C21 has announced the finalists for the Content Budapest Series Pitch 2023 with 14 projects shortlisted to pitch live at Content Budapest, kicking off the first day of the event on 27 June.
The Content Budapest Series Pitch brings C21’s tried-and-tested pitch format to Central and Eastern Europe, awarding its winner a prize of US$20,000 worth of marketing to support development and pre-sales promotion of the show.
The finalists, from Ukraine, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Israel and Turkey are all established drama creators bidding to attract additional finance and coproduction partners.
The winner will be announced on 28 June at the iconic Boat Party on the river Danube.
LLC Ideas Bank, Ukraine
May, 1901, the body of well-known entrepreneur and advisor to the Minister of Finance in the southern part of the Russian Empire, Oleksiy Alchevsky, is found on the tracks near the St.Petersburg station. A note found on his mutilated body indicated suicide, but rumors began to spread that Alchevsky was murdered, so detective Yanovsky was assigned by the St. Petersburg police to investigate the case to prevent a scandal.
To solve the case, Yanovsky interviewed Alchevsky’s wife, children, and competitors to gather information and compile a psychological profile of the deceased. Alchevsky’s life resembled the story of the American Dream: having no money young Alchevsky travels to Kharkiv, opens a tea shop, successfully conducts business, expanding his appetite for business. He creates the first Credit Society, and from a simple merchant, he becomes a powerful banker and entrepreneur. Neither his humble origins, nor threats, nor competitive struggle prevent him from opening the Land Bank and founding the Metallurgical Society, becoming on par with the famous British industrialist John Hughes, who is engaged in the development of the Donbas minerals. Authorities start to “dig” into Alchevsky’s past, because such success can’t exist without a dark side. And to the delight of all his enemies, it turns out that Alchevsky secretly supports an illegal pro-Ukrainian organization.
During the investigation, Yanovsky discoveres that Alchevsky traveled to Witte, Minister of Finance, to obtain a state order for the supply of railway tracks, but was refused. Several months after his death, all of his enterprises passed into the hands of the relatives of the Minister of Finance – the Riabushynskyi brothers.
The investigation into Alchevsky’s death brought Yanovsky to higher levels of power, but he realized that he would never be able to accuse Alchevsky’s killers because the law did not apply to such people.
Nataliia Yakovleva has been working in the film industry for 16 years. She is the founder of a production company, which produces both documentary and feature content. The premiere of her latest full-length documentary “Ruthenia. Returning of the nation code” was aired simultaneously on the two biggest Ukrainian channels, and has more than 1mln. views on Youtube.
Producer, financial consultant, EWA member. Member of PWA. Agent of cultural diplomacy. Expert of Ukrainian State Film Agency and Ukrainian Cultural Foundation. Producer and partner in Sarke Studio and Production#1.LLC Founder of NGO “UFFI”, focused on gender equality in cinema.
MMC Fiction and Balassa Films, Hungary
If you think Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Freddie Mercury or Michael Jackson are some of the world’s first mega superstars you are wrong. The hysterical massive teenage fandom, the electric performances on stage, the substance abuse, scandalous affairs, the peace and love mentality, and music capable of inciting a revolution is pioneered by Frederick Chopin & Franz Liszt, the true first rock stars in history. These are the guys who started it all!
A genius Polish composer becomes a wanted exile after using his music to incite an uprising against Imperial Russia, and is forced to escape his homeland, promising his dearly beloved to return for her hand as a free man. But when joining forces with a Hungarian virtuoso in search for justice just like him, the lives of the people they love most are endangered when they rise as the world’s first rock stars with the power to demolish the Romanov crown, as their piano becomes the sound of freedom.
This is the journey of Frederic Chopin and Franz Liszt on their quest to change people’s hearts with the power of music.
Having a Degree in Screenwriting and Film Scoring from UCLA, and a Professional Degree in Modern Masterpieces of World Literature from Harvard University, Orvañanos is a Mexican British television writer with more than twelve years of experience in writing dramas for Television. She’s the head writer and creator of Chopin the Series together with the producers Alex Balassa and Marisol Mijares, with whom she is also developing a new documentary short film that follows the remarkable and inspiring life story of a proud Jewish Polish survivor of the Ghetto during WWII. Victoria is currently filming a drama series for Amazon Studios where she collaborated as a Head Writer. In the past, she participated in the development of Dogma, Mexico’s first Supernatural Horror TV series for Televisa, and writing Prime Time Dramas as Head Writer for En Tierras Salvajes and Las Amazonas, in collaboration with Bambú Productions (Velvet, Cable Girls) airing worldwide to great success.
