French commercial channel M6 and China’s CCTV9 have signed up to coproduce The First Man, a big budget docudrama from French indie Nilaya.
While M6 is not traditionally a big programmer of docs, “we are looking for event programming, and we believe this project can create an event on our channel,” the channel’s head of external productions, Anne-Sophie Larry, told realscreen at Sunny Side of the Doc.
“We are currently looking a bit more at the documentary genre for our channel, and we want to become more active in international coproductions, the way we did in drama with the Transporter series and XIII.”
Nilaya is the production company set up by Patricia Boutinard-Rouelle (pictured above), the former head of documentaries for France Télévisions, who commissioned docudramas – such as A Species Odyssey (L’Odyssée de l’espèce) and Homo Sapiens – on similar ‘origin of man’ topics a decade ago.
“New discoveries have come along since then,” she said. “We will be telling the story of the origin of man, from great apes 15 million years ago to the Homo sapiens.”
The new docudrama will follow a family over that whole time period, using morphing technology to adapt the actors’ faces to the various skulls discovered over the period. Austrian studio Terra Mater, which is providing the technology, is involved as coproducer.
The project is currently in development, with scientist Pascal Picq onboard as writer and Boréales’s Frédéric Fougea (Homo Sapiens) producing.
Nilaya is launching the project to the international market in La Rochelle, and the budget could reach as high as €5 million (US$6.5 million), according to Boutinard-Rouelle.