‘There has always been a fascination with this genre and it hasn’t diminished’

DISTRIBUTOR Blue Ant International
PRODUCERS Wildflame Productions; Saloon Media
LENGTH 3 x 90 minutes; 6 x 60 minutes
BROADCASTER Discovery Science (US)

All around the world, hurricanes, storm surges, earthquakes and rising sea levels are triggering natural catastrophes. These in turn are placing the world’s major cities at constant risk of destruction.

In Brink Of Disaster, Wildflame Productions and Saloon Media show the devastation that occurs when these natural disasters hit – and what the latest science and technology can do to help.

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Blue Ant International global head of acquisitions and partnerships Lilla Hurst says the show works at multiple levels – starting with the enduring appeal of extreme weather on screen: “There has always been a fascination with this genre of programming and it hasn’t diminished. If anything, the genre has become even more compelling because of the quality of footage that is now available – either from professional film-makers who chase the weather, or people on the ground who capture it on their phones.”

On top of this, Hurst says: “Brink Of Disaster goes further, because it also looks at the ingenious scientific innovations being deployed to try to counter these disasters. That gives the series an added dimension – as well as a huge dollop of hope that human ingenuity can help us address the environmental crisis.”

The climate crisis is the backdrop to Brink Of Disaster rather than the focus of the narrative, she says.

“Everyone knows what is happening, so this is more about what we are going to do about it. It’s about the encouragement we can derive from scientific solutions.”

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There’s also a strong ‘people’ component to the show, Hurst adds: “Aside from the proximity that we get through the use of mobile footage, the series also talks to some of the people who were on the ground at the time of these devastating events. It looks at how they managed the local population through the crisis at the time – and how technology might help them do it differently in the future.”

The show is a UK-Canada treaty co-production that is built around a partnership between Cardiff-based Wildflame and various businesses within the Blue Ant Media (BAM) network.

Wildflame came to the table with interest from Discovery Science, while BAM was able to offer a Canadian production partner (Saloon), a Canadian channel partner (Cottage Life) and a distributor (BAI).

Hurst says: “It was a really strong example of how to split the work creatively to unlock treaty finance. Significant areas of the physical production were done in both Canada and Wales, which made it possible to trigger meaningful funds.”

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The bulk of the storytelling relates to US-based incidents, but Hurst has no doubt the series can travel internationally. “We have worked with similar shows like Volatile Earth and World’s Deadliest Weather in the past, so we know there is a strong buyer base,” she says. “What’s really interesting about this genre is that it works across a huge range of channels, from linear to non-linear, PSB to pay TV.”

Blue Ant International has all the rights to the show outside North America. Hurst says it will have a prominent place on the company’s Mip TV slate and she is confident it can be the start of a long-running franchise.