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The sixth Canal+ Series Lab kicks off in Poland


- The training programme for series scriptwriters, directors and producers boasts an international batch of participants

The sixth Canal+ Series Lab kicks off in Poland
Maciej Musiał in the series Clangor (© Karolina Grabowska)

Polish cinemas are officially closed at least until 18 January, but it’s highly unlikely that they will open their doors to the general public any time soon. As the VoD audience keeps on growing, broadcasters such as Canal+ are working on developing and producing fresh, local content. The Polish branch of the international juggernaut is launching the sixth edition of the Canal+ Series Lab, a training programme for European screenwriters, directors and producers who are working on series. The digital starting pistol will be fired on 11 January for four carefully selected projects. They are: Licence for a Miracle (Licencja na cud), written by Arkadiusz Antosz, and Sister Jane (Siostra Jane) by Marcin Lipowski, both from Poland; Gene Pool by Laura Lambert and Blanche Bigot, from France; and The Guardian by Mihaly Schwechtje and Genoveva Petrovits, from Hungary.

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The organisers of the Canal+ Series Lab were on the lookout for domestic and foreign ideas for series that would show promise for a potential co-production with Poland. The international character of the programme is amplified by the partnership with international production house and distributor StudioCanal TV, M7 Group, a pay-TV operator (which is part of StudioCanal TV), and Polish theatrical distributor Kino Świat. The series selected for the lab are intended to be produced in collaboration with these partners.

The projects participating in the Canal+ Series Lab were chosen in collaboration with Matthieu Darras, the workshop’s main tutor, who is also the creator and director of development programmes First Cut Lab, the Pop Up Film Residency and the Full Circle Lab. He was aided by a team of experts, who will also work on the lab – producers and script consultants Naomi Levari and Mmbatho Kau.

“We received 180 projects – 110 from Poland and 70 from abroad,” says Anna Różalska, director of original and co-productions at Canal+ Poland. “Among them, there were many interesting and varied projects of different genres – political fiction, horrors, documentaries, dramas, comedies and science fiction. Now it’s time to start developing the chosen projects, with established Polish producers Leszek Bodzak, Piotr Dzięcioł and Łukasz Dzięcioł on board as advisors,” she adds. All of them have already worked with Canal+, so they can share their experience in that respect, too: Bodzak’s Aurum Film (run together with Aneta Hickinbotham) produced The King of Warsaw (Król), a period drama set in 1930s Warsaw, which was broadcast in November and December 2020, while Piotr and Łukasz Dzięcioł worked on The Raven and Clangor – the latter series having been developed during the first edition of the Canal+ Series Lab.

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