WFTV Online: International Co-Production as a Funding Model

27th May 2020 18:00

Wednesday 27th May | 18:00 – 19:00

Join us online via | Viewing details will be sent with your Eventbrite confirmation

Over the last few years, international co-production and partnership has been an increasingly important way to bring programming – especially drama –  to fruition. In the wake of COVID-19 and the lockdown, this session looks at challenges to this chain of supply: from development and production, to commissioning, through to distribution. What are the current priorities for these areas right now, and what are the issues to consider over the longer term?

In this conversation hosted by Alexandra Finlay, Senior Director, Creative & Co-Productions, Shaftesbury and a panel of key industry speakers, we’ll be hearing about how this sector of industry is currently operating, and also learning more about how international co-production can be used as a funding model.

Alexandra Finlay is Senior Director, Creative & Co-Productions at Shaftesbury, one of Canada’s most successful drama producers. Based in London, she is responsible for expanding its coproduction activity, sourcing creative opportunities and forging international partnerships. She was formerly Head of Acquisitions & Co-Productions at UKTV, where she led on strategic content supply, delivering brand-defining acquisitions, theatrical features and international co-productions. She identified and secured many of the award-winning hits which drove market-beating YoY growth and profits over that period, including Suits, Castle, and Murdoch Mysteries. Alexandra joined UKTV from Channel 4, where she was Editor, Feature Films, programming titles across Channel 4, E4 and More4. Her early career was at the BBC, where she worked on film and series-related documentaries for BBC1 and BBC2, including the cult film strand MOVIEDROME.  Awards include  MIPCOM’s World Content Trendsetter.

Catherine Mackin, MD, AME, started her career at The Family Channel, not even realising there was such a thing as Acquisitions! The Family Channel was taken over by Flextech in the late 90’s, which saw Catherine moved into channel management, running Bravo up until 1999, and then joining the BBC to run UKTV Gold, then the 5th biggest channel in the UK. Catherine then spent nearly 5 years at TV3 in Ireland as Deputy Director of Programming, and moved back to the BBC in 2009 to become UKTV’s Director of Programming Acquisitions for nearly 9 years. She is now MD of AME, Acorn TV’s co-pro and commissioning arm. When asked her favourite co-pros and acquisitions, she commented, “there are just too many to mention, and I have soft spots for all of the content I have worked with over a 30 year career in television.”

Jonathan Drake, Founder and CEO, Three Rivers Studios,has 30 years experience in media business, the last 15 of these being in the independent TV production sector. Formerly Managing Director of Impossible Pictures Ltd he was responsible for bringing together funding for many blue chip factual shows such as Prehistoric Park (ITV, Pro7, M6, Animal Planet), Perfect Disasters (Discovery Channel, M6, Pro7, Five), World War II: The Last Heroes (C4, History Canada, Yesterday), as well as drama series such as Primeval (ITV, UKTV, Pro7) and Sinbad (Sky1).

In June 2013 Jonathan established Impossible Factual Limited as its production arm for factual television and in 2014 launched Three River Fiction, a new subsidiary to develop and produce drama projects for television. Since its foundation Impossible Factual has produced a range of high end and innovative programming for networks including National Geographic, BBC, Smithsonian, History Canada, and PBS specialising in science and history. Three River Fiction has a busy slate of internationally targeted drama projects, and Jonathan led the financing and executive produced Trackers for ZDF, HBO and M-Net in South Africa that launched in late 2019 on M-Net and quickly became their highest rated show of the year.

Pilar Perez Roel is currently Head of Acquisitions at DCD Rights and is responsible for all acquisitions, across factual and drama. Pilar works with producers and partners to find, develop and invest in programming that has international appeal. Recent dramas are The Secret She Keeps, The Hunting; My Life is Murder; Jack Irish, On the Ropes, Striking Out. She is currently spearheading an exciting new slate of projects at various stages of development, finance and production.

Prior to joining DCD Rights, she worked in various production roles starting her career at Planet 24 and soon after landing at multi genre producer Zenith Entertainment, one of the biggest independent factual and drama producers in the UK at the time.

In 2013 she graduated from the NFTS with a Diploma in Script Development. Throughout her career she has worked alongside emerging as well as established filmmakers, writers, directors and producers engaging at all levels of the creative process from idea to script into production, helping deliver compelling stories.

Event Schedule

17:55: Please join the Webinar

18:00 – 18:45: Discussion

18:45 – 19:00: Member Q&A

19:00: Finish


How will the online event work?

This event will be live streamed via Viewing details will be sent via your Eventbrite confirmation.

Participants accessing the live stream will have their camera and audio muted on arrival, you will not be visible to the other participants.

After the talk, there will be an opportunity for a Q&A with live stream participants.


This event is for existing WFTV members only

Members please log-in to your account and sign up via the Eventbrite link below this listing.

If you are not a member and would like to join, membership costs just £100 + VAT/yr for those living within the M25, and £50+ VAT/yr for those living outside of this area, please click here or email