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MIPTV: Your Guide To The Top Irish Companies In Cannes
30 Mar 2012 : By Steve Cummins
The market at MIP
As the leading players in the Irish television industry head to Cannes to buy, sell and add to their client base, we look at the top companies to find out what their key aims are at this year’s market place and why MIPTV remains an important event on the television industry’s calendar.

With just two days to go to the start of MIPTV, the annual market showcase for the television industry, meetings have been busily arranged, notes have been taken and schedules have been analyzed. From today Irish programming buyers, sellers, broadcasters, producers, distributors, post-production gurus and financiers will arrive en masse in Cannes ahead of the start of MIPTV on Sunday.

What lies before them is four days of screenings and networking opportunities as they aim to catch up with their existing client base and hopefully add some new international clients as well.

IFTN caught up with the very top Irish companies heading to MIPTV 2012 to find out what they are bringing to the table this year; what their past successes have been and to assess that, with a growing array of market events on the television calendar, is MIPTV still as important an event as it ever was?

IRISH FILM BOARD

NETWORK TELEVISION IRELAND
RTE
SCREEN SCENE
SCREENTIME SHINAWIL
TELEGAEL
TYRONE PRODUCTIONS
WINDMILL LANE PICTURES

________________________________________________

IRISH FILM BOARDwww.irishfilmboard.ie

Overview: Ireland’s national film agency, the IFB supports and promotes the Irish film industry and the use of Ireland as a location for international production. They also provide investment for the development, production and release of feature films, television, animation, documentaries and short films.

Who’s Going: James Hickey, CEO, and Naoise Barry, film commissioner.

Key Aims at MIPTV 2012
Naoise Barry: “MIPTV creates the opportunity to promote the Irish film and television industry to the world, building on Ireland’s strong international reputation in television, including high-end drama and animation. The IFB sponsors the Ireland on Screen market stand, in partnership with Enterprise Ireland, providing a base for more than 20 Irish media companies to do business.

Previous Success Stories at MIPTV
“IFB and Irish producer annual attendance at MIPTV and MIPCOM has contributed to attracting ‘Primeval’, ‘Sinbad’, ‘Ripper Street’ and ‘Vexed’ to Ireland, delivering in excess of €25m of foreign direct investment since 2010, from these four projects alone.”

MIPTV is important because…
“MIPTV is attended by 12,000 key decision makers from 100 countries. It provides the stage for Irish producers to network and explore new co-production opportunities across the full range of AV content.”

MIPTV

________________________________________________

NETWORK TELEVISION IRELANDwww.network-irl-tv.com/

Company Overview: Set up in 1995, Network Ireland Television is one of the most established independent distribution houses in Ireland. It boasts a programme portfolio consisting of more than 1,500 hours of TV and DVD material. That includes more than 850 short films, while its selection includes eight shorts that have been Oscar-nominated over the past four years, including the Oscar-winning ‘The Shore’.

Who’s Going: Derry O’Brien, Managing Director

Key Titles at MIPTV 2012
‘The Titanic Inquiry’ – “It’s a new drama from BBC Northern Ireland produced by the Hole In The Wall gang,” says O’Brien. “It’s a courtroom drama based on the official British inquiry into the Californian incident relating to the sinking of the Titanic.”

‘Eliot And Me’ – “A one-off one hour TV drama, this was shown on RTE at Christmas. It’s literally a family drama telling the story of a 10-year-old girl called Lucy who’s struggling to come to terms with her parent’s separation. That was made by Fubar Films and Fintan Connolly, and we think that there’s a big market for family type programming.”

‘The Shore’ - “This is the Oscar-winning comedy drama, which is Terry George’s short film. We’ll be featuring that prominently down there, not so much as a short film but also as a TV half-hour.”

‘Titanic Centenary Commemoration’ – “This is another Titanic related project which has not yet been made. It will be recorded live in Belfast on April 14, the actual night of the centenary. It’s being produced by Whizzkid Entertainment in the UK for BBC Northern Ireland and BBC Two, and it’s a 90-minute prime time event, which will be broadcast across the UK.”

‘Titanic: A Legend Born In Belfast’ – “It’s basically about the building of the Titanic and interviews with people who saw the great ship being built, and launched, and re-visiting the ship’s slipway in the yards of Harland and Wolff where 15,000 shipbuilders once worked on the construction of the Titanic and its sister ship The Olympic.”

‘Frank Clarke: Simply Painting In China’ – “This is a how to paint series. Frank’s been doing this for years in terms of making shows that are shown in places like USA, Canada, Australia, UK and again there’s always interest in a new series from Frank.”

