Warner Bros Discovery received the Best Drama Award in the CEE at Nem Zagreb

Warner Bros Discovery received the Best Drama Award in the CEE at Nem Zagreb
After two intense day at NEM Zagreb 2023, rich of presentations of recent TV projects developed within the CEE region,  panel and masterclass, for the first time, the winners of the NEM Awards contest were announced at a Christmas party hosted by Mediavision, Mediatranslations and Pickbox.

The winners of NEM Awards in five different competition categories include:

• Scripted Series: Rene Gallo – Mild Miracles
• Scripted Feature-length film: Mile Božićević – Mothers of Humanity and Daria Stilin – Tied Up
• Documentary Series / Feature-Length Documentary Film: Julia Groszek - Sugarland
• Non-Scripted Entertainment Format: Martichka Bozhilova and Iskra Angelova – Eat a Book
• The Best Drama TV Series in the CEE: Spy / Master – Warner Bros. Discovery

Sanja Božić-Ljubičić, CEO of Pickbox, Mediatranslations, Mediavision and NEM was very pleased with the success of the event and said: this year’s judging has been of the highest quality, with top professionals from Italy, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and other countries outside the CEE region as jurors. We wanted to make sure the judging would be fair to all participants, about 250 in all, in different categories of the contest.”

In Content Showcase, a program showcasing new television projects, proved the strength of the CEE region in creativity and innovation. Marek Solon-Lipiński, Director of International Relations, TVP, introduced a program that featured presentations of the following projects:

"Frontwards": Michal Kollár, Producer and Director, KFS production and Lukáš Sigmund, Writer
• "The Vespiary": Pavel Cherepin, Ukrainian Producer, Director and Creator
• "Winemaker’s Daugther": Sergiu Scobioala, Producer
• "The Lake": Esther Sánchez, Head of Strategy, Grupo Ganga and Oriol Cardús, Cinema and TV Director and Scriptwriter, Grupo Ganga
• BH Telecom: Nina Babić, Associate Expert, BH Telecom

The education options provided at NEM Zagreb have also been acclaimed as educational opportunities of the highest level. As part of the award for the top 3 finalists in each category of NEM Contest, Individual Script Surgery workshops were a two-day event that provided an in-depth analysis of the best projects entered in the contest. There were also two Master Class events, one by Steve Matthews, Scripted Content Executive, Banijay, who discussed the complexities of developing a television series from selling the project to key stages of its production, and the other one by Frank Spotnitz, CEO & Executive Producer, Big Light Productions, who shared knowledge and practical advice on improving scriptwriting skills.

Networking at special events
Co-production Lunch & Forum sponsored by Heart of Europe was an invitation-only event for participants who were invited to take part in the discussion on coproduction between high- and low-production countries.

One of the NEM Zagreb main goals has been to create a platform that would bring together regional talent and international professional experience at specialized mini networking events such as NEM Contest Gathering, also sponsored by HAVC as NEM Contest general sponsor. In the Meeting Room, authors of the 10 best projects from each of the categories of NEM Contest were invited to join members of the contest jury, who could not only share their experience and expert advice but also offer an opportunity to work with them on projects they find interesting for further development.

A breakfast and coffee event hosted by Hrvatska radiotelevizija (HRT) was another networking event popular with the guests.
Telemach provided fast and reliable Wi-Fi so that all participants could be available on-line at all times.

Panel discussions
Panel CEE FTA Originals on the Global Map sponsored by TVP invited the participants to discuss the pros and cons of national television strategies for developing original productions. Here is what Marek Solon-Lipiński, Director of International Relations, TVP, said about joint long-term strategies, partnership, and a consolidated approach to the global market in CEE countries:
"My observation from the European public broadcasting scene is that the main condition for international cooperation is to establish leadership which recognizes its importance and utility. It is also crucial to step out of your comfort zone, redefine your understanding of the audience's needs, and embrace a corporate culture that promotes international projects. The Nordic model, implemented in the Nordvision format, is a perfect example of this kind of culture. This way of thinking must be rooted in long-term strategies since it is impossible to successfully co-produce in improvised "last minute" projects, which are still quite common in our part of Europe."

In her introductory remarks, Martina Petrović, Head, CED MEDIA Office Croatia, talked about the Creative Europe MEDIA initiative before proceeding to host the panel on TV series and Creative Europe MEDIA: Our Success Stories! The discussions at the panel included topics such as challenges faced by small countries whose national language is largely unknown outside the country and the specific production challenges associated with their situation.

Future coproductions between CEE countries and high-production countries was the central theme of the panel High-production Countries and CEE: How Can We Work Together?

The overlap between the gaming and television industries has been growing at an increasing speed. The future developments of the two industries and their symbiotic potential was the central topic at the panel entitled Gaming and TV: A Match Made in Heaven or a Recipe for Disaster? Helene Juguet, Managing Director, Ubisoft Film & Television shared her take on the subject: "World of video games is gigantic. There are so many stories embedded in a video game. But what we lack most of the time is an emotional connection with the characters. Getting those two to translate into movies or TV series allows us to bring some depth and also to extend the number of hours that people want to play with those characters."

The discussion at the Difference Between Corporation-led and Public Broadcaster Co-production panel focused on the different ways regulatory legislation concerning culture may influence coproduction ventures in television and film industries.

When adapting books, is it possible at all to keep all elements of the original story functional or will some of them inevitably get lost in the transformation? The panel Book to Screen: Navigating the Unique Challenges of Book Adaptations in Film and TV provided different answers to this and many other issues pertaining to this particular writing process. Filip Bobinski, Producer and Showrunner, CEO Dramedy Productions said: "We are searching for great IPs – mostly books, but it can be video games, podcasts… anything that is significant and has great value. That is what the market is looking for. You have to feed the beast, but there are not enough ideas on the market. Books and IPs are very helpful in creating quality audiovisual content."

At the NEM Success Story “WOOL” panel, Milena Džambasović, Owner and Producer, Film Road Production and last year’s winner of the best script award in the scripted category contest, talked about the successful development of her project. Dana Stern, Global Content Executive, talked about the current negotiations regarding its production by several national television channels and preliminary negotiations with distributors, coproducers and financiers that are in progress, leading to the production of the first episode.