September 16, 2017
In connection with the call for TV Launch 2018 we spoke to MIDPOINT partner Tereza Polachová, who has since 2010 been Executive Producer at HBO Europe, of among others the original TV series 'Burning Bush' and 'Wasteland'.
As Head of Original production in the CZ/SK and responsible for the development and production of HBO features, series and documentaries in these territories, what are you looking for in a script or in the initial pitch?
As HBO produces different genres it is always important for me if the text I'm reading (whether it is a synopsis, a set up of the series, or a pilot script) is appealing and seducing me to read more – sparkling an interest and making me eager to learn more.
What do you see as the main challenge for European TV drama today? Are there obvious obstacles ahead, or is TV drama still riding on a wave of success?
I think it is definitively to generate new ideas. You can see that even the big players play it safe and often go for a re-make of either once successful films or series or buying formats. Finding new original content is really difficult nowadays.
Do you see a tendency towards a certain type of stories these days, when you look at the European TV series landscape?
There is no strong trend at the moment. I think that Central and Eastern Europe has still been trapped in the post Scandi noir time. The core of many TV channels productions lies within the crime series.
Are you looking for series with episodic structure or ongoing narratives and arches?
We look for both. Both do have a place on HBO's channels.
Are you looking mainly for contemporary stories or also period pieces?
We are looking for great stories no matter if contemporary or period.
How about supernatural and sci-fi pitches and scripts?
I believe it is a new trend to come. It will take a while before it arrives to CZ, but on international forums you can already smell that supernatural/sci-fi and ecological/post-apocalyptic genres might be the new world trend.
You have executively produced 'Burning Bush', 'Wasteland', and recently 'Head over Heels' season I and II – a historical drama, a whodunit crime thriller set in the country side, and a romantic ensemble drama in downtown Prague. What was it that turned you on by these projects respectively?
The script. Speaking of 'Burning Bush' I still clearly remember the exact date and moment when I read the script for the first time. I immediately knew it was the best script I have read so far. I was completely overwhelmed, says Polachová and continues,
Speaking of 'Wasteland' I really liked the synopsis when I read it for the first time, but it was different compared to 'Burning Bush' – this time I knew the author and the producers, and we agreed before that we wanted to collaborate on the story together. 'Head over Heels' is the adaptation of a format. We were seeking for some lighter genre and we found this show. It was not easy to write and produce but I hope the result is enjoyable.
HBO Europe is MIDPOINT TV Launch's official partner, and every year at the end of the 9 month workshop program they hand out the HBO Europe Award to the year's best project.