Other shows Network Ireland Television will be selling include ‘Movie Talk’ – “a series which features profiles of 10 of the most established film actors and directors with Irish connections”; ‘Olympic Games In Antiquity’ – “a five-part half-hour series on the original Olympic Games”; two feature film libraries – The London Film Library and The Cori Film Library, which house 300 titles in total between them; and ‘Brendan Smyth: Betrayal Of Trust’, a documentary on the notorious child abuser.

Previous Success Stories at MIP TV
“This is our 18th year consecutively showing at MIP and some of the biggest things we’ve had have been series like ‘What In The World’, which is a series made for RTE. We’ve managed to sell those to a number of territories around the world in the past, and they’ve travelled reasonably well that the buyers are always looking to know when the next series will be available so that they can review it fast and get it out there.”

MIPTV is important because….
“In truth it’s probably less important now than it used to be. MIPCOM, which had been the younger of the two shows, has become the most important show now mainly because of two reasons.

“Firstly buyers are not going to the market twice a year anymore for all sorts of reasons, mainly budgetary reasons, and also a lot of the American studios don’t travel to MIPTV because they have the LA screenings coming up in May and they’re launching all of their shows and pilots there.

“So they don’t want to pre-empt that by showing them or talking about them at MIPTV. It’s MIPCOM when they really start pushing those new shows out in a big way, and I think that and the fact that the animation companies now have Keyscreen in New York in February, means that they don’t have to be there. So you’re getting fewer buyers overall travelling, but the ones that do travel are always interested in some niche programming and I think that’s where we’d have an advantage.”

________________________________________________

RTE www.rte.ie

Company Overview: Ireland’s state broadcaster, RTÉ will arrive at MIPTV to launch a number of factual, observational and lifestyle programmes in Cannes as part of their 2012 season launch.

Who’s Going: Edel Edwards and Laura McCahill of RTE Programme Sales, as well as representatives from programme acquisitions and commissioning.

Key Titles at MIPTV 2012
Edel Edwards: “‘Hostile Environment’ is a two-part series from Get Go Films in which actor Liam Cunningham goes behind the scenes of the secretive world of the International private security industry and ‘MND – The Inside Track’, which is Colm Murray’s inspirational documentary about the disease that has afflicted him from Independent Pictures.”

“Also new for MIPTV is ‘Franc’s DIY Brides’ from Firebrand, where wedding planner Franc takes on the role of mentor as he helps six couples plan their big day on a budget. Popular returning series which we are launching include ‘Animal Clinic; from Encore Productions; ‘At Your Service’ from Waddell Media and ‘From Here to Maternity’ from M3 Productions.”

Previous Success Stories at MIP TV
“It is easier to pinpoint specific genres that were successful at previous markets – over the last few years our sales of our lifestyle and drama slate have increased significantly.  Our most recent drama success has been the launch of ‘Love/Hate’ from Octagon Films by ITV Global.”

MIPTV is important because…
“The Ireland on Screen stand at MIPTV (and MIPCOM) is invaluable for us as a programme distributor and the industry as a whole. Over the years it has raised our profile as an international player and attendance at these markets gives us access to a wide range of broadcasters that we would otherwise not have had the opportunity to pitch our shows to.”

________________________________________________

SCREEN SCENE www.screenscene.ie

Company Overview: One of Ireland’s leading post-production facilities, Screen Scene is a one-stop shop for sound and VFX. Their team of more than 60 has provided award-winning post for major international clients such as HBO, BBC, ITV and Discovery. Recent credits include HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ and BBC’s ‘The Silence’.

Who’s Going: Mura O’Byrne, Financial Director

Key Aims at MIPTV 2012
O’Byrne: “We’re a post house so a lot of what we’re doing is meeting up with clients and generally just seeing what the market is at in terms of TV. It’s very much a networking event for us. You know it’s very hard to meet up with a lot of producers in Dublin. They’re always flying around and are incredibly busy and they don’t really have the time to go out. At MIP you’re away and you kind of have the time to meet up with your clients and talk to them, grab something to eat and that. It’s a nice environment to meet up with your client base, see what they’re selling and how they’re getting on.”

Previous Success Stories at MIP TV
“You’d always hope to come out of MIP with a job or two under your arm, but saying that it’s very much about meeting people and mingling. We just completed series one of ‘Game of Thrones’ for HBO. This will be the first time we’ll be going over to MIP after that was delivered so we’ll be talking about that and hopefully that will generate some work. We just tell people what’s happening in Screen Scene and what work we’re putting through to our movie VFX department. It’s very much about telling people about what we’ve done and what jobs we’re putting though now.”

MIPTV is important because….
“For TV it is absolutely the most important event for us to attend. Historically, Screen Scene hasn’t gone to the film festival and although there’s MIPCOM in October, we just tend to do one a year. We might increase that because it is exposure to the international market, and that’s where it’s at. I think we need to get more international work into the country. So we might look at doing the October MIP.”

