On the Slate: Gruppe 5 & Pilot

From a cheeky chef to a controversial conqueror: it's the latest projects from Pilot Film and Television Productions and Gruppe 5 Filmproduktion GmbH.
October 23, 2008

When you find a charismatic presenter, don’t let go. At least that’s the philosophy of London-based Pilot Productions when it comes to Bobby Chin. Chin is the presenter of the travel food program World Café Asia, which follows Chin to various Asian destinations as he checks out the local food culture. Capitalizing on the demand for food based content and programs about Asia, as well as the enthusiastic response to World Café Asia, the prodco is starting production on World Café Asia 2 and a spin off program, Bobby Chin Cooks Asia.

In coproduction with Discovery International, World Café Asia Series 2 will take a high paced approach to the streets of Jakarta, Malacca, Calcutta and Sri Lanka, discovering the history of the areas through their approaches to food. Combining travel doc with cooking show, the 8 x 26′ series, due to wrap in the spring of 2009, examines the street food culture of Asian cities while also checking out the night life and hot spots in each region. Meanwhile, the spin off will take a more traditional approach to food programs seeing Chin demonstrate how to cook Asian cuisine

While Pilot is busy traveling Asia, Gruppe 5 Filmproduktion GmbH is hitting Europe, North America and Asia with its new projects.

Together with National Geographic US, ZDF and ARTE, Gruppe 5 ponders what Europe and North America looked like before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in a project tentatively called Clash of Cultures. Due to wrap in fall 2009, the two hour doc uses CGI, dramatizations and ecological footage to explain how the voyage of a few ships across the Atlantic 600 years ago changed life on both continents forever.

Over one hundred years later in Asia another life changing event took place. The construction of India’s Taj Mahal. ‘To do a Taj Mahal film without the love story and fighting and murder wouldn’t make sense,’ says Gruppe 5 principal Uwe Kersken. Using dramatization, CGI as well as traditional documentary forms, the film looks at both the physical construction of the mausoleum, asking modern day architects to weigh in on its complexity, as well as the compelling story behind the its construction. In association with National Geographic Channel and ZDF the roughly €500,000 doc is due to wrap in February, 2009.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.