Animated series Plankton Invasion by Joeri Christiaen, Tim Van Aelst’s sitcom Safety First, The Perfect Couple by Flemish production company deMENSEN and the BBC drama series The Fall, directed by Flemish helmer Jakob Verbruggen, are amongst the nominees for this year’s Rockie Awards, presented at the Banff World Media Festival (8-11 June).

Plankton InvasionPlankton Invasion zooms in on a team of miniscule marine creatures, plankton, who are in need of more space – or water – and therefore concoct a plan to take over the world. Their mission is to warm up the planet so that the polar ice melts and all land is drowned. Three specimens are sent ashore to fight for their species’ supremacy, but they are not very well informed, organised or smart.

The series is the first to tackle the serious subject of climate change, although through a comedy angle, and was given UNESCO’s ‘United Nations Decade of Education and Sustainable Development’ label. Vivi Film, Team TO and Tinkertree coproduced Plankton Invasion, which is nominated in the Rockie Awards category for Best Animation.

Safety First, a sitcom about four nitwits who run their own security company but excel in incompetence, received a nomination in the category Best Sitcom. The show was developed and produced by Tim Van Aelst of Flemish powerhouse Shelter, known for its formats Benidorm Bastards (Betty White’s Off Their Rockers) and What if?. At the Rockies, Safety First is joined by acclaimed sitcoms such as Arrested Development and The Big Bang Theory.

The Perfect Couple, a prime time entertainment quiz that aired on Flanders’ public broadcaster’s main channel één, is competing in the Music & Variety section of the competition. Developed by production company deMENSEN (Channel vs Channel, How To, May I Kiss You), it’s the ultimate relationship test. Each week, one couple is separated and only reunited after 48 hours, and has to prove how well they know each other.

Finally, there’s also Jakob Verbruggen (Code 37) who directed the BBC’s hit crime serial The Fall, now nominated for Best Procedural Drama together with top-notch series such as The Bridge and Luther. Not your traditional whodunit, The Fall presents Jamie Dornan (Flying Home, Fifty Shades of Grey) as serial killer Paul Spector who's on a killing spree in Belfast. Detective Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) is brought in from the London Metropolitan Police to track down the killer.

The Rockie Awards competition is one of the most renowned contests for television and digital media from around the world. Over 250 professionals chose this year’s 156 nominees in 26 categories. Last year, Jan Matthys’ Quiz Me Quick won a Rockie for Best Sitcom and Best Entertainment, while the sketch show What if? was presented with the award for Best Comedy. Previous nominees from Flanders also include Lucky 6, How To and Away to Compostella.

The animated series Plankton Invasion could count on the support of the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF). A second season received support through the VAF/Media Fund of Flemish Minister of Media Ingrid Lieten.

Published on Wednesday 7 May 2014