________________________________________________

SCREENTIME SHINAWIL www.shinawil.ie

Company Overview: One of the largest and most successful independent production companies in Ireland, Screentime ShinAwiL have branched out to the UK where they opened an office in 2009. Specialising in factual entertainment and live event shows, the company has had particular success with international formats and own the rights for ‘The Voice’, ‘The Apprentice’, ‘Dragons’ Den’ and ‘Masterchef’.

Who’s Going: Larry Bass, CEO, and Alan Gillespie, Development Executive

Key Titles at MIPTV 2012
‘The Obesity Clinic’, a factual documentary for RTE, and ‘Undercover NI’, a factual series for the BBC.

Larry Bass: “We hope to attach distributors to those series. We’ve also got a number of early-stage shows that we have in development and again we’re going to looking to talk to distributors to maybe fund pilots. So there are always numerous shows that we have in development but which we wouldn’t be at liberty to discuss what they are until we’ve actually got them commissioned.”

Previous Success Stories at MIP TV
“Unlike a lot of companies we do a lot of format television. All of those formats would have been acquired at MIPTV or MIPCOM. I would have been at every MIPTV and every MIPCOM for the last 11 years. So the network of connections and contacts and relationships that you build up is hugely important.

“From my first journey down to MIP, formats were a big part of the business. They’ve obviously become probably more important, but sales of formats have always been huge business from the early days of television, when big US game shows were sold all around the world.

“I think the big change in the late-’90s and early-’00s was the entry to the international market of UK formats like ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’ and the Swedish format ‘Survivor’, also ‘Big Brother’ coming from Holland. Suddenly these big European formats started dominating the world and it’s opened up the opportunity for format developers from everywhere.

“So it’s time now for the Irish formats, and there are a lot of Irish formats travelling and there are a lot of companies who now firmly have their eye on the world market not just on the Irish networks.”

MIPTV is important because….
“If you want to be in the export business, you’ve got to go to the sales market. There are pretty much only three or four sales markets going on every year – MIPTV and MIPCOM are two of them. They’re probably two of the biggest where you’ve got the most buyers from the most countries in the world. So if you’re in the sales game and you’re looking to sell your products, you must be there. It’s not a debate. It’s the only way you can sell.”

________________________________________________

TELEGAEL www.telegael.com

Company Overview: Set-up in 1988, Telegael is one of Europe’s leading animation and television production houses having won a number of Emmy and IFTA awards. The company has seen their productions distributed to over 140 territories with their client list including Disney, Discovery Kids, France Television, BBC and Nickelodeon.

Who’s Going: Paul Cummins, CEO, Siobhán Ní Ghadhra, COO, and Gráinne
McNamara, Head of International Development

Key Titles at MIPTV 2012
‘Alexander and Pete’ – “This is a tween show,” Paul Cummins says, “based upon a 12-year-old boy Alexander, and his talking magic rabbit Pete. Telegael and our co-production partners, the esteemed Jim Henson Company in LA, have already produced a pilot and commissioned a script for this show. We have strong interest from broadcasters and our aim is to give ‘Alexander and Pete’ a green light for production after this market.”

‘My Perfect Boybot’ – “Written and created by Irish writer Helen Falconer, this is a series about a young girl called Chloe and her new best friend Faber who just happens to be a robot. Working on the past successes of our live action tween shows including ‘Aifric’ and ‘My Phone Genie’, we hope to find a co-production partner for this show at MIP.

“In animation, we are launching a new pre-school series at this coming market called ‘Bimomibo’. Partnering with DHX Media as a co-production partner, Telegael will be showing a pilot at the coming market and pitching to targeted broadcasters.

“Hot-on-the-heels of ‘Bimomibo’ is the pre-school show based on the books of writer Betty Birney, ‘The World According To Humphrey’. We will be looking for potential buyers for this show at MIP.

“Along with our co-producer Suppertime Entertainment, we are also looking forward to meeting with potential partners for its new show ‘The Impossimals’ by creator Peter Smyth. Although in the early stages of development, the show has generated significant interest from the animation community already and we hope to build on the interest to date during MIPTV.”

Previous Success Stories at MIP TV
“Well, it’s all about a continuing process where you’re meeting people, building relationships and moving projects forward all the time. It’s not necessarily a case where you go and you sign up deals there and then, but its part of the process where you have relationships with co-producers and broadcasters and you build on those. As well as that you may have visits to broadcasters, so it’s not like you hit the jackpot at any particular MIP.

“In terms of past successes, certainly ‘Aifric’ was hugely successful for us. But again that was over a number of MIPs. Another one was ‘My Phone Genie’, which is now near completion. It was three years trying to get that project off the ground at MIPCOM.”

