RTÉ, Arte & APT set up first coproduced doc

Factual-headerHugh Bonneville 1st century tomb portraitIrish broadcaster RTÉ is set to pair with European pubcaster Arte and American Public Television (APT) to coproduce new doc Countdown to Calvary.

The 1x60mins doc is a special for Easter 2018 and will be presented by Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville. He travels to Jerusalem to tell the story of the week that changed the world – the last six days of Jesus’ life.

Shot in 4K and in the style of a political thriller, the doc will feature a range of CGI and graphics and insights from leading experts.

Coproducer APT will also retain US public broadcasting rights, distributing the doc under the title Jesus – Countdown to Calvary.

Outside the US, RTÉ Programme Sales will distribute the doc, which launches internationally at MIPCOM 2017 with distributor TVCO creating and marketing a version for Italian-speaking territories.

Arte is to broadcast versions in French and German, with further translations to follow in Spanish and Polish on their non-linear digital platform,

Bonneville said: “This is a place where history and faith come together. Whether you are a person of faith or of none, you cannot escape the fact that the last six days of this man’s life, and his death, changed the world.

“I’m not going to chart the religion that grew out of these events. I’m interested in the events themselves: what happened in that final week of Jesus’ life, how he died, why he died and who killed him.”

In November 2016, RTÉ and Arte signed a new agreement that will see Irish cultural content brought to international audiences.

Both parties pledged to contribute a minimum of €250,000 (US$295,000) per annum for an initial period of two years to the development of co-productions in 2017 and 2018, particularly in the fields of documentary, arts, culture, factual, history and natural history.