Award-winning Hungarian-Chilean producer and content creator with 25+ years of experience in the entertainment industry. Alex Balassa is well-versed in all aspects of international co-productions for film and television. Nominated for the International Emmy and Latin Grammy. He has contributed to hundreds of projects, with a strong business acumen, passion and commitment for developing meaningful content that reaches
millions of viewers around the world. One of his strengths is bringing together the best talent from different countries, both, in front and behind the camera, to launch projects with a
global reach. He has produced for Netflix, Amazon, Discovery, NatGeo, Televisa Univision,
Sony Pictures, RTVE and HBO. He was four times producer and showrunner of the “Ariel Awards”, the Mexican Academy Awards. Now, he is producing a drama thriller series for Amazon to be release in 2024. Mr. Balassa also has a strong background in business, establishing five production companies in the last two decades, and an investment fund that
contributes capital for meaningful projects in Latin America and Central Europe. As the producer and co-creator of Chopin the Series, he is present this year in Content Budapest to find the ideal commissioning broadcaster for this ambitious and necessary series.
Running in Heels
Colour Space Productions, Lithuania
Women in heels know how to keep secrets. If they can smile through pain, what else are they hiding?
Running in Heels tells a story about four Eastern European women eager to turn their sour lemons into Limoncello. They all arrived in Milan for different reasons: to hide and seek safety, to chase career dreams, to earn more money, and to pursue their happily ever after. As long as their past stays far away in a rear-view mirror, they hold their heads high and don’t look back.
But when their immigrant friend is found murdered under mysterious circumstances, they realize – sometimes “objects in the mirror are closer than they appear”, and even the best Limoncello still tastes like lemons.
Domante Urmonaite and Martynas Mendelis
Domante and Martynas presented their film and TV projects at Content London, MIA Market, Series Mania, Frontieres, Gothenburg, and other events. They have improved their skills at various international training programmes, including Torino Serieslab, Sundance Screenwriters Workshop, Midpoint TV Launch, and Berlinale Talents.
In 2023, TV Series TROLL FARM (produced by Dansu, LRT, Telia Play), written by Domante and Martynas, got picked by BERLINALE EFM (Series Market Selects).
In Series Mania 2023, Domante and Martynas won the METAPITCH contest, organised by Newen Studios, where their VR TV project “Hello” won first place, earning a development deal with NEWEN STUDIOS.
Their previous TV series projects, THE CLOUD and THE BEEHIVE, have been recognized at various pitching forums and competitions. THE CLOUD was selected as one of the top six finalists at the C21 Drama Script Competition (Content London 2019), and was optioned by an Italian studio. THE BEEHIVE was developed at the Torino Series Lab, presented at the Series Mania Co-production Market, and acquired by SKY Italia.
Film UA, Cutbait Productions and Chaotic Neutral Entertainment, Ukraine
A half-hour dark comedy series set in the world of Ukrainian rave culture, the show follows a group of Ukrainian teenagers coming of age during Russian occupation on their journey from innocent ravers to partisan resistance fighters.
A writer and producer based in Los Angeles. Adam began his career writing television in the U.S. that included “Secret Agent Man” (UPN), “Los Luchadores” (Fox), “Afterworld” (Sony/Syfy), and feature film projects and pilots for Alcon Entertainment, Sony Pictures Television, Relativity Media & John Woo’s Lion Rock Entertainment among others. He has worked on international projects, including “TrustWHO” (Arte & ZDF) and “Social Media Kills” (National Film Board of Canada). He recently served as consulting producer on the Ukrainian series “Routes of Destiny” (1+1) and has continued to work in Ukraine with the Pitch UA program to develop and produce over 20 TV series and films. Adam also worked on digital and XR projects for Disney, Sony, Skydance Media, Torino Film Lab, Microsoft, and Activision. And he also served as story editor for Steven Spielberg on his video game project for Electronic Arts. Currently, Adam is executive producing the TV series “Captain Ukraine: Braveland,” a fantasy-action show based on events around the recent Russian invasion.
