London-based production companies TransAtlantic Films and Cafe Productions have created a spin-off enterprise called TransAtlantic Cafe. Helmed by CEO and exec producer Justin Albert, the joint-venture will initially concentrate on long-running and U.S. series, and will gradually progress into international coproductions. ‘We’re pooling our executive talent and our resources together to be able to get bigger and better commissions,’ says Albert. ‘Collectively, we can double the amount of work we do. It’s the old adage: two plus two doesn’t equal four, it equals six.’
Both TransAtlantic Films and Cafe Productions will continue to produce projects independently of TransAtlantic Cafe, which will have a fully staffed office in Washington D.C. – a location that brings the company close to targeted outlets, such as PBS, Discovery, and National Geographic. It will be financed by both parent companies equally, as well as by incoming projects. Albert is hoping to produce close to 40 hours in the coming year.
Further changes at Cafe Productions came with the recent resignation of head of programs and partner Simon Nasht. Nasht, who started with the company in 1997, has joined forces with director Jonathan Stack, founder of Gabriel Films in N.Y., to create an internet venture titled Gabriel City. ‘The motivation is, we spend so much time dealing with the effects of the films we’ve been making, that we had to find a sensible way of dealing with that,’ says Nasht. ‘There’s no doubt that around the world, films with a big impact make an impression on people, and TV offers them no where to go.’
Stack, whose past projects include Academy Award nominated films The Farm: Angola, USA and The Wildest Show in the South has been inundated with requests for information on the people featured in his films. ‘What we’ll do is provide
a forum for those people – not just for our own films but potentially for other filmmakers with issues-led, controversial films – to have a space for ongoing dialogue,’ explains Nasht. ‘It will modestly build, we hope, as a place for lots of documentary makers. A virtual city for discussion. That’s why it’s called Gabriel City.’
The forthcoming website will be an extension of gabrielfilms.com and is being designed to launch once broadband becomes common and available, indicating they intend to provide a content rich site. Nasht says he and Stack are ‘well down the line’ in discussions with financial partners for the broadband component, and have already struck a deal with Michael Ovitz of L.A.-based Artist Management Group to work together on projects they find mutually interesting.