Homeland, Tyrant and Dig are just a couple of extremely popular series that the Israeli Keshet launched on the global market. The series that might continue that sequence is the new Croatian series The Paper, which tells the story about a newspaper office and the influences of powerful people and politicians on the media scene. On the New Europe Market in Dubrovnik, which gathers professionals from the global media scene, the producers of the series agreed upon a collaboration with the Israeli Keshet, which bought off the rights for global distribution. That means that The Paper, which truly shows how things are in the media today, could become a global hit. On the occasion of this international success, we spoke with Nebojša Taraba, the producer of The Paper.
We got the opportunity to do a screening of the first episode this June at NEM and that turned out to be a faithful decision, because it is a known fact that important people from the global industry attend NEM. Luckily Keren Shahar from Keshet International was at the screening and she liked it immediately, so we made contact right away and not much longer after NEM we got an offer for distributorship. Along with that, the American Keshet contacted us about the American adaptation, so everything is on the table now.
We just got back from Mipcom in Cannes, where global distribution has started. The interest in The Paper is big and within the next 2-3 weeks we will have a bigger picture of the international distribution. However, according to the reactions at Mipcom, we expect good international revenue.
Absolutely! The drama series Wit Fresh already helped us reach the top 15 this year. When you compare our work with other projects, it is obvious that we don’t fall behind on production standards, so we think that with a little bit of luck and a good concept we can do what the Scandinavians did with their drama production within the last 5-6 years.
They have been the new hot thing for the last 7-8 years. The transition from linear to non-linear television and new digital platforms have substantially increased the need for content, good content. The fact is that a lot of strong names from the film industry have already switched or shall switch to drama series. Steven Soderbergh said he won’t do movies anymore, a lot of producers and even entire studios are turning towards television production. Television production has entered its golden age which will dominate the audiovisual market for a long time.
The series is connected with reality in so far that it has managed to replicate life in a newspaper office. While we were working on the script, some parts of the storyline started to happen in real life, so we had to run away from that, which was a problem. On the other hand, our main topic is a universal, a global problem which journalism, especially the press, is dealing with today. We were shocked when the only opposition newspaper in Hungary has been shut down ten days ago and it is the highest circulation newspaper in the country. When we dug a bit deeper into the story, we realized that that was practically our script. We tried to reveal the mechanisms by which politics, big businesses and even the church within most of Europe try to put the media under their control. The result of all this is an unbelievable increase of political populism across Europe, which has disastrous consequences.