Canal+’s original series come as a varied bunch: Versailles is an English-language period drama, The Returned is a supernatural thriller, and The Last Panthers and The Young Pope are big-budget coproductions with European pay TV cousins. Ouro, the Gallic paycaster’s latest effort, is equally as innovative.
The French-language series has a unique concept at its core, says Julien Leroux, deputy managing director of New Distribution, which is taking the 8x52mins drama internationally ahead of MIPCOM next week.
“It’s a mix of different genres,” he says. “It’s adventure, but also thriller and gangster. That’s what we love about it, and the few buyers have seen it already have said it is a very different to everything else out there.”
Screenwriter and author Fabien Nury is the creator, with Kim Chapiron (Dog Pound, Sheitan) making his TV debut by directing a number of episodes.
Ouro follows a 20-year-old French geology student, who is sent to undertake an internship at a gold mining company in French Guiana in South America. He soon becomes convinced an abandoned mine is filled with gold and worth millions, and partners with the local ‘Godfather of Gold’ to seek out the treasures.
The relationship between the two characters, played by Mathieu Spinosi and Olivier Rabourdin, is a central theme to the series development. “
“The relationship is almost father and son as it develops,” says Leroux. “It’s a bit like Jesse Pinkman and Walter White [in Breaking Bad] – they grow in ways different to what you might expect. The relationship is key to the series.”
Leroux also points to the jungle setting as unique for a western-produced drama. “Visually it is stunning,” he says. “I can’t remember another series shot completely in the jungle, which becomes a character in the story itself. It is gorgeous, but also very oppressive and scary at points.”
Newen is currently exploring the best distribution options for the series, and Leroux says local digital platforms are among those interested. “We see more and more local platforms growing, and we are keen to develop our relationships with them,” he adds. “We’re having discussions.”
Most buyers will get their first chance to see an episode at MIPCOM next week, where a screening is planned for Tuesday, October 18 at 4.30pm. More than 100 acquisitions execs have signed up to attend so far, says Leroux.