The writer, director and showrunner of the sitcom Hromada for NLO-TV. Serhiy has also served as a screenwriter for the films DZIDZIO and VALENTINE’S NIGHT and as a writer for comedies and dramas for Novy Channel, TET, and 1+1 in Ukraine and TNT, Channel One, REN-TV, and STS in Russia. He also wrote on SERVANT OF THE PEOPLE for 1+1 (Ukraine), INTERNY, Daddy’s Daughters and the award winning MY WONDERFUL NANNY (adaption of The Nanny) for STS (Russia). He was the playwright and director of the musical ONCE UPON A TIME IN ITALY at St. Petersburg Musical Hall. Currently, he is developing new serial projects for Star Light Media channels as a showrunner.
Oble Studios and AMC Eastern Europe, Hungary
It takes a woman to be the Man.
Set in the early decades of the 20th century on the cursed planes of Central Europe, our limited series is based on a legendary true story. As a radical response to the physical abuse by frustrated men against women, our hero, the Piperman, decides to disguise herself as a man. Victoria goes on a killing spree and hangs the husbands of oppressed women of the village. Is she a proto-feminist superhero or a despicable murderer? Or maybe both?
1919 – The men of Cursewick had returned from the battlefields, traumatized and drinking heavily, to reassume their rule of the village and their wives. However, there’s a new phenomenon in response to this age-old oppression, a serial killer and outlaw known as the Piperman.
Mysterious hangings become more numerous around Cursewick. They say that if your suffering at the hands of an abusive husband becomes unbearable, the Piperman will come to your aid for a modest fee. But what moves the Piperman? Does the outlaw have more in common with the women of Cursewick than they thought?
Csaba Toth, Creative Producer – AMC Networks
Originally the regional general counsel for the company, Csaba is now responsible for original scripted programming at AMC Networks International Central Europe. He also heads the content development division of Scripted Productions – a leading Hungarian television production company. Csaba is a member of the board at SMILE Foundation for the Children and is a proud collaborator of the acquisition committee at Center Pompidou in Paris, France. He teaches television studies at the Metropolitan University Budapest.
Lydia Kali, Creative Producer – Oble Studios
Lydia Kali started her career in the media industry in an innovative start up company, Syn.TV, specialized in the syndication of content for local TV channels. In 2010, she joined the communication group HAVAS, to handle the international distribution of dramas and factual content, and to develop brand content activities. In 2015, Lydia founded her own distribution and production company, #Edith Paris, in collaboration with the French digital platform, www.spicee.com. Then she sold #Edith Paris in 2019, and worked for ARTE for 2 years. She is now a creative producer at Oble, where she is producing a high end period drama show for a streamer, and developing a slate of 10 projects of drama series.
Boring as Hell
Ausma Media, Latvia
The parents of Christina (16) and Mick (8) have sent them to spend the summer with their grandma, in a place, as Christina would say, “at the edge of the world without even H&M”. Mick is excited that he might again become closer with his sister, but Christina, who has to read 10 books in this summer to get to the 10th grade, is devastated. From the most popular girl in class she has become a “nothing”, she has been exiled to the Kingdom of Boredom, and hasn’t read a book since… her childhood!
Grandma’s home is lovely and boring enough for the siblings to accept in their midst the local “weirdo” Joe (15) who is always trying to find some mystery or crime to solve in this village where nothing ever happens. At least that is what they thought… When Christina, bored to the point of even considering picking up a book, together with Mick finds the local abandoned library, it turns out that the books are indeed a gate to the fantasy world – literally so! Each book they find opens a door to a world where everything is possible: they could meet a vampire with toothache, a mermaid considering taking boxing lessons to fight off annoying suitors, or a princess who is unaware that she could attract the prince’s attention without pretending to be a fool…
In these missions, Christina, Mick and Joe are joined by an unbelievably cute fluffball everybody takes for a puppy. However, it soon turns out that it’s a baby sumpurnis, a mythical creature who can show his three-foot fangs! Sally, Joe’s trusty hen, doesn’t like this helper at all… But if these natural enemies can become friends, maybe Christina and Rūdis too will become best friends!
