International Co-Productions: Partnerships That Are Taking Center Stage
4 - 4:45 PM
Location: Karlin I, Mezzanine Level

The flow of content between Europe and the U.S. is increasing and co-productions are increasingly taking center stage. Co-productions now figure largely into the growth of international media corporations looking for ways to maximize their investments. NATPE will spotlight the key executive leaders in this space, who will discuss the best practices between European producers, production companies, distributors and broadcasters that enable the perfect co-production to be crafted.

Co-productions between Europe and North America, always a key component of any global business strategy, are rapidly becoming the definitive way for international media corporations to maximize their investments. Partnering between studios, distributors and broadcasters has become a staple of the current entertainment industry economic climate. Not only does this trend show no signs of slowing down, it has also yielded award-winning and highly-rated programming. Shared funding, shared possibilities, shared success and/or failure; co-productions lend themselves to maximizing opportunity while minimizing risk.

Confirmed Moderator:
Stewart Clarke
Editor, TBI Magazine and TBI Vision, Informa Telecoms & Media

Confirmed Speakers:
Claude Chelli
, Producer (VERSAILLES), Capa Drama - Newen Subsidiary
Ben Donald
, Executive Producer, International Drama, BBC Worldwide
Simon Maxwell, Head of International Drama, Channel 4
Anne Mensah, Head of Drama, Sky
Eric Welbers
, International Producer

Speaker Bios 

Claude Chelli

Producer (VERSAILLES)Capa Drama - Newen Subsidiary

Simon MaxwellAfter graduating from MIT (Master of Visual Studies), Claude Chelli became an independant filmmaker, directing numerous award-winning documentaries (Prix Ondas, Fipa, etc). In 1997, he moved on to fiction as Managing Director and Executive Producer of Capa Drama. Since then, he has produced a number of TV movies and series including BRAQUO, International Emmy Award for best drama series in… and more recently VERSAILLES, both series for Canal+. He was named French TV Producer of the Year in 2009.

Stewart Clarke

Editor, TBI Magazine and TBI Vision

Informa Telecoms & Media

Stewart ClarkeStewart is the Editor for TBI Magazine and TBI Vision at Informa Telecoms & Media. His day-to-day responsibilities include editorial control of a range of publications including TV International, TVI Daily and TBI magazine (Television Business International). He also plays an active role in organising several of Informa’s TV-related industry events. He has worked in various guises at the UK-listed company, including reporter, deputy editor and editor, since joining in 2001. Previously, he was a journalist with PJB Publications’ The Regulatory Affairs Journal, compiling a regular European Union-focused news section. Stewart has written news and features for magazines including Campaign in the UK and regularly contributes to a range of titles including AsiaCom, Screen Finance and Cable and Satellite Europe. He has also been interviewed for academic and commercial projects focusing on the international TV business. He graduated from the University of Reading in 1996.

Ben Donald

Executive Producer, International Drama, BBC Worldwide

Ben Donald is the Executive Producer for International Drama at BBC Worldwide, working on a part-time basis. Reporting into Helen Jackson, Chief Content Officer, Ben is responsible for developing and managing international co-productions for drama, taking projects through from concept stage to funding and on to completion.

In this role, Donald works closely with the Global Markets divisions at BBC Worldwide, BBC Drama, BBC Worldwide’s overseas production offices and UK Indie partners, and with the commissioning departments within broadcasters internationally, with a particular focus on Europe.

Donald is also the founder of indie production banner, Cosmopolitan Pictures which works in partnership with Clerkenwell Films and BBC Worldwide. Donald works in conjunction with BBC Worldwide to secure international co-production funding for projects, developing and producing distinctive, ambitious drama for the U.K. and international markets.

Donald has worked for BBC Worldwide since 2001 in a variety of roles including sales & distribution with responsibility for Italy, Spain, Russia and Latin America. Previous international co-production agreements for BBC Worldwide and the BBC brokered by Donald include global hits such as Death in Paradise (with France Televisions), Parade’s End (with HBO and ARTE France), The Spies of Warsaw (with TV Poland and ARTE France), and Zen (with RTI, ZDF and WGBH), The Passing Bells (with TV Poland) and Wolf Hall (with Arte).

Simon Maxwell

Head of International Drama, Channel 4

Simon Maxwell As Head of Drama & Comedy at Red Arrow Entertainment, Simon launched the Red Arrow Group’s UK scripted operation where he specialised in developing and producing drama for the international market and Executive Produced the international thriller Odyssey, picked up as a 13-part series for NBC. Previously Simon was Head of Film & TV at indie Greenroom Entertainment where he ran a slate that included crime drama Rogue for DirecTV and he Executive Produced the BBC Sitcom Off the Hook and the feature film Killing Bono, for which he co-wrote the screenplay. Simon is currently Head of International Drama at Channel 4.

Anne Mensah

Head of Drama, Sky

Anne Mensah was appointed Head of Drama at Sky for its entertainment channels in August 2011. Sky’s drama output includes the critically acclaimed Critical starring Lennie James, Fortitude starring Michael Gambon, Stanley Tucci and Sophie Grabol as well as the recent hit drama The Enfield Haunting starring Timothy Spall.  Upcoming Sky Dramas include The Last Panthers (Samantha Morton, John Hurt and Tahir Rahim) and The Tunnel 2 (both co-productions with Canal+).

Prior to joining Sky, Anne spent 10 years at the BBC where she was latterly Head of Independent Drama as well as Head of Drama for BBC Scotland.  Whilst at the BBC, Anne commissioned and worked with the very best in British drama to produce an impressive array of hits across the BBC channels.  This includes the multi award-winning Wallander starring Kenneth Branangh, Case Histories starring Jason Issacs, Zen starring Rufus Sewell and God on Trial with Stephen Dillane, Dominic Cooper, Stellan Skarsgard and Sir Antony Sher.  Other shows include BAFTA and RTS award winning Bodies as well as Waterloo Road, Single Father, Hattie, Life Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee and Lip Service.

Eric Welbers

International Producer

After studying business at Cologne University, Eric Welbers went on to receive an MBA degree from the IESE business school of Barcelona in 1996. That same year, he took on the post of “International Sales Executive” for Beta Film. At Beta Film, Mr. Welbers was head of Business Development until 2001, managing sales and coproductions to and with Latin America, Italy and Spain. He then left the Kirch Group together with Jan Mojto to help establish Eos Entertainment. Ever since the merger of Eos Entertainment with Beta Film, Eric Welbers has been part of the Beta group’s executive board with multiple functions in the operational levels of the company. Among other things, Eric Welbers is head of Beta’s international distribution, of production and coproduction.


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