Tuvalu Entertainment, the 360° indie set up by former Endemol board member Paul Johnson (pictured), is heading to MIPDoc next week with Innovators That Changed The World, its first original production.
The London-based company has teamed up with Loaded Media to produce a 22-minute pilot episode for the planned 10-part historical docu-drama, which will launch in Cannes. The pilot is narrated by James Earl Jones (Earth) and directed by Michael and Nick Regalbuto, the sons of actor Joe Regalbuto (Murphy Brown).
The series looks at influential figures throughout history, with the first episode focusing on Auguste and Louis Lumière and the invention of modern cinema. Talking to realscreen, Johnson said: “The series will look at innovators from the 1600s to the present day, and will feature visual richness and cinematic depth on the same level as a theatrical release.”
He added that he was already in conversation with several broadcasters, and hoped to finalize a TV deal in France.
In addition to Innovators, Tuvalu is developing a number other of projects, including a drama TV series; a narrative feature film based on an autobiography; a 3D Imax documentary, which is also being directed by the Regalbuto brothers; and a digital drama production.
Johnson set up Tuvalu Entertainment last year, having previously served as global head of marketing and brand partnerships at Endemol for little over a year, from January 2009 to March 2010. Before joining Endemol, he was Reed Midem’s director of MIPTV and MIPCom in Paris.
Tuvalu shares its name with the country in the Pacific Ocean, which is aiming to become 100% sustainable in energy, water and food by 2020. The country’s government controls all global rights to the Tuvalu name and has exclusively licensed IP rights for Tuvalu Entertainment to Johnson.
In return, Johnson’s indie plans to invest 10% of its pre-tax earnings into special projects on the islands of Tuvalu, in a bid to reduce the effects of climate change.
In related news, Johnson’s former employer Endemol today announced it had acquired a 50% stake in UK-based gossip and entertainment website Holy Moly, for an undisclosed sum.
The partnership will see Holy Moly expand into new areas including TV, music, film and fashion. The two firms will also work together to develop multi-platform entertainment ideas and launch the site in new markets internationally.