Fredrik af Malmborg, managing director of Eccho Rights, spoke to ttvnews about the repercussions following the series’ premiere and the search for other projects that can replicate its international potential.
At the first edition of Conecta Fiction, the series Invisible Heroes was chosen as one of the 10 finalist projects for potential development. And now, two years later at the event’s third edition, the Chilean-Finnish coproduction was presented as the star of Eccho Rights’ catalog.
“We are very proud to have Invisible Heroes, the co-production between Finland and Chile. The reactions following the screening were fantastic, everyone is super excited”, said Fredrik af Malmborg, managing director de Eccho Rights, during the event in Spain.
The series, which had its world premiere at Miptv 2019, was one of the most anticipated at the event, thanks to its innovative coproduction model and a story that travels across borders.
Co-produced by Kaiho Republic in Finland and Parox in Chile, the fiction tells the story of the young diplomatic representative of Finland, Tapani Brotherus, who after the military coup of 1973, and contradicting the instructions from his country, took refuge and saved with his wife Lysa more than two thousand Chileans, who thanks to his help were able to escape to Europe.
It will air on linear TV through YLE in Finland and Chilevision in Chile, something the executive predicts will be a first step for a change in Latin America’s programming strategy.
“We are ready to close deals. We are getting offers. It’s a little bit different because we are going to do linear TV first,” said af Malmborg.
“I believe in Latin America all series for linear TV have to be 100+ episodes, but I think they should reconsider that and do more event programming, because that’s working very well in other parts of the world”, he added.
In the case of Invisible Heroes, Eccho Rights entered the project at a later stage to be its distributor. But this isn’t a rule when it comes to choosing projects for the distributor, which seeks to “empower producers” from all stages of production.
“For Invisible Heroes, we entered the project at a later stage, when the production was completed. But we are entering other projects in different stages of development, in some cases there from the very start, to be involved in the financing and development”, he explained.
“In many cases we pitch together with the producer to figure out deals for how it’s going to be financed, and then of course packaging and worldwide distribution. Our job is to represent producers, help them grow, help them retain rights”, he added.
The idea is to find stories that, just like Invisible Heroes, “are good, organic coproduction ideas”, with a focus on Latin America. “Right now there are a few projects in development from Latin America and we are talking to many producers in the region”.
“Last year we licensed 15,000 hours of TV and have a lot of scripts to adapt, so we are in discussions with producers”, he added.
In the case of co-production, a formula that seems obvious is the merger between LatAm and Turkey, given Latin America’s affinity to Turkish stories. However, the executive explained there are still many hurdles to overcome.
“In the last few months, there have been announcements of coproductions between Turkey and Latin America, which is obvious because Turkish series work so well there. It’s difficult to coproduce with Turkey because they make 120-minute weekly series while Latin America does daily series”, he said.
“So it’s still to be seen when the first co-production actually happens. Turkey’s budgets are more on par with Latin America. But it’s also about finding a co-production idea that makes sense. And then there’s the language barrier. There are issues to solve. But it will happen. We are close, I believe”, he added.
Latin America still continues to bet on Turkish productions, something Eccho Rights is an expert in and is now presenting two new titles for the international market.
“We are doing a lot of Turkey series. I believe we have 20 hours on air from our company per day all over Latin America”, he said. “We have two new Turkish series, Wounded Birds, from the producers of Elif, and The Promise from Kanal 7″.
“The Promise has been outperforming other series in Turkey, so it’s a good programming asset for a linear channel”, he concluded.