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Kiwi mystery thriller The Five Diaries wins C21 Digital Drama Pitch 2023

Drama The Five Diaries is set in New Zealand and the UK

New Zealand writer/artist Phil Gregory and media company Rialto Distribution NZ are searching for a UK coproduction partner and distribution finance for The Five Diaries (6×60′), which has won the C21 Digital Drama Pitch 2023 and has a total budget of NZ$10m (US$6.2m).

The drama set between New Zealand and London features a young woman in recovery who finds out that everything she knows about herself is a lie. She is guided by five old diaries to find the truth about where she came from.

The Five Diaries impressed the judging panel of industry buyers who felt it presented a very compelling pitch that understood how to successfully unveil a story and were hooked by the synergy of the landscape between New Zealand and the evocative landscape of 1980s London.

The judges said the pitch had an interesting structure with many twists and turns, which added emotional layers to keep the viewer hooked. A unanimous winner, the judges praised the pitch for its clarity whilst also having great visual elements to enhance the presentation of the story.

Having been pitched by Gregory with producer at Rialto Distribution NZ Kathleen Anderson, The Five Diaries will now receive a marketing package through C21Media worth £30,000 (US$36,400) to support development and pre-sales of the show.

Executive produced by Kelly Rogers, it currently has almost 30% of its financing in place, with the majority so far coming from the New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG).

In addition, the judges identified L/over and The Rush as worthy of an honourable mention. The judging panel included Philippa Collie Cousins from UKTV, SVT in Sweden’s Malin Nevander, Angie Stephenson of BBC Studios in LA and Lorenza Bizzarri of Rai Fiction in Italy.

You can view The Digital Pitch Results Show, where a panel of industry judges discuss the shortlisted seven projects and share their thoughts on what makes a good pitch, here and the winning pitch here.

The C21 Digital Drama Pitch 2023 was born out of the high standard of entries received for the C21 Drama Series Pitch 2022. From more than 90 submissions from 33 countries, 10 projects were selected to pitch live at Content London. A further seven projects were chosen to create the Digital Drama Pitch.

The C21 Digital Drama Pitch 2023 was open to early-stage scripted drama and comedy series from established producers and distributors from all corners of the world. The seven shortlisted shows featured early-stage drama and comedy projects spanning the US, France, New Zealand, South Africa and Finland.

The judges looked for audience appeal, how well the projects had been developed and planned, the potential for international travel and the strength of the team behind it.

The C21 Content Budapest Series Pitch is now open for entries, with a US$20,000 marketing prize for the winner and shortlisted projects showcased to C21’s international community of 200,000 international entertainment industry executives.

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