Australian production company Essential Media Group (EMG) has formed a joint venture with Wellington-based film and TV indie Libertine Pictures to open a production hub in New Zealand.
To launch the newly-minted division, New Zealand broadcaster Prime has commissioned Essential Media Group NZ to produce a series fronted by travel enthusiast and writer Griff Rhys Jones (pictured).
Griff’s Kiwi Adventures (4 x 60 minutes) traces Jones as he explores modern day New Zealand by meeting with locals and visiting its landscapes, while also witnessing the impact and relevance of traditional Maori heritage. The journey begins in the Bay of Islands at the top of the North Island and travels to Fiordland at the base of the South Island.
International sales for Griff’s Kiwi Adventures will be handled by Kew Media Distribution.
“Libertine Pictures is delighted to be joining forces with Essential Media to share expertise and build a new and exciting New Zealand production company,” said Libertine Pictures MD Richard Fletcher in a statement. “It is fitting to kick off the new venture with such an entertaining and distinctive take on New Zealand. We are looking forward to working with a partner with the depth of experience of Essential Media and such a recognised talent as Griff Rhys Jones.”
Essential Media Group was recently commissioned by Australian pubcaster ABC for Griff Off the Rails: Down Under (6 x 60 minutes), which features Jones as he explores Australia via its iconic railways. The company also recently co-produced the six-part history series The Pacific in the Wake of Captain Cook with Sam Neill for Foxtel and Prime, in addition to the feature documentary Why ANZAC with Sam Neill for ABC and Maori Television.