Euro Co-Pros Span Kiwi Gulf

TVNZ and MediaWorks have licensed two Screentime NZ co-productions with Denmark and Germany that will screen next year.

Both have been co-produced by veteran crime genre producer Philly de Lacey.

MediaWorks announced this afternoon that The Gulf, a six-part NZ-German series, will premiere next year on Three while Drama Quarterly reports TVNZ has acquired Straight Forward.

Says de Lacey of the latter: “We don’t think anyone’s done a Danish-New Zealand co-pro before.

“It’s challenging because you are dealing with two different languages. But the story really lends itself to working across two countries, so it works perfectly.”

Straight Forward was written by John Banas (Dear Murderer, Pike River) and follows a Danish mother’s attempt to escape her criminal past by seeking anonymity in NZ.

Most of the series was shot on location in Queenstown or in an Auckland studio.

The Gulf is described as a six-part thriller about “the moral disintegration of a female detective as she investigates crimes on her home patch of Waiheke Island”.

Here’s MediaWorks’ release:


MediaWorks is pleased to announce that it has secured the rights to broadcast the highly anticipated new drama series, The Gulf, on Three in 2019.

A six-part German-New Zealand co-production, The Gulf promises to deliver a gripping, fast-paced dive into a world where good people and crime collide. Shot in New Zealand, the dark thriller is juxtaposed against the beauty of New Zealand’s Hauraki Gulf and Waiheke Island.

The Gulf follows the moral disintegration of a talented detective played by New Zealand actress Kate Elliot, (The Cult, Fresh Meat) who is placed in an unthinkable situation while uncovering three intriguing criminal cases. Ido Drent, Jeffrey Thomas, Pana Hema-Taylor and Mark Mitchson also star.

Andrew Szusterman, MediaWorks Chief Content Officer, said: “This production promises to have the hallmarks of what makes current television drama so exciting. It will keep global audiences transfixed at every turn, all packaged up by some of New Zealand’s finest production and acting talent and set behind her unique landscape.”

Philly de Lacey, Chief Executive Officer, Screentime New Zealand said, “The series is quintessentially Kiwi and showcases the great production talents we have here – so it is an honour for Screentime to be producing this for the NZ and international market place. This series is a dark thriller with exciting twists that should keep audiences hooked right from the moment the opening scene starts.”

The Gulf is a co-production between Screentime NZ, Lippy Pictures and German fiction specialist Letterbox Filmproduktion and is funded by the Screen Production Grant. MediaWorks will be broadcasting the six-part series on Three at a date to be confirmed in 2019.  It will also be broadcast next year on ZDF in Germany and Channel 9 in Australia.

About The Gulf

Justice isn’t always right. And some crimes aren’t wrong. But where does that leave us? And the people caught between the two? The Gulfis about the moral disintegration of Detective Jess Savage, who finds herself in exactly that place as she investigates crimes on her home patch of Waiheke Island, New Zealand. 

After losing her memory in a car crash that killed her husband, Jess becomes determined to bring the killer to justice. Convinced that someone is trying to kill her because of something she has uncovered in a recent investigation, she in effect begins investigating herself, retracing her steps over the weeks prior.  As her colleagues become increasingly uncooperative Jess’ paranoia really sets in, whilst she also starts to fight an addiction to morphine. As she gets closer to the truth she so desperately seeks, Jess discovers that her world is not so morally black and white.

The personal story of Jess and the revelation of it to her and the audience is complex and intriguing, which dovetails seamlessly with three intriguing criminal cases that have a major impact on her career.

Lead cast includes: Kate Elliot, Ido Drent, Jeffrey Thomas, Pana Hema-Taylor, Mark Mitchinson, and introducing Timmie Cameron. 

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