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HBO Europe adds Adria drama buyer

HBO Europe has hired an experienced writer and producer for its development team in Central Europe as it looks to expand its original drama slate in the region.

Ana Balentovic

Ana Balentovic has been named development executive for HBO Adria to identify and develop talent and projects from Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro.

She will report to Jonathan Young, VP of original programming for HBO Central Europe, and Steve Matthews, VP and executive producer of drama development for HBO Europe.

The aim is to seek quality original series that reflect the HBO brand while having resonance with local audiences, the broadcaster said today.

Balentovic brings extensive TV fiction development experience to the newly created role, having led writers rooms across South-Eastern Europe as head of development for talent incubator ContentLAB and Factory, and as a producer on various primetime fiction series at Croatian commercial broadcaster RTL Televizija.

Balentovic will be attending Sarajevo Film Festival next week to meet industry and talent as part of a strong HBO Europe presence. An HBO Europe-sponsored prize will be awarded to the most promising project to emerge from the festival’s year-long Midpoint programme.

Antony Root, executive VP of original programming and production at HBO Europe, said: “Central Europe is rich in storytelling and talent, and having embedded ourselves in the local industries over the past few years we’re looking forward to the next phase of production in the region.

“Ana’s appointment reflects our continued commitment to discovering new and original voices, and our wider ambition to expand the breadth and range of programming across our Central European territories.”

The concerted drive into Adria follows HBO Europe’s success with original production in Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania, where the company has been producing original series and documentaries since 2010.

Four hit series from the region return to HBO Europe this fall: second seasons of Wataha/The Pack (Poland), Umbre/Shadows (Romania) and As Po Usi/Head Over Heels (Czech Republic), and the third season of In Terapia/In Treatment (Hungary). The dramas will premiere day-and-date across HBO Europe.

Last year HBO Europe expanded its production activities into Scandinavia and Spain.

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