Sunny Side of the Doc interviews Sonya Pemberton, Creative Director at Genepool Productions about Genepool’s new series ‘Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail’ which was pitched at the EBU Science & Knowledge pitching session at Sunny Side in 2014.
Question : Your Science project “Uranium: Twisting The Dragon’s Tail” was presented at Sunny Side of the Doc 2014, during the annual EBU Science & Knowledge Pitch. What followed on from your pitch and which new partners did you attract?
Sonya Pemberton: In June 2014, Genepool Productions was thrilled to be chosen to present at the annual EBU Science & Knowledge Pitch, at Sunny Side.
We had been developing the ‘Uranium’ series for almost 12 months, in preparation for 2015 – the 70th anniversary of the most profound turning point in the history of human enterprise: the detonation of the atomic bomb and the unleashing of the elemental force within uranium.
“Uranium: Twisting the Dragon’s Tail” takes viewers on an epic journey through nine countries and over a century of stories, to find the untold story of uranium, the rock that made the modern world. It features an exciting new presenter Dr Derek Muller – a YouTube superstar in his first major TV role. It was extremely exciting to pitch our series – and our new host – alongside an array of terrific projects.
At that stage, with a treatment and pitch reel in hand, we had SBS Australia and PBS America confirmed as co-production partners, and interest from ZDF/arte. The pitch at EBU allowed us to present Derek Muller and our series and to successfully confirm our European partners, ZDF/Arte. It was at that stage our series was up and running!
Question : Almost a year later, at what stage of production is ‘Uranium: Twisting The Dragon’s Tail’?
Sonya Pemberton: Less than 12 months after our EBU pitch we are now in the midst of delivering the completed ‘Uranium’ series, ready to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima (on August 6, 2015). We have produced a total 7 hours of blue chip science/history programming in less than a year!
3 x 1hour series for Australia, 2 x 1hour versions for both PBS and ZDF/Arte, and a 2 hour special for PBS. It’s been a remarkable challenge, and our writer/director Wain Fimeri is about to have a well earned break…
We are thrilled that PBS selected ‘Uranium’ to present to the Television Critics Association in LA earlier this year, at rough cut. The series – and Derek Muller – is now receiving a great deal of attention, with PBS International handling the global sales.
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