PBS Int’l inks deals for “Chernobyl’s Mega Tomb,” “Choice 2016″

The distribution arm of the American pubcaster has secured a raft of pre-sale deals in Cannes for its hour-long science and engineering special Building Chernobyl's Mega Tomb (pictured) and an upcoming 'Frontline' special on the U.S. election.
April 4, 2016

PBS International has secured a raft of pre-sale deals at MIPDoc in Cannes for its hour-long science and engineering special Building Chernobyl’s Mega Tomb (pictured).

The film, which is set to air on PBS science strand ‘NOVA,’ has BBC, France 5 and, as of this past weekend, Germany’s N24 now on board as partners. The distribution arm of the American pubcaster is seeking further pre-sales.

The special follows a team of international engineers as they race to build a 25,000-ton steel structure to entomb the radioactive waste left by the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster in 1986. At a cost of US$1.36 billion (€1.2 billion), specialists from across 30 countries – including the U.S., the UK and France – will build the steel shelter said to last 100 years.

The Chernobyl disaster, which sent radioactive particles across European skies, ranks as one of the worst nuclear disasters in history. In its aftermath, more than 500,000 laborers worked to seal the plant’s reactor with a concrete solution built to last an estimated 30 years.

Paula S. Apsell serves as producer on the special.

“This amazing team of international broadcast partners with extraordinary access is telling a truly international story,” said Tom Koch, VP of PBS International, in a statement. “The entombment of Chernobyl has to work – too many lives depend on it and we’ve got a front row seat to its first day on the job.”

Elsewhere, the distributor has added Norway’s NRK and Sweden’s SVT to the list of international broadcasters that have acquired ‘Frontline”s upcoming two-hour U.S. presidential election special The Choice 2016.

PBS International has already licensed the film to 15 broadcasters that includes the Middle East’s Alhurra, Portugal’s TVI, Germany/France’s ZDF-ARTE, Singapore’s MediaCorp, Canada’s CBC, Australia’s SBS, Belgium’s Acht, Denmark’s DR and Ireland’s RTÉ, among others.

The two-hour special is scheduled to broadcast across PBS in the U.S. in September.

The Choice 2016 delivers exclusive interviews to provide viewers with a deeper look into the nominees, the decisions they’ve made and why their nominations could indicate historic change in American politics.

Other programs that rounded out PBS International’s MIPDoc offerings were the archaeological special Out of the Maya Tombs; Space Men, on a group of scientists and military men who ventured into the stratosphere; the politically charged current affairs special Netanyahu at War; and Through a Lens Darkly, which explores the role photography plays in shaping the identity of African Americans throughout history.

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Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.