TV

Summit ’14: Yachin’s “Hot Spots” takes SYTYCP prize

After winning development funding from H2 earlier this week at the Realscreen Summit, Dafna Yachin has scored a second victory, with her pitch for environmental series Hot Spots winning the Summit's annual 'So you Think you Can Pitch?' competition.
January 29, 2014

After winning development funding from H2 earlier this week at the Realscreen Summit, Lunchbox Communications’ Dafna Yachin has scored a second victory, with her prodco’s pitch for environmental series Hot Spots winning the Summit’s annual ‘So You Think You Can Pitch?’ competition.

Lunchbox bested three other pitches to triumph during the perennially popular annual session on Tuesday (January 28), winning over a panel of judges comprising of Cori Abraham, senior VP of development and international for Oxygen; Lauren Gellert, senior VP of original production and development for WE tv; Matt Hanna, head of original programming for Esquire Network; and Debbie Myers, general manager and exec VP of Science Channel (pictured below, left to right)

Judges on the 'So You Think You Can Pitch' panel at the 2014 Realscreen Summit. Photo: Rahoul GhoseThe victory marks the second consecutive year that Lunchbox has won the Summit’s pitch competition, having triumphed with a different project – boxing-focused docuseries The Stable - last year. This year’s pitch competition was hosted by Jack Osbourne, executive producer at Schweet Entertainment and host of Syfy’s Haunted Highway.

Yachin’s pitch, for an environmental series called Hot Spots: The Race to Save the Planet, focused on areas of the world where animals were in danger, by way of two eco-warrior brothers. After presenting a sizzle clip showing the brothers in action, the prodco surprised by bringing one of the brothers out onstage – accompanied by a large, live snake (pictured above).

Abraham was the first to praise the pitch, commending Yachin for “great tape,” and saying that the show was set in a “great space” with “high stakes.” She added that the fact that the brothers were “smart and cute definitely helps.” Nevertheless, she said she would like to see more of the family dynamic behind the scenes. Myers echoed the sentiment, telling the team: “You’re attractive and you’ve got a great personality – I’d love to see more of that in the tape.”

Gellert also praised the pitch, telling the team she “definitely can see this on the air,” but wanted to know more about how the prodco saw each episode of the show playing out. Hanna, meanwhile, jokingly pointed at the snake and asked: “Can you make that into a belt?”

Philadelphia-based production company Lunchbox triumphed over a trio of strong projects. Sota Pop Productions’ high-energy pitch for Fansanity presented a humorous take on the Intervention formula by way of obsessive sports fans; while Daydream Reels’ The Misfit Economy examined innovators who operate outside the law, and is based upon Kyra Maya Phillips and Alexa Clay’s forthcoming Simon & Schuster book of the same name.

Meanwhile, Hatch Entertainment’s Psychic Surprise promised to reveal a new take on the psychic space, which has been popularized by shows such as TLC’s Long Island Medium and A&E’s Psychic Tia.

Yachin’s win came after she was named as one of five recipients of funding (for a different project) for the Realscreen Summit’s inaugural H2 Development Lab on Monday.

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