One year after inking a development and distribution deal with U.K. distrib ITEL/Granada International, Maryland-based JWM Productions has further strengthened ties across the Atlantic with the appointment of a London-based head of development, Lucy McDowell. Before joining JWM, McDowell worked for Mandalay Media Arts in Los Angeles. Just over a month into her new position, she is already up to speed on JWM?s pre-production and development slate.
Buzz of Empire is a 3 x 60-minute series about the global impact of three everyday stimulants ? sugar, coffee and tobacco. Generally associated with breaks and relaxation, we sometimes forget that these legal (if not wholly innocuous) substances have shaped wars and colonization the world over. Research and filming will cover the globe, from Ethiopia to England, Manhattan to Morocco. The budget is expected to be in the US$325,000 range.
Taboo, also a 3 x 60-minute series, explores the science of forbidden practices and the parameters of human behavior. For example, why is it acceptable to eat rats in Beijing but not in New York? Why do most North Americans associate the consumption of blood with vampires, while many Africans consider it a normal part of their diets? Budgeted at about $300,000 per hour, Taboowill consider these curious cultural distinctions.
Other productions in development include Chimp Island, a one-hour one-off about the plight of chimps in war-torn Congo and the establishment of an island sanctuary for them (to be produced in partnership with United Productions and Animal Planet); The Natural History of the Rich, a 2 x 60-minute about the animal instincts of the rich and famous as exhibited at work and play (with United Productions); and Realm of Blood, a 60-minute special Mayan archaeology.
All of the above projects are scheduled for production in 2001.
JWM recently delivered Treasure Seekers, a 13 x 60-minute high definition series, to National Geographic Television. The program will constitute part of the lineup for NGT?s U.S. launch in January.