South Africa-based drama Paradys has been named as the winning project of Series Mania Forum’s annual Co-Pro Pitching Sessions, securing a €50,000 ($55,000) prize.
The show was one of 15 projects selected and pitched on the first day of Series Mania Forum, with Antony Root, EVP & head of original production at WarnerMedia EMEA, leading the professional jury in awarding the prize.
The 8 x 60-minute show is being produced by Reyka-prodco Quizzical Pictures and has been created by Darrel Bristow-Bovey and Anton Visser. Keshet International (KI) came onboard as distributor in February.
The character-driven murder mystery is set in the desert town of Paradys, which looks much like any small rural community in South Africa, except everyone is white. Inspired by a real place, the show explores what happens when two black detectives are sent to investigate a horrific murder in the town.
The show will be shot location in South Africa and is being directed by John Trengove (Manodrome). Quizzical’s Harriet Gavshon, Arrested Industries’ Anthony Kimble, Keshet’s Avi Nir and KI’s Alon Shtruzman are exec producing.
“The jurors were impressed by the wide range and high-quality of the fifteen pitches they watched from 56 different countries,” said Root.
“Each project was considered for its own intrinsic qualities, for its originality for audiences, and for its potential to travel outside its country of origin. The jury’s final decision was unanimous that the award should be given to Paradys from South Africa.
“Although the setting is local, we believe the story, its themes and its characters will also resonate for audiences outside South Africa. The country is well known for the high quality of the international productions that shoot there. To see the same standards applied to a distinctive and ambitious local project will be very exciting.”
Laurence Herszberg, founder & general director of Series Mania, added: “This is the first time a South African drama has won the Best Project Award and we are delighted to be honoring this series which encompasses intriguing locations, complex characters, and timely and relevant issues. I have no doubt this series will soon find the perfect partners.”
The Forum’s Co-Pro Pitching Sessions has previously been a launchpad for series including Keeping Faith (UK), Stella Blomkvist (Iceland), Tabula Rasa (Belgium), Trepalium (France), Warrior (Denmark), Devils (Italy) and The Head (Spain).
Along with Root, the jury included Noel Hedges, EVP of acquisitions at eOne; Germany, Yaël Fogiel, Producer, Co-Founder and Co-Director, Films du Poisson, France, Daniele Cesarano, Head of Drama, RTI Mediaset Group, Italy and Susanne Frank Director, ZDFE.drama, ZDF Enterprises, Germany. Together they had the honor of presenting a check for €50,000 to producer Nimrod Geva for Quizzical Pictures and creator/writer Darrel Bristow-Bovey.