24 – CO-PRODUCTION IN THE MAKING

I am working on the book trailer for “Shipwrecked Lives” so I will be ready to do a promotional pitch in early January. I have had to delay a lot of things in the fall due to illness and the need to shop my previous novel “An Absolute Secret” to television producers.

I’ve now completed a major revision of my screenplay for “An Absolute Secret” which has gone from six one-hour episodes to nine one-hour episodes. The spy thriller is attracting a good deal of interest in the Canadian production community. I wrote the novel based on my original script which was around 250 pages. The novel was some 373 pages so I had to add several characters and a lot of action. The screenplay is now 393 pages, approx. 9 x 44 pages (one minute of screen time per page). Six episodes is always a bit short for broadcasters who often prefer eight or more episodes in the first season, so going to nine episodes is a good move.

The mini-series will be a John le Carré style spy thriller set in wartime Stockholm with its centuries-old architecture. The series is perfect for an international coproduction with potential partners in Sweden, Finland, the UK/Ireland, and Canada. It is very rare to find a story that works this well for everyone.

I expect the budget will be around C$27 million or C$3 million per episode so it is a big adventure for me as a writer. The plan is to find a big name Swedish director to help make the broadcast presales in Sweden and Finland. Already Beta in Germany and E1 have shown interest in the series as potential distributors.

The Canadian minority production partner will probably shoot  the German concentration camp scenes that appear in the ‘White Buses’ adventure portion of the script. A large portion of these scenes could be shot in a large studio in Toronto or Montreal. The Swedish Red Cross under Folke Bernadotte organized the release of Scandinavian prisoners from the camps in the last few months of the war. Of course, the Stockholm scenes (interiors and exteriors) will be shot in Sweden and some of the exterior scenes in Finland.

Have you heard of Folke Bernadotte before? Feel free to answer in the comments!

Scandinavian dramas are hot today in Europe and command large budgets and Canada is well known for its capacity to package co-pros. So hopefully this project will soon be up and running.

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