France Télévisions in France, and has been boarded by Mediaset in Italy, SVT in Sweden, YLE in Finland, DR in Denmark and NRK in Norway, among others. Netflix has second window rights in certain territories.
The star-studded series was written by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Danièle Thompson (“Queen Margot”) and is directed by Christopher Thompson (“Tender and Bloody”). Victor Belmondo, Yvan Attal, Géraldine Pailhas and Hippolyte Girardot star in “Bardot”, according to an industry source.
Among the other ambitious international series unveiled by the group, let’s mention “L’insoumise”, which France Télévisions is co-developing with Wild Bunch TV. The series was written by Jean-Jacques Annaud (“Notre Dame on Fire”) and Tim Loane (“Das Boot”, “Marcella”) and revolves around Guy’s tumultuous romance with Herbert Blaché. It will relate their rise to power in France and their move to the United States where Guy finally had difficulty imposing himself in the shadow of her husband.
Alduy, who worked at Canal Plus Group for 22 years before joining Twentieth Century Fox in 2016, said France Télévisions was also still part of the European Alliance alongside ZDF, Rai and France Télévisions. The trio of broadcasters has just launched a call for projects with the European Producers Club (EPC) to put together an exciting list. In collaboration with the EPC, the Alliance selected around 35 projects with international potential and pre-selected around ten of them from the previous edition of Series Mania.
The executive said that going forward, the broadcaster’s slate of international co-productions will focus less on thrillers and crime shows and feature more adventure, fantasy or current affairs series.
“We produced ‘Around the World in 80 Days’, ‘Germinal’ and ‘Leonardo’ through the alliance during the first stage of our international expansion and looking at how they performed, some of them were perhaps too similar to the shows that are on our French slate,” Alduy said.
Alduy said the biggest source of pride for France Télévisions this year was the higher proportion of fiction programs featuring female talent in front of and behind the camera. “Our president Delphine Ernotte made a commitment a year ago to increase gender parity in our programs and the results are there. We now have 32% of our series and TV films directed by women”, declared the executive.
Ernotte, who chairs both the EBU and France Télévisions, said the broadcaster aimed to “give all French people free and universal access to ambitious content through the unique diversity of its offer”.
“Our mission to work with all talents, established or emerging, allows us to reflect French society in all its diversity and maintain our leadership in an ever-changing world,” added Ernotte. France Télévisions has just become the official media partner of the Cannes Film Festival with the social media group Brut.
France Télévisions is also a major partner of the Series Mania Festival where it presents this year “ReuSSS”, “Tender Chair” and “Hors saison” in the official selection.