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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » November 30, 2010
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Disney Discovers Young Polish Talent
November 30, 2010   
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The Polish sitcom Do dzwonka (As the Bell Rings), the Walt Disney Company’s first locally made production anywhere in Central Europe, premiered on Disney Channel, a broadcaster specializing in children’s programming, in November. Do dzwonka is an adaptation of the popular Italian Disney Channel series Quelli dell’intervallo and is Disney Channel’s first short production with a Polish cast.

Disney Channel has managed to tap into a wellspring of young talent and the international adaptation of the show has brought fame to actors like Demi Lovato, who plays one of the leading roles in the U.S. version.

More than 800 young hopefuls aged between 12 and 15 auditioned for the Polish production, especially the 10 main roles. The lucky 10 are now on their way to fame.

Do dzwonka took its concept from the original but the individual episodes build their stories and themes around what is happening in Poland and imbue them with a Polish sense of humor. Virtually all the scripts have been completely rewritten.

Do dzwonka is a warmhearted series full of friendship, flirting and humor where young people meet the challenges of coming of age as best they can. The action takes place in a school corridor outside the principal’s office. Each episode’s storyline has to be timed to fit into a break between classes.

“This time limitation influences the form and content of each episode,” says director Tomasz Szafrański. “Everything has to be easy to understand and fun to watch. We managed to pull it off only thanks to the professionalism of our young cast.”

“We were selected for our similarity to the characters we play,” says Iga Krefft, who plays Aga, the school council chair. “This makes it easier for us.”

Do dzwonka has all the typical characters found in schools the world over—the prettiest girl, the fervent ecologist, the know-all, the geek, the laidback cool dude, the joker and even the informer.

“Disney places a great deal of importance on creating local productions to complement our global efforts and build a stronger relationship with our audience,” says Maciej Bral, vice-chairman and managing director for Central and Eastern Europe. “We are especially pleased to see that Do dzwonka, the first Polish production of the series, has now come out and that we have the opportunity of working with FremantleMedia Polska. This production opens the way for us to show our creativity in devising program proposals with things like short television forms. The format on which the series is based is a worldwide hit. Hopefully, we can repeat this success in Poland”.

Disney Channel’s short form center was set up to create TV formats that could be adapted to other countries. The series Quelli dell’intervallo is one of the center’s greatest successes and has been adapted in 17 countries, including the United States, Britain, Spain, Germany, France, and Australia, where it is enormously popular.

Two seasons of the series, or 40 five-minute episodes, have so far been made in Poland.

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