Marta Selecka is a TV personality, director and entrepreneur. She studied Culture Management at the Latvian Academy of Culture and Communication Science at the University of Latvia. Marta is a PhD candidate in Communication Science.
5 years ago she founded the children’s brand “Tutas lietas” and the production company “Ausma Media”, which deals with publishing, organising concerts and producing TV content for children. Currently Marta is featured in the public media as a presenter of the programmes, literature programme “Literatūre”, business show “Tava darīšana” and discovery programme “Te!” She is always ready to take on new challenges and create new TV content.
Marta is passionate about creativity in all fields, entrepreneurship and travel, she reads a lot and usually says Yes to everything!
Ilze Lagzdiņa Amândio
Ilze is an active producer and an editor. She has graduated Business Management in Riga Technical University and later studied Documentary filmmaking in Tallinn. Now living in Portugal and producing Portuguese version of famous Latvian kids show “Tutas Lietas”.
Passionate about Latvian summers, she manages her life between two countries, Latvia and Portugal.
Starlight Media, Ukraine
Ukrainian soldier Victor Khyzhnyak has to sell himself into slavery to rescue his sister Zhanna from modern-day human traders HUB, located somewhere in Estonia. When illegally passing the border of Poland, he is captured by Ukrainian officer Shylika, who is determined to combat human and weapon trafficking.
Khyzhnyak makes a deal with Shylika and gets undercover curated by international police team from Ukraine, Croatia and Estonia.
The slave trader’s HUB is run by Goran Mindic, Serbian origin international mafia boss behind the mask of a philanthropist. His personal passion are the bare-knuckle tournaments, which he calls Gladiators’ fights. Mindic personally chooses Victor for being a Gladiator.
Khyzhnyak’s sister was put to brothel here, but thanks to her boyfriend Horheo manages to become a nurse. Victor’s first escape plan fails. Also, due to Zhanna’s refuse to escape with the brother, who once abandoned her in trouble. Victors needs to gain her trust back, but unwillingly defeats Zhanna’s boyfriend Horheo in the octagon and becomes senior gladiators instead of him.
Then he discovers that the Gladiator fights are a source of fighters and provocateurs for political riot tasks. To expose this criminal chain Khyzhnyak needs to gain the trust of Mindic and become a full member of his gang. He frames one of his Gladiator fellows and kills another, who puts his credibility in question. As Mindic’s confidence in him grows, Khyzhnyak almost mimics this world for a while…
One day Khyzhnyak gets a new task and understands, that’s a one-way ticket. Disguised as police officers they are to fire on crowd in a Balkan country. Khyzhnyak rallies his fellow gladiators and they incite a riot. But the forces are unequal, and only when the police, led by his curators, arrives, the heroes manage to neutralize the gang, however, Mindic escapes capture.
Iryna Khranovska is an experienced media manager, producer, and screenwriter with over 17 years of expertise in the industry. Since 2019, Iryna Khranovska has been the Head of Scripted Production Department at the ICTV Channel, a part of Starlightmedia, one of the biggest Ukrainian broadcaster. She shapes content strategy, oversees TV series in-house development and production, and collaborates with independent productions. Iryna’s expertise spans diverse genres, including detective stories, action-packed narratives, spy thrillers, war dramas, comedies, and adventures.
As part of ICTV’s co-pro strategy, it is the ambition to make high quality drama with international appeal and potential. Prior to being Head of Scripted Production Department, she’s worked as a creative producer at ICTV Channel for 3 years and as 1st AD, and film editor on over 12 projects for 10 years in Ukraine. This extensive experience has enriched her storytelling abilities and deepened her understanding of the production process.
