Extra: HGTV to build “Renovation Island”; Natural Studios inks Turner Twins

Corus Studios’ Island of Bryan makes U.S. jump Discovery-owned network HGTV has inked a deal with Toronto’s Corus Studios to acquire seasons one and two of tropical renovation series Island of Bryan (pictured). The series, which ...
May 8, 2020

Corus Studios’ Island of Bryan makes U.S. jump

Discovery-owned network HGTV has inked a deal with Toronto’s Corus Studios to acquire seasons one and two of tropical renovation series Island of Bryan (pictured).

The series, which will be retitled Renovation Island for the U.S. market, follows renovation experts Bryan and Sarah Baeumler as they navigate the challenges of rebuilding and restoring a beachfront resort on the island of Andros in the Bahamas, with their four children in tow.

Renovation Island is slated to premiere on HGTV in the U.S. on June 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Renovation Island is produced by Si Entertainment in association with Corus Entertainment’s HGTV Canada. The deal was brokered by Rita Carbone Fleury for Corus Studios.

The Natural Studios signs up the Turner Twins

The Natural Studios, the production outfit founded by survivalist Bear Grylls, has penned a deal to bring British adventurers Hugo and Ross Turner to the small screen.

Under the deal, the Turner Twins will be featured in a number of productions that will find the pair in “precarious outdoor survival scenarios” for television audiences. Development is currently underway in partnership with Banijay Group’s London-based RDF Television on several projects for UK and U.S. broadcasters.

The Natural Studios’ Bear Grylls and Delbert Shoopman, RDF Television’s Dan Barraclough and the Turner Twins will spearhead development on all projects, which will be developed in line with ongoing global COVID-19 restrictions.

The Turner Twins have undergone a host of world-first expeditions to aid medical and scientific research. The two explorers have rowed the Atlantic Ocean, climbed Mount Elbrus in Southern Russia, and reached the Australian, North and South American and Iberian Poles.

The siblings have previously partnered with Banijay Asia in India on Into the Wild.

The Natural Studios is a joint venture between co-CEOs Bear Grylls and Delbert Shoopman and Banijay Group.

TVF Int’l strikes deals for COVID-19 docs

Indie factual distributor TVF International has secured sales with global broadcasters for a number of COVID-19 documentaries.

Spain’s RTVE, Australia’s ABC and Denmark’s DR have picked up Coronavirus: How the World is Changing (1 x 47-minutes; Britespark Films for Channel 4), about the long-term economic and social impact of the pandemic.

Britespark Films is also producing What It’s Like to Catch Coronavirus? (1 x 47 minutes), which documents the experiences of people across the UK diagnosed with COVID-19, for Channel 4. TVF International is distributing the special.

Stronger: A Battle Against COVID-19 (1 x 44 minutes), meanwhile, investigates Singapore’s success at stopping the spread of the virus, and has been picked up by YLE Finland, RTS Switzerland, ABC Australia, Al Arabiya Middle East, Enjoy Culture Taiwan, TVP Poland, Fox India and Alexander Street Press.

Elsewhere, science-focused Race Against the Pandemic (1 x 48 minutes) was licensed by Fox Channels Latin America and India, Al Hurra Middle East, Enjoy Culture Taiwan, TVP Poland and Alexander Street Press.

Syndicado to release docs on VOD this June

Toronto film and TV distributor Syndicado is releasing four documentaries on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play and Vimeo in North America this June.

Pia Hellenthal’s Searching Eva (special mention, DOX:Award, CPH:DOX 2019), which tells the provocative story of a young woman who uses the Internet to share her life in the public eye, premieres first June 2.

Next up, Maryam Zaree’s Born in Evin (winner, Berlinale 2019 – Compass Perspektive Award) premieres June 9. The film follows Zaree as she examines the violent circumstances surrounding her birth inside a notorious political prison in Iran.

Elsewhere, Jaak Kilmi and Gints Grube’s My Father the Spy (official selection, Sheffield Doc/Fest) will premiere June 16.

The film follows translator and literary journalist Ieva Lešinska-Geibere who, many years after defecting with her father from Latvia to the U.S. in 1978, sets out to retrace the accounts of their past, confronting family secrets, lies and betrayal.

Finally, Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin’s 2019 Tribeca Film Festival Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award winner Scheme Birds is set to debut June 30. The film is a coming of age tale of Gemma, a soon-to-be mother on the verge of adulthood in a fading steel town in Scotland.

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