MIPTV is important because….
“It’s important to meet all of these people because you just don’t have the time to go and meet them individually during the year. You’d find it very costly too to go to their own offices, their own headquarters. Whereas the big advantage with MIP is that it brings everyone together, the whole world of broadcasting, television production, financing, over an intense number of days.

“MIPTV and MIPCOM are probably the two main markets for TV each year, for the global market. In terms of animation it’s been rivaled more and more by Kidscreen, which is held in New York every February. You find now that some people who attend Kidscreen don’t attend MIPTV in April, but do attend MIPCOM. That’s probably because MIPCOM is preceded by Junior MIPCOM, which is the children’s market.”

________________________________________________

TYRONE PRODUCTIONS www.tyroneproductions.ie/

Company Overview: Hugely well-regarded, Tyrone has been making independent productions since 1987 and is regularly commissioned by RTE to produce high-quality and entertaining television across a host of genres. Recent productions include ‘The All Ireland Talent Show’ and ‘Ireland’s Greatest’.

Who’s Going: Patricia Carroll, Managing Director

Key Titles at MIPTV 2012
Carroll: “Obviously we have a number of Riverdance titles that we still market. The newest one being ‘Riverdance: Live in Beijing’, which we did a year and a half ago. So we’ll be looking for new territories for that. That’s both from a broadcast point of view and from DVD distribution as well.

“Other stuff we’ll be bringing out is catching up with existing distributors that we have product with – the likes of Beyond Distribution and other distributors that we have various product with. We also have interest on a format that we have called ‘The Ultimate Street Challenge’, which we did for RTE last year.

“We also do the distribution for ‘Beckett On Film’ and we’ve just done a hi-def version of that and we’ve a host of broadcasters interested in that.”

Previous Success Stories at MIP TV
“Stuff that we’ve had some real success on in the past would have obviously been all of the Riverdance titles. ‘Master Apprentice’, which was something we did for RTE a few years ago, we hold the international distribution rights on that. ‘On God’s Mission’ was another three-part documentary that we did a couple of years ago, and we’ve had good sales on that at MIPTV in the past.”

MIPTV is important because….
“From an Irish TV point of view it is one opportunity of the year for Irish producers to see the scale of the entire TV market. It’s great to see what the competition is like out there, and it really puts it into focus as to what a small community we are here. I love to have a look at what formats are out there and to see what’s new and what the trends are. It’s great to get to some of the conferences out there and get a feel for what’s happening globally or what’s going to be happening in the next year or the year after. There’s a lot of talking going on as well.”

________________________________________________

WINDMILL LANE www.windmilllane.com

Company Overview: Ireland’s largest post-production company, Windmill Lane boasts more than 30 years international experience specializing in international drama co-production. It provides editing, visual effects, compositing, grading. Recent credits include the Luc Besson produced ‘Lockout’ and the 12-part TV drama ‘Titanic: Blood and Steel’.

Who’s Going: Peter Brady, Director of Programming

Key Aims at MIPTV 2012
James Morris, CEO: “We’re targeting producers who have got projects in post-production, or that will need post-production. Increasingly now we’re targeting the effects production because visual effects has become quite an important part of what we offer. We are doing a large TV series at the moment, which is ‘Titanic: Blood and Steel’, which was filmed in Dublin last year and will be released very shortly in April.

“So essentially, Windmill Lane will be building on its existing relationships with producers. Our relationships are primarily with producers who have projects in the pipeline, so that’s really it from our point of view. We’re there to build on existing relationships with producers and find new projects. And we’re also looking for drama and film projects that might want to post-produce in Ireland and avail of our tax incentive. So we’ll then see if we can put a package together for that. It’s generally speaking just being out in the market place as a post-production company.”

Previous Success Stories at MIP TV
“I think it’s a constant thing. Nearly all of our main clients would attend MIPTV and MIPCOM, and to some extent we’re sort of maintaining those relationships by going along to MIP as opposed to finding new projects. So, in a sense all the work we do in the larger scale television projects, particularly film and drama, come from pursuing contacts at MIP.

MIPTV is important because….
“I think also at those types of gatherings you meet high-level people and you also get a lot of intelligence about projects that are coming up, so it’s a very good way to find out what’s happening in your own market place.”

________________________________________________

Other Irish companies heading to MIPTV as part of Enterprise Ireland’s Ireland On Screen initiative (stand number 02.30 in hall number one) include Big Mountain Production, Tile Films, Video Elephant, Like It Love It, Vision Independent Productions, Dublin Film Distributors and Zink Films.

More information about MIPTV visit http://www.mipworld.com/en/miptv/





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