News round-up: ABC adapts ‘Emergency Call’ for US; France-Israel co-writing residency opens; US-China science co-pro prepped for distribution

Emergency Call

ABC orders US version of ‘Emergency Call’ format

US network ABC has announced a new unscripted series, following the work of emergency call-takers, to be hosted by actor Luke Wilson and based upon a Belgian format.

The hour-long series Emergency Call will document the first few minutes of emergencies as told from the perspective of those people who are the first point of contact on the phone. Rather than following the police, firefighters of medical services, the show will instead follow the moments leading up to their arrival and reveal some of the shocking, and even humorous, stories from 911 call centres.

The series is being produced by 8Hours Television and will premiere on ABC on 28 September.

The Emergency Call format was originally created by De Chinezen for Belgium broadcaster VRT Eén, the Flemish public channel. Lineup Industries handles global distribution for the series which has already been made locally in Belgium (both Flemish and French), Australia, Germany, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland.  It has also been optioned in Italy, Spain, Japan, LatAm, Turkey, Israel, and the UK.

Wilson, who hosts the US version, commented: “911 call takers don’t just save people; they calm and console people until they are safe. They are the first link in the chain of first responders. For that, I feel very lucky to be a part of this project.”

Laurence Herszberg

France-Israel co-writing residency open for applications

Applications for the second annual drama co-writing residency between France and Israel are now being received.

The program was initiated by the CNC (Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image animée) in France and the GMFF (Gesher Multicultural Film Fund) in Israel, in co-operation with Series Mania, the Israeli Scriptwriters Guild, The Israeli Producers Association and the French Embassy in Israel.

With a submission deadline of 5 October, the Drama Series Co-Writing Residency will select six projects to take part, with each one carried by a team composed by at least two screenwriters, one from Israel and one from France. A maximum of 12 screenwriters in total will participate in the residency.

The selected participants will take part in two workshops, one in France and one in Israel, and the teams will have approximately six to co-write the full bible of a fiction series. During this period, the selected teams will be trained by experienced tutors with whom they will have regular online exchanges and they will have the opportunity to meet the tutors during the two workshops.

“As international collaboration becomes increasingly important in the global TV market, the number of co-productions between our two countries is likely to rise”, commented Laurence Herszberg, founder and general director of Series Mania. “More than ever, we need to support emerging talent in France and Israel and foster transnational initiatives that will enhance the quality of television series.”

Forging The Future

US-China science co-pro prepped for distribution

A new science series co-produced by US prodco Al Roker Entertainment and Chinese tech and real estate enterprise Seedland Group is being prepped for distribution.

The six-part Forging The Future is being distributed by Sideways Film and explores a variety of cutting-edge topics ranging from the microorganisms that live in or on the human body, to the requirements to sustain human life off-Earth.

This is the first documentary television production released by Seedland Group, the Chinese business with roots in real estate development, that is expanding into new sectors.

Liang Zhang, the chairman of Seedland Group, commented: “Since the vision of Seedland is to enable better life with technology, we are devoted to the exploration of prospective scientific and technological development. We also look forward to having more people interested in these breakthroughs and inspired to create a better future.”

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