Film.UA and Drugi Plan, Hungary
Single father ZOLTAN VANDOR (33) would do anything to keep his six years old son, SAMU safe from all harm. But shortly after the death of his own estranged father, Zoltan starts succumbing to dreadful visions of turning into an actual monster, and harm his own son. He has no other choice but to accept the proposition of a strange therapist, DR. VERA FRANK (42), who offers to enroll him in her experimental therapy, RADICAL FAMILY CONSTELLATIONS. During this therapy, Zoltan can try to find the root of his own “curse”, a.k.a. family traumas by physically experiencing his despised ancestors’ traumas in mankind’s collective subconscious, The Abyss. To find answers. To make the monsters disappear for good. There is only one problem: Zoltan spent a lifetime trying to distance himself from his toxic family and their issues. Can he overcome his resentment, confront and even connect with his family members, and stop the “curse” from repeating? Can he defeat the monsters? Or is he doomed for good?
In each episode, Zoltan opens a door to a distinct historical period to meet a specific relative. This relative in turn recalls a dramatic event, which is usually related to a local myth/tale to account for their mysterious unresolved trauma.
All the relatives live(d) in territories which were once a part of Hungary, but since the Trianon treaty after the first world war, were annexed and linked to neighboring countries (Slovakia, Serbia, Ukraine, Croatia, Romania and Austria). The monsters they cope with are all rooted in the “host countries” mythology, almost as if symbolizing the relatives own fear of “otherness”, and pushing their own mistakes on some externalized, strange creature, rooted in what they are terrified of: an identity they are not part of.
Judit Anna Banhazi
Judit Banhazi is a freelance screenwriter and creative producer.
She’s the graduate of both Serial Eyes and Midpoint TV Launch programs. As a screenwriter, she has a long-standing passion for character driven shows, stories of dysfunctional families, and genre shows (especially thriller, horror, sci-fi and supernatural) in particular.
She’s been developing tv shows for Gaumont, Audible, Constantin film, Moloko Film, Big Window Productions, Kwai, Netflix, Starzplay, France2, and RTL, including OUIJA (created by Thomas Bourguignon and Jörg Winger), releasing this year. Amongst other projects, she is currently developing a sci-fi show with Academy Award winner Volker Engel (Uncharted Territory) and Hansjoerg Thurn, and a psychological thriller with showrunner Béla Bagota (director of the project THE BORDER) and co-writer Pierre Puget, which recently got awarded the CNC COCO-I Grant.
She has a substantial experience in film and tv production, having worked on a dozen feature films and tv series (such as The Martian by Ridley Scott or Tyrant for FX) and countless high-end commercials. She has a keen interest on pursuing co-productions which can help showcasing Central Eastern European stories not only to a strong regional but also an extended international community – THE BORDER, which she’s been pursuing with a dedicated team, underlines this pronounced effort.
May Productions, Turkey
Set in 1839, the Dissection follows the inconceivable crimes committed in the Ottoman Empire from the perspectives of two incompatible characters: an Austrian modernist autopsy doctor and an Ottoman psychic police sergeant.
Mehmet Bülent Altioklar
Seyfettin Tokmak was born in 1978 in Elazig. He studied Turkish Language and Literature at 19 Mayıs University and left to study cinema before completing his education. He completed his undergraduate education with scholarship at Yeditepe University Cinema-TV Department and took a master degree at Bilgi University Cinema TV Master’s Department. His thesis was titled “Simple Narrative in Cinema” under the supervision of acclaimed Turkish director Derviş Zaim. He has produced and directed award-winning short films. In addition to writing cinema articles in various cinema magazines, he also worked as assistant director, editor, production manager and cinematographer in feature film projects together with various local and foreign directors. Tokmak’s first feature film is called “Broken Mussels” and was released in June 2012.
United Heroes, Ukraine
Odin’s Eye is an epic 8 x 45-minute live-action drama/horror series which explores the brutal and treacherous world of 9th century Vikings, fused together with a survivalist zombie element as the most fearsome raiders in human history find themselves on the receiving end of an invasion by a terrifying horde of the undead. Odin’s Eye is ‘Vikings’ meets ‘Kingdom’.
As the introduction of Christianity clashes with a Viking clan’s Old Norse ideals, captivating drama drives the main story as power-hungry characters scheme and murder, dynasties collide, blood spills, legends are born and underdogs become heroes; all accompanied by a growing sense of dread and terror as an unstoppable ‘Army of the Dead’ – thought to be the mythical Draugrs – raises the stakes, provoking horrific chaos and ferocious battles in an already unforgiving and violent world.
