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New Irish drama The Liberties selected for Series Mania Co-Pro Pitching Sessions
02 Mar 2022 : Nathan Griffin
The Liberties
Irish production The Liberties has been selected as one of 15 project for the Co-Production Pitching Sessions at this year’s Series Mania Forum.

The Co-Pro Pitching Sessions is Series Mania Forum’s founding premise and the most anticipated part of the annual Forum. TV series such as Blackport, The Last Socialist Artefact or No Man’s Land were introduced for the first time during the Co-Pro Pitching Sessions.

Each year, 15 series projects seeking international financing are selected and their producers are invited to come to Lille to pitch their series to an audience of key industry decision-makers (producers, broadcasters, financiers, etc.), which runs March 22-24.

One of the projects selected is The Liberties, which chronicles the emerging fight for social justice in a city that is under the control of the British Empire - Dublin, 1815. 

Created by Pierce Ryan (Black ’47), Gary Duggan, and Brian Durnin, The Liberties is an Irish/Belgium co-production exec produced by Laura McNicholas for 925 Productions, Cormac Fox for Vico Films, Peter de Maegd for Potemkino, and Brian Durnin for Greenhorn. 

“Series Mania is known in the industry as the place where series begin. It is a gateway to international broadcasters and distributors,” executive producer Laura McNicholas told IFTN. “The Liberties has been developed with the support of Screen Ireland and RTE with John Yorke (Wolf Hall) consulting and now with our selection for the Co Pro Pitching Sessions, we have the perfect platform in terms of connecting with the global market/audience.”

For this 2022 edition, 15 projects have been selected from 330 applications received from 56 countries. One project will also be presented out of competition as part of a partnership with the Berlinale Co-Pro Series. A prize of 50,000 euros is given to the best project chosen by a professional jury. The pitching sessions are followed by individual meetings with broadcasters, distributors, producers, public and private funds.

The Liberties picks up in the aftermath of the bloodshed seen during the 1798 Rebellion, when the Irish Parliament has been abolished and Dublin is a city divided. Tensions between the ruling elite and the working class are at fever pitch. Rival sectarian gangs wage bloody battles for supremacy in the streets.

Story threads are led by the fight for personal freedom by the show's three leads - a young Irish boxer who forms an unlikely partnership with rebellious Irish gentry siblings and segues into a political awakening in the movement for equality that is led by Daniel O’Connell. 

In a statement from Brian Durnin, Pierce Ryan, Gary Duggan and Laura McNicholas, the creative team said: “As Dubliners, we love history and we love radical, exciting storytelling, so it made sense to meld these two parts together to make The Liberties. An authentic Dublin set story that will connect with a global audience - this is period drama with a modern edge. 

“It is a story about the fight for equality, revenge, gender, boxing, love, class, religion, sex and colonialism - these threads combine in a thought provoking series that ultimately will ask its audience what kind of world do you want to live in?”

Previously pegged as a crossover between Gangs of New York and Peaky Blinders, The Liberties timing seems impeccable as the BBC juggernaut fronted by Cillian Murphy began its final season this week.

“Like Peaky Blinders our story is also highly character focused and I love their energetic approach to modern storytelling,” co-creator Brian Durnin told IFTN.

“The Liberties is distinct - it's a rollercoaster ride through a period in Dublin, which has not really been documented on screen,” added Durnin. “Each of these characters are fighting for their lives in a city where tensions are on a knife edge. It's a local story that will resonate on a global scale and given what is going on in the world right now, this story seems as relevant as ever.”

The Jury for this year’s Co-Pro Pitching Sessions is Antony Root (President) (UK) EVP, Head of Original Production, WarnerMedia EMEA, WarnerMedia; Daniele Cesarano (Italy) Head of Drama, RTI Mediaset Group; Yaël Fogiel (France) Producer, co-founder and co-director, Les Films du Poisson; Noel Hedges (UK) EVP Acquisitions, eOne; and Yi Qiao (Germany) Director, ZDFE.drama, ZDF Enterprises.

