Extra: Australian orgs call for support; Passion Distribution opens Pop-Up Market

Screen Producers Australia, guilds, MEAA seek support Organizations representing Australia’s indie producers, directors, writers, casts and crews wrote to the government Friday (March 20) seeking “urgent” support for the region’s screen ...
March 20, 2020

Screen Producers Australia, guilds, MEAA seek support

Organizations representing Australia’s indie producers, directors, writers, casts and crews wrote to the government Friday (March 20) seeking “urgent” support for the region’s screen industry.

Those organizations include the Australian Directors’ Guild, Australian Writers’ Guild, Screen Producers Australia, and the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance.

The letter calls on officials to “recalibrate” support announced in the first round of government stimulus to “ensure it is available to sole traders,” meaning that the support would be available to producers, writers, directors, cast and crew impacted by production shutdowns.

It also requested support and redeployment of agency resources to meet costs associated with current delays and shutdowns, and for business investment to “enable retention of core staff and ensure sector employment on content development during a downturn,” in order to ensure the “pilot light is kept burning” and the industry is able to “reactivate quickly.”

Passion Distribution launches Pop-Up Market amid MIPTV cancellation

British distributor Passion Distribution is launching a “Pop-Up Market” following the cancellation of Cannes-based MIPTV.

Headlining the company’s slate is Ocean Autopsy (2 x 60 minutes; Pioneer Production), a landmark BBC special event exploring the state of the world’s oceans; and three-parter Epidemic: The Great Plague (Voltage TV and Motion Content Group for Channel 5), which explores the epidemic that killed a quarter of London’s population in 1665.

Passion Distribution will also launch two new factual series: Danceworks (8 x 30 minutes; Salder’s Wells), a series that goes behind the scenes with dancers and choreographers; and Handmade in Africa (3 x 30 minutes; ClearStory), a docuseries that offers “in-depth portraits” of contemporary African creative life.

Elsehwere, Middlechild Productions and Passion Distribution have also struck a deal for a number of factual series for Channel 5: Fare Dodgers: At War With the Law (4 x 60 minutes); Help! My Pet Hates Me (1 x 60 minutes); and The Dog Rescuers (16 x 60 minutes; co-produced with Motion Content Group).

The distributor also picked up Motorway (4 x 60 minutes; Fearless TV for Channel 5).

Also produced for Channel 5, How To Deep Clean Your House (1 x 60 minutes) sees a typical family home tested and deep cleaned from top to bottom. Inside the Police Force, meanwhile, is a 4 x 60-minute series that goes inside Lincolnshire’s busiest police station (Mentorn Media for Channel 5).

Finally, Miriam’s Big Fat Adventure (2 x 60 minutes; Wild Pictures for BBc2) sees host Miriam Margolyes investigate obesity.

Additional titles rounding out the Pop-Up Market, previously announced in February, are: #Trump: How Social Media Changed the Presidency (1 x 60-minutes; Pioneer Productions); The Great British Urine Test (1 x 90-minutes; Firecracker Films for Channel 5); and RuPaul’s Drag Race (season 12; 14 x 90 minutes; World of Wonder for VH1).

Other previously announced shows include: Dynamo: Beyond Belief (3 x 60 minutes; MotionContent Group, Phil McIntyre Entertainments and Inner Circle Films for Sky1); Future Warfare (4 x 60 minutes; Wildbear Entertainment); Frontline Police 24/7 (12 x 60 minutes; Workerbee for Channel 5); and Twice the Life for Half the Price (6 x 60 minutes; Raise the Roof and Motion Content Group for Channel 5).

TCB Media Rights launches factual titles

London-based distributor TCB Media Rights has greenlit two factual titles and acquired a new paranormal series from BGM.

Hitler’s Supercars (1 x 60 minutes; Wiser Films) explores German car manufacturing during the second world war. The film has pre-sold to Channel 4 in the UK. 

Executive produced by Wiser Films co-founders Tas Brooker and Jim Wiseman, with Hannah Demidowicz and Nicola Davey for TCB, the film tells the “untold story behind Hitler’s supercars.”

Extreme Ice Machines (pictured), all about machines made for extreme weather, is an 8 x 60-minute series produced by Canadian prodco Architect Films. An undisclosed U.S. network has joined the project through a pre-sale.

Exec producers on the series are Architect Film’s Tanya Linton, Mike Sheerin and Cara Volchoff alongside TCB’s Demidowicz.

Elsewhere, TCB has picked up the rights to Paranormal Nightshift (13 x 60 minutes), the latest series in BGM’s strand of paranormal shows. The title has been pre-sold to Travel Channel in the U.S. and Blue Ant Media’s T+E channel in Canada.

Paranormal Nightshift tells the stories of night workers who have encountered “ghosts, demons and other inexplicable phenomena in the workspace.”

Harbour Rights introduces docs, series 

Following the cancellation of MIPTV, Hong Kong-based Harbour Rights is bringing a number of new titles to market.

The company brings two documentaries, shot in France, to Asia: The Bridges of Paris (2 x 45 minutes) and The Challenge of Bridge Maintenance (1 x 52 minutes).

In the crime category, the 52-minute film The Color of Justice tells the story of Eric Garner, who died after being violently arrested by the New York City police; and Instant Badass (1 x 52-minutes), meanwhile, reveals the story of the men behind the first Bangkok’s street fight clubs; while the mechanical engineering series Aviator (2 x 52-minutes), offers a journey into “extraordinary aircrafts” and “passionate pilots.”

The company is also introducing history series Legends of Europe (10 x 52-minutes); and travel show Putiphar Travel Guide (10 x 52-minutes).

Additional 52-minute documentaries include Toys for Grown-Ups, Naked City and How French Women Like It.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.