But what is driving this army of Draugrs, where did they come from, and most importantly, can they be stopped…?
Olesov is an award winning Ukrainian producer, writer, director, music composer and media manager. Has more than 20-year of working experience in media and content production business. He is also a member of European Film Academy, Ukrainian Film Academy, Visual Effects Society, International Game Developer Association and Ukrainian Television Academy. Was twice nominated for VES Awards and won Teletriumph award. Egor Olesov is a producer of films such as “Mr.Jones” (directed by Agnieszka Holland), “The Battle for Sevastopol”, “Pulse”, “The Stronghold”, animated features “Mavka.The Forest Song”, “The Stolen Princess” and other projects.
JD began his decade-long career by pioneering screen and music talent representation in the European markets. His company successfully provided talent for Eastern European TV, Feature Film and TV commercial projects many years in a row.
Seeing opportunity in the thriving world of Visual Effects, he partnered up with major VFX/Animation companies that nowadays connect Film/TV Studios a well as independent producers with 300 top-of-the-line visual effects artists in Eastern Europe and Asia.
Starting from 2008 JD worked on 100+ feature films and TV projects including Last Knight, Cooties, Urge, Dog eat Dog, Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back, A Thousand Faces of Dunjia, Getaway, The Lords of Salem.
Starting from 2017 JD began his international producer’s career working on three key markets in Northern and Southern America, Europe and Asia.
JD co-owns and runs Eastern European entertainment magazine Cut Insight.
Proton Cinema, Hungary
Rumbarumbamm is a dramedy series in which the 35 years old, sarcastic writer, Ágota, has to decide whether or not she would like to keep her unwanted pregnancy during the course of 8 weeks. During this period the atypical millennial must face the unreflected chaos that served as her life to this point and besides the pregnancy, she also has to decide whether she’s ready to face her past, her present, and generally herself. During the 8 episodes, not only the future of the woman yearning to become a writer is at stake, but the reappearance of a long-lost love also has a defining effect on her life. Ágota recounts the memories of the past and the dilemmas of the present in her edgy blog, narrating the series of events with her most intimate thoughts.
The series continues the traditions started by series like Girls and Fleabag, addressing questions that affect the main character’s generation – such notions as late transition into young adulthood, motherhood, career and transgenerational traumas – using liberating and sometimes absurd humour through the series of dramatic events. The main characters of the series deliberately represent differing standpoints on family vs. career, morals, religion, children and on human relations in general. Familiar and not so everyday situations follow another, while we, hand-in-hand with the main character try to figure out how we’re “supposed to live”.
Ágota Benedek is a 36 year old Budapest based screenwriter/writer. Her portfolio includes literary fiction, TV series, films and commercials. She notes Garbage Theory, a quirky feature film as a screenwriter. She wrote her first hit book Rumbarumbamm during the pandemic, and the recently published second book I masturbate standing up in the crossfire of the continuous misfortunes befalling humanity.
Ágota explores deep current political and women’s topics with divisive, entertaining, provocative and thought-provoking humor and style, no wonder her books topped the charts for several weeks, then got optioned for a show by Proton Cinema.
She is tall and has a dog.
Anna has been working in the Hungarian Film Industry for almost 20 years. Her passion has always been to create outstanding and engaging programs with dedicated talents. Her career escalated when she joined HBO Europe Original Production department in 2013. For more than a decade she has produced many Hungarian TV Series, bothformats and originals, discovered new talented Actors, Directors, and Creative crew members. She has also contributed to many awarded documentaries like Ultra, Return to Epipo and Divas. As an independent producer she joined forces with Proton Cinema/ Viktoria Petranyi in March 2023 to develop original TV series by Hungarian talents forInternational audiences.
Babyland is much more than a surrogacy clinic. It is a desire, a hope, and dream, it is life itself. And the journey to fulfill these hopes and dreams is the essence of our story. How far would one go to have a child? Not a simple question. But when war is raging and an actual anti-life movement is in act, the quest for a safe and joyous birth can become a life or death struggle. Natasha is at the center of all this. And when the bombs no longer fall and the war between Russia and Ukraine is over, external and internal forces compel her to face her demons by accepting help from unthinkable source – the Russians. Will she sacrifice everything in the name of the perfect world, which she created and which is her sole shelter, religion and mission.
