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Portugal’s Cinemate in Negotiations to Co-Produce G5 Fiction’s ‘La Señora’


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True-life inspired mini-series, one of the 10 projects selected at Conecta Fiction's Pitch Copro Series

Portuguese film-TV production and services company Cinemate Productions is in negotiations with Germany’s G5 Fiction to co-produce true-life adventure TV series “La Señora: The Woman Who Defied The Inquisition.”

The co-production pact would see Loures-based Cinemate line-producing “La Señora’s” key scenes in Portugal and bringing to the table new cash rebates from the country. Cinemate would also retain rights for Portuguese-language territories.

“La Señora” is executive produced by Uwe Kersken at G5 Fiction, the TV drama house the producer established in 2014 alongside ZDF Enterprises, German pubcaster ZDF’s commercial arm.

England’s Gavin Scott, writer of Emmy-winning mini-series “Mists of Avalon,” penned the script, based on a treatment by Kersken. It is supported by powerful German regional fund Film- und Medienstiftung NRW.

Described by Kersken as a “Schindler’s List of the Renaissance,” the project portrays the extraordinary life of Gracia Nasi (1510-1569), a Jewish noblewoman, later called La Señora, who leverages her own huge wealth – via bribes, donations, payment of higher taxes – to wrestle protection from European states, while she set up an escape route for Inquisition-menaced Jews from Portugal to Constantinople and began to create Zionist state. Her story unfurled against the background of some of the most remarkable events in history when the world escaped the from Middle Ages. That said, Nasi was centuries before her time.

The 10 one-hour episode period skein, with an estimated budget over €20 million ($24 million), is clearly the highest-end project selected to form part of the Pitch Copro Series at Spain’s 2nd Conecta Fiction, a vibrant co-production forum for European, Latin American and U.S. Latino TV drama, who runs June 18-21 in Spain’s Santiago de Compostela.

“I can trust half of the budget being secured through a minimum guarantee for world distribution of my own company, and funding and subsidies from Germany, as well as Belgium and Portugal, and also co-production money from Portugal for Portuguese-language territories,” Kersken said.

G5 Fiction plans to go into production by 2020, shooting in English, using locations in Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Turkey.

Before joining G5 Fiction, Uwe Kersken co-founded and was a longtime manager of the Cologne-based production company Gruppe 5 Filmproduktion. At G5 Fiction he is responsible for original drama programs with strong potential for German and international markets.

It focuses on subjects playing out against a historical background, clearly the case of “La Señora.”

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