From reenactments to reunions… it’s the latest projects from So Television and Indigo Productions.
Back to the future
Nostalgia sells. This has been proven by everything from VH1 specials, The Surreal Life and Bands Reunited, to fictional comedies such as That 70s Show, Freaks and Geeks and even, to some extent, Family Guy and The Simpsons have all benefited (or continue to benefit) from an audience who enjoys old pop cultural references.
London-based prodco So Television’s latest projects reflect this love of making all things old new again. The company’s Bring Back… series sees British comedian Justin Lee Collins setting out to find the cast of old television shows and movies to reunited them and see how they get on these twenty to forty years later. His most recent challenge is to find the cast of Fame and see if he can’t get them to dance in the street for old-times-sake. So’s head Graham Stuart gives away a little about the 90-minute special when he says the reunion, which airs next month on Channel 4, culminates in a street jam, but he’s tight lipped about the second Bring Back… project which focuses on Star Trek. Given the very prominent rumors that Shatner is, shall we say, unpopular with the rest of the cast, it will be interesting to see what magic Collins can weave here. ‘In Star Trek it’s a much more complex job in getting them all together,’ says Stuart. ‘But Justin does an amazing job and it’s a very exciting.’ Star Trek is due to air in spring 2009.
Another project the prodco has on the go is a joint online-television project with Channel 4′s educational schedule called Yeardot. The project follows 15 young people online, each who are at pivotal points in the process of trying to achieve a major goal in their lives. From a striving comedian to an aspiring footballer to a hopeful politician to an ex-homeless man trying to stay off the street, each character is followed in observational documentary style while they vie to meet their goal within the year they are being filmed. Through videos of each young person in their daily lives, RSS feeds and each subject’s personal MySpace pages, Yeardot connects the audience to each character asking which character they would most like to help and support. The project launched in the summer of 2008 and will run until summer 2009 online, while So Television also produces a television series off the back end. The second and third seasons of the series are currently in production, with the second airing in early 2009 and the third in 2010.
Catch me if you can
The Leonard DiCaprio/Tom Hanks vehicle was a relatively well-received film when it came out in 2002, and David Frank, President of Indigo Films feels that the dramatic true stories of criminals who nearly got away will once again draw audiences. The San Francisco-based prodco is currently in production on a thirteen episode series that looks at criminals who managed to usurp the law for, in some cases, twenty-plus years before finally getting chased down by persistent law enforcement officers. In order to make the tentatively titled I Almost Got Away With It for Investigation Discovery, the team at Indigo had to write letters to dozens of inmates and then wait for snail mail responses in order to get the permission of thirteen to start filming their stories. ‘That became a challenge from a production standpoint,’ says Frank, ‘because once they give permission the different prisons have different rules and they’re pretty strict in a lot of States.’ The company canvassed the country to find the most intense and incredible stories of criminals on the lam, and in some cases ended up hearing back from unexpected people. ‘It’s interesting, sometimes we’ll get a letter from somebody we didn’t send a letter to and it’ll say ‘The guy down in cell block C mentioned your show to me and I have a great story for you.” Each story will be told through interviews with the convicts, mini recreations of the crime and interviews with law enforcement who were involved in the case. Indigo will begin delivering rough cuts of the program in January and expect the entire series to wrap by the summer.
The real Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Following the footsteps of Mark Twain when he was a young bohemian reporter, the feature doc Innocents Abroad: Mark Twain’s Adventures In The Holy Land recreates Twain’s travels on the world’s first pleasure cruise that took him through Europe and Isreal in the early part of his career. Made in time for the 100th anniversary of his death, which is coming up in 2010, Indigo Films’ documents this little known chapter of the author’s life that lead to the creation of his first bestseller, The Innocents Abroad. The first feature film from the prodco is due to wrap in March of 2009.