News round-up: Blast! Films restructures; Eccho signs Born Wild deal; ZDFE’s ‘Great Inventions’ sells; IMDb extends SPT’s ‘Alex Rider’
Blast! Films rejigs with Blakeway’s Jago Lee
Sky-backed producer Blast! Films has rejigged its senior team, with creative directors James O’Reilly and David Hodgkinson stepping down.
Tanya Winston is moving from executive producer to become creative director alongside Graeme McAulay, currently creative executive at The Garden.
Elsewhere, Jago Lee is leaving fellow UK outfit Blakeway to take the new role of director of factual at Blast! Films. He will join the company later this year with a remit to spearhead new US and UK factual programmes.
O’Reilly and Hodgkinson, meanwhile, will be stepping down to pursue new projects and opportunities, Blast! said. Hodgkinson will remain with the company until the end of March to deliver the current series he has in production, while O’Reilly will depart at the end of the year.
In recent months, Blast! Films has won a number of new commissions on both sides of the Atlantic. Earlier this year the company picked up an RTS Award and a Broadcast Award for Jade: The Reality Star Who Changed Britain which is also up for Best Historical Documentary and Best Documentary Series at the Grierson Awards next month.
Ed Coulthard, Founder and CEO of Blast! Films, said: “This is an exciting chance for us to refresh and reinvent the company as we continue to expand and work with the best creative talent in the business. Tanya and Graeme are amongst the most respected premium documentary execs in British television and Jago is a creative force of nature with an amazing track record in developing brilliant series for the US and the UK. As the TV landscape evolves, this is a team that will make sure Blast! continues to be a watchword for programme making of the highest quality on both sides of the Atlantic. And I’m looking forward to celebrating Jim and David’s amazing contribution to Blast! over the past decade – which I couldn’t overestimate.”
New Blast! Co-Creative Director, Graeme McAulay, said: “There are very few companies that manage to combine the creative ambition and consistently high production values that Blast! does. I’ve been a huge admirer of the company’s output for many years and I can’t wait to get to work with the brilliant team there.”
Tanya Winston, newly appointed Co-Creative Director at Blast! Films, said: “I’ve had a brilliant three years at Blast! It is a company with such a clear sense of purpose and a fantastic and very loyal team and I’m thrilled to be taking on a bigger role within the company.”
Jago Lee, newly appointed Director of Factual at Blast! Films, said: “Blast! are unusual in having such a wide range of programming from returning Feature Series to Feature Docs both here and in the US. I’m really keen to help build on their relationships with cable, SVOD and UK broadcasters, and help the company plot an exciting new chapter.”
Eccho strikes output deal with Born Wild
International distributor Eccho Rights has signed an output deal with UK-based production company Born Wild, which will see the two companies work together on developing drama series.
Born Wild is headed by producer Anthony Alleyne, whose debut movie Sunburn, was released earlier this year on VOD in North America and Canada, and who is repped by The Gersh Agency.
Eccho Rights and Born Wild are working on a number of titles which already have international co-production partners in place. Among them are The Crystal Isle – a drug smuggling dark black comedy, based on a true story, and backed by national broadcaster RTP in Portugal; One Euro Village, a mockumentary focused on an Italian village selling dilapidated homes for €1 to stay alive, and Ezequiel Himes, a post-apocalyptic spaghetti western featuring telepathic undead, based on a graphic novel by Victor Santos and Alberto Hernandez.
Also in development is Red Swamp, a thriller set in the Finnish Swamps, where a group of French explorers investigating a new world unveiled by melting arctic glaciers, discover that they have become prey.
‘Great Inventions’ sells
Factual series Great Inventions has been sold to broadcasters across Europe, following a slew of deals with distributor ZDF Enterprises.
Produced by Off The Fence, Doc Station, World Media Rights and K22 for ZDF Enterprises, the 35 x 50-minutes series looks behind the scenes at everyday objects and major innovations we use daily and discovers their sometimes bizarre, mysterious or even accidental origins.
It has been picked by SVT in Sweden, TV Kultura in Russia, AMC Chello for Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, Telefonica Audiovisual Digital in Spain, Servus TV in Austria and ZDF.info in Germany.
Ralf Rueckauer, VP of ZDFE.unscripted at ZDF Enterprises, said The series, a salute to mankind’s ingenuity, has a wide appeal because it covers the ordinary, the familiar, then takes you on an entertaining and informative journey into how these things came to be.”