International Disruptors: Isidoor Roebers And Lea Fels From Netflix Doc Series ‘Human Playground’ Producer Scenery Talk Banijay Tie-Up, Creative Business Models And Streaming
16.12.2022 - 13:09
Welcome to Deadline’s International Disruptors, a feature where we shine a spotlight on key executives and companies outside of the U.S. shaking up the offshore marketplace. This week, we’re talking with Isidoor Roebers and Lea Fels, partners at Dutch doc producer Scenery, a joint venture with Banijay Benelux that has served up artistic but commercial unscripted projects for everyone from local public broadcaster NPO to Netflix and Prime Video.
Scenery has been one of the Benelux region’s most influential documentary producers for several years, and now it is moving beyond its core Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg operations and into the UK and U.S.
Dutch producer Isidoor Roebers had already launched a company, Fonk Films, but in 2016 teamed with former Vice Media Benelux Head of Production and Head of TV/Editor-in-Chief of Vice TVLea Fels to create Scenery. The two had met with Roebers was an emerging filmmaker seeking a place at the indie film-focused Dutch Film Institute, from which Fels had graduated. The pair now run the Amsterdam-based company as a joint venture with Banijay, with the global super-indie’s involved led by Banijay Benelux production subsidiary NL Film.
Scenery has made docs for Prime Video, Universal, NPO and Videoland among others, but it’s most popular show to date was Human Playground, an Idris Elba-narrated Netflix and Youku China series co-produced with Banijay UK’s Workerbee that explores the history of play across the globe, from age-old rituals to billion-dollar businesses and competitions.
The series’ business model is unusual, centered on a book from Hannelore Vandenbussche published by TeNeus Books that was released in 44 countries. Roebers says some of those publishing revenues went
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