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Sony TV’s Wayne Garvie challenges European producers to better exploit European stories

Source: Sony Pictures Television

Wayne Garvie

Wayne Garvie, Sony Pictures Television’s president of international production, has challenged European producers to better exploit Europe’s “treasure house of global IP”.

Speaking at Italy’s AVP Summit, Garvie said Europe has a huge depth of stories from Greek tragedies, Roman emperors, Norse gods, French musketeers, Spanish conquistadors to German fairy tales. “All of them have in various forms entertained the world for thousands of years, and each generation reinvents those stories.”

However, he noted US filmmakers are traditionally better at reinterpreting European stories for international audiences, and then capitalising on their success by building worlds and franchises around their series and characters.

“Once the Americans have a successful returning series, they do something else that we as Europeans seem to be incapable of – they turn them into franchises,” said Garvie.

He said the UK has been “brilliant at creating non-scripted franchises, but we’ve been really poor at doing that in drama.” One of the few drama exceptions is Doctor Who, he added.

Garvie also pointed out upcoming Netflix series The Decameron, inspired by the 14th-century short-story collection by Giovanni Boccaccio, is a US production, created by showrunner Kathleen Jordan. Elsewhere UK director Tom Shankland is the lead director on Netflix’s upcoming adaptation of the Italian classic novel The Leopard whose script is written by Richard Worlow alongside Benji Walters. He added that Italian stories about gladiators or the Borgias through to Gucci and Ferrari have been reinterpreted by non-Italians.

The London-based Sony executive said: “Isn’t it time we evolve? To own the reinterpretation of our own stories? To find ways or reimagining them that resonate with global audiences. And see some of the stories and characters not as ends in themselves, but as the basis for new worlds.”

Elsewhere, Garvie refuted the idea the golden age of TV is over, saying drama remains “at the heart of every free-to-air broadcasting channel” and that there are “a dozen global platforms commissioning drama from just about every country in the world.”

“Peak TV may be over but ‘plateaued TV’ is better than anything else we have ever known,” he said.

Sony Pictures Television is home to production companies including the UK’s Left Bank (The Crown) and Eleven (Sex Education).

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