Extra: Kew Media acquires Sienna Films; HBO streams into CEE

HBO launches streaming service in CEE HBO has launched a director-to-consumer offering in four Central European countries. The network’s HBO Go service, which contains its library of original series, films, docs, movies ...
November 13, 2017

HBO launches streaming service in CEE

HBO has launched a director-to-consumer offering in four Central European countries.

The network’s HBO Go service, which contains its library of original series, films, docs, movies and kids’ programming, will now be available in Hungary, Romania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

“HBO Go via affiliates is already a huge success in Central Europe, but our goal is to make it even easier for the many series lovers in these countries to access HBO’s premium content,” said Hervé Payan, CEO HBO Europe, in a statement. “The launch of HBO Go direct to consumers in Central Europe is a natural step for us after successful launches of HBO streaming services in Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland.”

Pictured: HBO’s A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness

Kew Media acquires Sienna Films

Toronto-based media conglomerate Kew Media has acquired Sienna Films.

According to a release announcing the deal, the acquisition marks Kew Media’s formal entry into scripted production. “Sienna introduces a strong new mix of content into the company, laying a solid foundation for continued scripted growth,” the release states.

Headed up by Julia Sereny and Jennifer Kawaja, Sienna is behind the recent hit drama Cardinal, which airs on CTV and was greenlit for an additional two seasons after it debuted last January, and Global’s Ransom, which is currently in production on season two and which has sold to more than 100 territories worldwide. The prodco is also well known for its features, including Touch of Pink and How She Move. 

Kew paid CAD$3 million for the prodco, which was launched in 1992.

The deal marks Kew’s second acquisition in as many months, after the company bought U.K.-based unscripted distributor TCB Media Rights in October. In February, Kew introduced itself to market with a $104 million deal to acquire six production and distribution companies, including Bristow Global Media, Our House Media, Content Media Corporation and Frantic Films.

In its quarterly report released last week, Kew Media reported revenues of $43.3 million, with $29.5 million of that coming from production and $13.8 million from distribution.

Kew Media is led by Blue Ice Group cofounder, Steven Silver, who serves as CEO, and former Alliance Atlantis exec Peter Sussman, who serves as executive chairman.

Copied from Playback

Napa Valley Film Festival unveils award winners

On Saturday evening (Nov. 11), the 7th Annual Napa Valley Film Festival unveiled the festival’s award winners.

The festival, held from Nov. 8 to 12, screened 124 films, including the 18 in NVFF’s core competition categories.

“We applaud our award winners and thank all of this year’s filmmakers for sharing their beautiful stories with us,” said festival co-founder and artistic director Marc Lhormer, in a statement. “It has been a tough road getting to this year’s festival, but what a perfect way to celebrate great storytelling in all its forms and to showcase the strength and resilience of our Napa Valley community.”

Skid Row Marathon, from director Mark Hayes, took home both the Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature, as well as the Audience Award for Favorite Documentary Feature. An honorable mention was given to 40 Years in the Making: The Magic Music Movie. The Tables won the Jury Award for Best Documentary Short, while the Audience Award for Doc Short went to Make It Work: The Idea.

The Special Jury Award for Depth and Grace in Documentary Filmmaking went to The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin — a doc which celebrates Armistead Maupin, an American writer turned gay rights pioneer, whose novels inspired millions to reclaim their lives.

About The Author
Andrew Jeffrey joined Realscreen in 2021 as its news editor. Here, he helps to oversee assignment, reporting and editing for Realscreen's daily newsletter. Prior to his work covering documentary and non-fiction film and TV, he worked as a reporter and associate producer for CBC Edmonton, and as a reporter for The Star Calgary, where he covered daily news on beats such as local and provincial politics, health care and harm reduction, sports and education. His work has appeared in other Canadian news outlets such as TVO, the Edmonton Journal and Avenue Magazine.