Martichka Bozhilova, Producer AGITPROP
Producer of AGITPROP, Bulgaria. Her high-end author-driven films have been selected and awarded at Cannes, Berlin, IDFA, Toronto, Sundance, Tribeca, Pusan and many others, and broadcast all over the world. Among her films are: Touch Me Not (Golden Bear Winner, Berlinale), Palace for the People – film (Dok Leipzig, Dok Buster Award) and four-part TV docu series for ARTE, aired on BBC, ARTE, MDR, NHK, SVT etc.; Exemplary Behaviour (Dok Leipzig, Golden Dove), Georgi and the Butterflies (Silver Wolf, IDFA), The Mosquito Problem and other stories (Cannes), Corridor #8 (Berlinale), Omellette (Sundance), The Boy Who Was a King (Toronto), Dad Made Dirty Movies (sold to more than 30 territories). Producer of successful factual TV series for National Geographic and HBO. Producer of Father’s Day high-end drama series for Bulgarian National Television, named Best Drama Series for 2019. Co-producer of the first official drama series co-production in South Eastern Europe – SABRE (in production).
Jury member at numerous prestigious film festivals and lecturer at a number of international documentary workshops. Mentor at European Women’s Audiovisual (EWA) Network. Commissioner at the Re-Act Co-Development and The Malik Bendjelloul Memorial Foundation’s Fund. Member of the European Producer’s Club.
Lukyanenko is a Ukrainian producer with almost 15 years of development and producing, mostly focusing on production of high-end TV dramas. Olesya’s recent credits include the documentary project MEDIA AT WAR, the historical drama THERE WILL BE PEOPLE, the criminal drama HIDE AND SEEK (the break-out Ukrainian TV series selected by MIPTV Drama Buyers’ Summit, Serie Series, MIA, Black Nights FF, Göteborg FF, etc.). Olesya is also currently working on several projects with partners in Canada, France, Bulgaria, Estonia and more.
Magic Film, Lithuania
In the winter of 1991, Lithuania is on the brink of a historical turning point as the national movement prepares for a final showdown with Soviet authorities. Meanwhile, a small group of KGB agents plots to steal and secure documents that would give them political control over the Baltic republic in the event of national sovereignty.
The “COLD” TV series follows five individuals who are connected through personal relationships they are unaware of. The first episode follows Daiva Hoffmann, a German woman with Lithuanian roots, as she journeys to Lithuania to deliver a ransom for her allegedly kidnapped son, Jan, who is working in the Baltics as a foreign journalist. Along the way, her path crosses with Vytas, a 40-year-old Vilnius mafia boss, who is securing his last business deals with Soviet authorities and preparing for the new, capitalist world.
The fourth episode focuses on Popov’s search for the stolen documents and his attempts to keep their disappearance a secret from Moscow. He must recruit Vytas and his mafia for this mission. In the final episode, all the storylines come together as Jan discovers secrets that will change his life and the lives of his family members forever.
The “COLD” TV series is a character-driven, “slow-burning” drama with a multi-layered, linear plot. The motivations and reasons behind the actions of all the characters are revealed in the grand finale.
Born 1975 in Zagreb, Croatia, moved with his family to Germany in 1990 and attended high school in Bremen. After graduation from New York Film Academy, he moved in 1999 to Lisbon, Portugal, where he worked as Editor and 1st Assistant Director, before he started his advertising directing career in year 2002.
Stjepan has developed, produced and directed over 200 commercials on 6 different continents and has won numerous awards.
In 2016 he co-directed a TV Series “The Boys” for Portuguese Television and directed documentaries in Germany, Czech Republic and Serbia, before he got a chance to be co-director and 2nd unit director on Netflix Production “Gloria” in 2020.
Akcijonaite has a long time experience in film exhibition and distribution and has recently returned to production, in her work combining all the experience and tools accumulated during years. Her credits include an associate producer in feature I AM FINE, THANKS (dir. Ernestas Jankauskas, 2021) and producer of several shorts. Currently she is developing a TV series projects with production company MAGIC FILM, several new short films and international co-productions as minor co-producer.