Series Lab Hamburg wraps up another successful edition

Around 20 European producers and writers descended on HafenCity area of Hamburg this month for an intensive three-day lab to further the development of their ideas for TV drama series.

The lab, which is organised by Creative Europe Desk Hamburg, kicked off with all participants pitching their series ideas to one another, the selection was varied with projects ranging from historical dramas and fantasy adventures to satirical comedies.

The writer/producer teams were then split into smaller groups to delve a little deeper into their scripts, treatments and pitches, with each session being led by one of four expert script consultants, including Claire Armspach (Head of Drama Development at STV), Maggie Boden (development producer at Big Light Productions) and John Yorke (creator of the BBC Writers Academy, whose previous credits as an exec producer include Wolf Hall, Life on Mars and Shameless).

Feedback and advice on their projects came not only from the experts but also from the other teams, allowing participants to get a sense of how their projects might work internationally.

This year’s UK participants were producer Gethin Scourfield and writer Angharad Elen from Welsh production company Cwmni Da.  

The final day was dedicated to speed meetings with groups pitching their projects to broadcasters, distributors and funders from across Europe in one-to-one meetings, including Sky Germany, NDR and ZDF enterprises.

Christiane Siemen who heads up the Creative Europe Desk in Hamburg said:

“The fourth edition of Series Lab Hamburg was a great success: it is the mix of networking, script development and financing in a very personal atmosphere that makes the format so unique, thanks to the collaboration with our colleagues from 14 desks in other European countries. The willingness of European financiers to participate in the lab demonstrates that there is a lively TV series landscape beyond the big platforms, where co-productions are financed by broadcasters and world sales.”

Participants in the lab are also eligible for the NDR Albatross Prize worth €7,500. This year’s recipients were Max Zähle and Stefan Gieren from German production company The StoryBay who are attempting to adapt their Oscar nominated short film Raju into a six episode TV series.

Series Lab Hamburg is a collaboration between Creative Europe Desk Hamburg, Film Fund Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein and Letterbox Film Production.

The initiative is supported by NDR, ZDF Enterprises, Sky Germany, Hamburg Marketing, Studio Funk, Optical Art, postperfect and GRAEF Lawyers as well as the Creative Europe Desks in Denmark, Finland, Flanders, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Spain, Sweden, Wallonia-Brussels, the UK and MEDIA Desk Suisse.