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Rose d’Or goes back to its roots

The 47th Rose d’Or, which takes place in Lucerne, Switzerland, from May 5 to 9, will be less about showbiz talent and more about TV professionals, according to the festival’s newly appointed director, Urban Frye.

“We are going back to our roots,” Frye (left) told C21. “We want to recreate those golden years back in Montreux, when the Rose d’Or was a meeting place, a marketplace and a competition for professional people working in television entertainment.”

This year’s festival reports an increase in the number of programmes in contention; a total of 358 entrants from 155 companies have been received, up 60 titles on last year. In all, some 32 countries will be represented in Lucerne.

“We have 25% more shows in the competition,” Frye said. “That’s fantastic and it also gives me confidence that the Rose d’Or brand has not been too badly damaged by recent events.”

The rights to the Rose d’Or were acquired last year by Freddy Burger Management, one of Switzerland’s largest entertainment brands, following the collapse of the festival’s former organiser, Bigger Pix. Turning the troubled festival around will not, Fry admits, be easy.

“Without the help of a lot of people from around the world, it would not have been possible at all,” Frye said. “But there is a lot of support for the brand.” A case in point is that respected UK comedian, actor and writer Ben Elton will host both the awards ceremony and the traditional Rose d’Or Comedy Night.

Frye added that it has been harder to rebrand the Rose d’Or in its home market. “But Freddy Burger’s name is known and trusted in Switzerland, which has reassured people that the festival has a solid future,” he said.

A part of that future, if the new festival director has his way, is to transform the Rose d’Or into the entertainment equivalent of the Davos summit. “Our goal is to become the World Economic Forum of Television,” he said. “We don’t want to copy the big TV industry events like NATPE and Mip, or become a mini version of the Oscars, with lots of red carpet and starlets. Instead, we want to bring the top 500 to 1,000 people in television to Lucerne for five days, and provide them with the right atmosphere in which to forge connections, discuss ideas and drive the industry forward.”

Frye is also building on the Rose d’Or’s “bridging” function – between private and public television; between the creative and commercial arms of the industry; between new talent and established players; and between countries and cultures. A step in this direction is the creation of Rose d’Or territory “ambassadors,” the first of which include UK format consultant John Gough, Hong Kong-based entrepreneur Robert Chua and the German entertainment lawyer Christoph Fey. The ambassadors’ mission is to provide hands-on help and information to delegates interested in doing business with their respective markets.

Focusing on this year’s event, Frye – who comes to the Rose d’Or on the back of a successful career as a producer of music, theatre and dance programmes – noted that there have been certain changes to the awards structure. The number of Golden Roses has been reduced from 23 to just nine, including a special award for Best Opera Programme and Best Overall Programme.

“For 2007, our focus is on providing TV professionals with the right platform for business,” Frye added. “To achieve this, we have devised a conference programme covering the subjects that really matter to the industry: IPTV, mobile, formats… Perhaps, over the next two or three years, when the market has regained its confidence in the Rose d’Or brand, we will branch out into new directions. But for now, the thing that’s important is to attract the right calibre of people back to Lucerne.”

The nominees for the Rose d’Or 2007 are:

Comedy: Tittybangbang (BBC/UK); Perfect Day – The Millennium (Five/UK); That Mitchell & Webb Look (FremantleMedia Enterprises/UK; This Hour Has 22 Minutes (Halifax Film/Canada); Worst Christmas of My Life (Hat Trick Productions/UK); 30 Rock (NBC Universal Television Distribution/UK); Melonas (NRK TV/Denmark); Geile Zeit (Sony Pictures Film u.Fernseh Produktions/Germany); Green Wing (talkbackThames/UK); Man Stroke Woman (talkbackThames/UK); The Vicar Of Dibley (Tiger Aspect Productions/UK; and Shouf Shouf! The Series (VARA/the Netherlands).

Reality: Dragons’ Den (BBC/UK); Plan B (BLU/Denmark); Secret Millionaire (Channel 4/UK); The Search (Channel 4/UK); The Tribes Are Coming (Eyeworks/the Netherlands); India Celebrity Express (Kanakna Productions/Benelux); My Last Words (Palm Plus Productions/the Netherlands); Aeschbachers Sommerjob (SF Schweizer Fernsehen/Switzerland); All For One (Strix Television/Sweden); and Seven Grumpy Old Men (TV 2 Networks/Denmark).

Show: How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? (BBC/UK); Beat Your Host! (Brainpool TV/Germany); The Pyramid (Castor Multimedia/Croatia); Derren Brown – The Heist (Channel 4/UK); Caiga Quien Caiga (Cuatro Cabezas/Argentina); Viewer Of The Year (Eyeworks/the Netherlands); Sponge (KBS/Korea); PokerFace (talkbackThames/UK); and The Secret Policeman’s Ball (Tiger Aspect Productions/UK).

Sitcom: Not Going Out (Avalon Television/UK); The Royle Family (BBC/UK); The Thick of It (BBC/UK); My Family (DLT Entertainment/UK); Türkisch für Anfänger (Hofmann & Voges Entertainment/Germany); The Lighthouse (Oy Filmiteollisuus Fine/Finland); Dr Psycho (ProSieben Television/Germany); Alle Lieben Jimmy (RTL Television/Germany); Legit (The Comedy Unit/UK); and Little Mosque On The Prairie (WestWind Pictures/Canada).

Soap: Ioanna Tis Kardias (Joanna of The Heart) (Antenna TV/Greece); Tis Agapis Mahairia (The Knives of Love) (Antenna TV/Greece); EastEnders (BBC/UK); Home Affairs (Penguin Films/South Africa); Con Passionate (S4C/UK); Het Huis Anubis (Anubis House) (Studio 100/Benelux); and The Bill (talkbackThames/UK).

Arts documentary: Imagine… Sweet Home New Orleans (BBC/UK); Simon Schama’s Power of Art: Bernini (BBC/UK); Ballet Changed My Life: Ballet Hoo! (Diverse/UK); The Singing Estate (Five/UK), Forever (NPS/the Netherlands); Silk Road 2005: Ascent Into Blue (NHK/Japan); Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring (San Francisco Symphony/US); Color Is Too Simple (SF Schweizer Fernsehen/Switzerland); and Young @ Heart (Walker George Films/UK).

Performing arts: The Bolt (Bel Air Media/France); Peter And The Wolf (Channel 4/UK); Kent Nagano Conducts Classical Masterpieces (Deutsche Welle/Germany); Baremboim On Beethoven (Europe Images International/M5/France); Cinderella (Europe Images International/M5/France); Car Men (NPS/the Netherlands); and Blind Date (SF Schweizer Fernsehen/Switzerland).

Opera special prize: Kombat Opera Presents: The Applicants (BBC/UK); Cardillac (Bel Air Media/UK); Mozart 22: Le Nozze Di Figaro (Bernhard Fleischer Moving Images/Germany); Man On The Moon (Channel 4/UK); Bizet: Carmen (EuroArts Music International/Germany); The Love For Three Oranges (LGM/UK); Bella Figura – Do Singers Have To Be Fat? (PARS Media/Germany); and Burnt Toast (Rhombus Media/Canada).

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