The full list of selected projects can be seen below:

  • A BOY DISAPPEARS – 6 x 50’ – Denmark
    Produced by Live Hide for Nimbus Film.
    Written by Julie Budtz Sørensen.
  • DEAD END – 6 x 50’ – Belgium
    Produced by Dimitri Verbeeck and Bert Hamelinck for CAVIAR.
    Created by Malin-Sarah Gozin (creator/main writer/showrunner).
    Written by Malin-Sarah Gozin, Brett Baer and Dave Finkel.
  • DETECTIVE TOURÉ – 8 x 50 min –  Spain
    Produced by Mariela Besuievsky and Elena Bort for Tornasol and DeAPlaneta.
    Written by David Pérez Sañudo, Carlos Vila.
    Based on the books “The Detective Touré Saga” by Jon Arretxe.
  • HORMONES – 6 x 52’ – France
    Produced by Alex Berger for TOP-The Oligarchs Productions and Benjamin Elalouf for Moonshaker.
    Created by Noé Debré and Joachim Schnerf.
  • ISLAND OF YOUTH – 8 x 50′ – Germany
    Produced by Daniel Hetzer for Turbine Studios.
    Written by Jon Atli Jonasson.
  • LITTLE HANDS – 6 x 52′ – France
    Produced by Caroline Adrian for Delante Productions.
    Written by Lou Zidi, Alexandra Bialy.
  • PARADYS – 8 x 48′ – South Africa
    Produced by Nimrod Geva for Quizzical Pictures and Avi Nir (Executive Producer) for Keshet International.
    Created by Darrel Bristow-Bovey and Anton Visser.
    Written by Darrel Bristow-Bovey.
  • RANK – 10 x 30’ – Ireland, France & Australia
    Produced by Matthew Gledhill and Ailish McElmeel for Wheelhouse Productions and Deadpan Pictures.
    Written by Brendan Berne, Dillon Mapletoft and Oliver Taylor.
  • SALVATION – 7 x 50′ –  Hungary
    Produced by Viktoria Petranyi for Proton Cinema.
    Written by Aniko Mangold.
  • THE ACCIDENT – 8 x 30’ – Israel
    Produced by Maya Fischer for Green Productions.
    Written by Matan Yair.
  • THE CUCKOO TREATMENT – 8 x 60′ – Canada
    Produced by Jennifer Kawaja (executive producer) for Sienna Films (a Sphere Media Company).
    Created and written by Kris Bertin and Naben Ruthnum.
  • THE IMPOSSIBLE SHE – 8 x 50′ – Italy
    Produced by Domenico Procacci and Laura Paolucci for FANDANGO SPA.
    Created by Simone Manetti, Federica Pontremoli and Lorenzo Sportiello.
  • THE LIBERTIES – 6 x 55′ –  Ireland, Belgium
    Produced by Laura McNicholas, Peter De Maegd, Cormac Fox, Brian Durnin for 925 Productions, Vico Films, Potemkino and Greenhorn Films. 
    Written by Gary Duggan, Brian Durnin, Pierce Ryan.
  • THE MARS PROJECT – 8 x 52’ – Germany, France
    Produced by Gregory Strouk and Henning Windelband for WILD BUNCH and youngfilms GmbH & Co.KG.
    Written by Maxime Crupaux.
    Directed by Patrick Tatopoulos.
    Based on the novels by Andreas Eschbach.
  • THE WINTER PACK – 6 x 45′ – Sweden
    Produced by Moa Westeson, Anni Fernandez and Cindy Hanson for Nevis Productions.
    Written by Christoffer Örnfelt.
    Directed by Charlotte Brändström.
  • THE REPORT – 6 x 60’ – Germany
    Produced by Michael Weber, Viola Fügen, Tobias Pausinger  (development producer), Ben von Rönne (co-producer) for Match Factory Productions.
    (project out of competition, in partnership with the CoPro Series of Berlinale)




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