“Medici: Masters of Florence” is an innovative and special product in terms of the content and manner in which it was made and the places where it was filmed”, this is how Matilde Bernabei describes the international series produced by her Lux Vide in co-production with Frank Spotnitz’s Big Light Productions (Spotnitz is the creator of the series along with Nicholas Meyer), in collaboration with Rai Fiction, with the world distribution by Wild Bunch TV.
The eight part “Medici” series directed by Sergio Mimica Gezzan, recounts the rise to power of the famous family and the Italian Renaissance.
This is the only Italian television series to have been chosen by an international jury to take part (along with 11 other titles from all over the world) in MIP Drama Screenings, the market TV series previews, the first edition of which will be held on Sunday 3 April at the JW Marriott Hotel in Cannes.
The series features a stellar cast: Richard Madden (“Game of Thrones”) stars as Cosimo dei Medici, whilst the legendary Dustin Hoffmann plays his father Giovanni, the patriarch of the famous family.
“We are very pleased”, Matilde Bernabei tells Cinema & Video International, “because the series is about a family that changed the world: Giovanni de’ Medici is the man who created the first bank, marking the transition from usury to credit. His son Cosimo wanted to be an artist, but his father forced him to become a banker and, for this reason, very probably, he chose to finance artists in addition to promoting and increasing the importance of the family. He invented an original and innovative relationship between money and culture, building one of the biggest artistic heritages in the world”.
Bernabei continues: “We filmed 80% of the series on location; with respect to other costume series made, for example, in studios in eastern countries, this is a big step forward”.
The project, reveals Matilde Bernabei, does not end with this series, there is an idea of making a collection of series about the Renaissance, starting with Lorenzo il Magnifico, and also about its great artists, Leonardo, Raffaello, Michelangelo.
The best way to tell the story of a family that changed the world is to do so using high profile international associates.
In fact: “We are working with Wild Bunch and with Frank Spotnitz’s Big Light, Spotnitz is one of the top US TV series writers (Ed: “X Files”) who decided to move to Europe and now divides his time between London and Paris”.
Frank Spotnitz immediately found himself on the same wavelength as the producers: “The Medici”, he has stated, “were innovators. Their banking activities led to the creation of the middle class, making them immensely rich”.
This ambitious project aims to reach beyond domestic audiences. Eleonora Andreatta, the director of Rai Fiction, has said: “The series on the “Medici” is not just a period drama but is also evidence of Rai’s efforts to be present with its very best on the international market”.
There are all the right ingredients for capturing an international audience, and it is no coincidence that Wild Bunch is launching its television department with “Medici: Masters of Florence”.
Carole Baraton, head of Wild Bunch TV, is enthusiastic about “such an impressive project. We are even more pleased”, she has said, “because this series perfectly represents our editorial line portraying the Renaissance with a modern epic slant and a touch of noir”.
In fact there is an exciting thriller element run- ning through the story about Giovanni de Medici’s killer, whose identity will be sought throughout the series. And of course, there is love, there is art, there are “stunning locations that will give viewers a tour of the most beautiful places in Italy”, concludes Matilde Bernabei.