Television Business International

HBO pushes further into CEE originals with hire

Scripted-logo-460_2Ana BalentovicHBO Europe is pushing further into original programming in the Central and Eastern Europe region by hiring a new development exec.

Ana Balentovic (pictured) will work within HBO Adria, a subsidiary of HBO Europe operating within the Balkan region, which itself is part of US premium pay TV giant HBO.

The former RTL Televizija and ContentLAB & Factory exec will work on identifying and developing local talent and projects from Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montengro.

Her first task will be attending the Sarajevo Film Festival, where a HBO Europe-sponsored prize will go to the most promising project to emerge from a year-long programme called Midpoint.

HBO Europe first unveiled plans to produce originals from the Adria region in 2016, and announced the production of Marjan Alčevski’s crime drama Uspjeh and Ivan Knežević’s investigative thriller Otok in April this year.

Balentovic will report to HBO Central Europe’s VP of original programming, Johnathan Young, and HBO Europe executive producer of drama development Steve Matthews.

HBO Europe is already active in original production in Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania, with series such as Wahata (The Pack), Umbre and As Po Usi (Head Over Heels) emerging from those territories.

It is also preparing productions in Scandinavia and Spain following a restructure that brought various European bases together under one roof.

“Central Europe is rich in storytelling and talent, and having embedded ourselves in the local industries over the past few years we’re looking forward to the next phase of production in the region,” said Antony Root, executive VP of original programming and production at HBO Europe.

“Ana’s appointment reflects our continued commitment to discovering new and original voices, and our wider ambition to expand the breadth and range of programming across our Central European territories.”