Unscripted

Extra: Abacus takes rights to Suge Knight doc; TVF Int’l grows European team

Abacus Media Rights (AMR), part of the Amcomri Media Group, has secured international distribution rights (excluding free TV in the UK) to Nick Broomfield‘s feature-length documentary Last Man Standing: Suge Knight ...
December 7, 2020

Abacus Media Rights (AMR), part of the Amcomri Media Group, has secured international distribution rights (excluding free TV in the UK) to Nick Broomfield‘s feature-length documentary Last Man Standing: Suge Knight and the Murders of Biggie & Tupac.

Originally commissioned by the BBC, the film (pictured) tells the story of infamous Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight, who was recently sentenced to 28 years imprisonment for manslaughter and other violent crimes, and how Los Angeles’ street gang culture came to dominate the record label’s business dealings. The doc also explores Death Row’s association with corrupt LAPD officers who also shared gang affiliations, and the deaths of legendary rappers Tupac Shakur and The Notorious BIG, born Christopher Wallace.

Last Man Standing is produced by South Central Project Limited and is expected to be delivered by January 2021.

BBC2 controller Patrick Holland ordered the film, which was commissioned by Jan Younghusband, head of music TV commissioning.

TVF International expands European team

London-based distributor TVF International has bolstered its ranks through Europe following an organizational restructuring.

Frank Mably will join TVF’s Europe team with oversight of sales to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region. He joins TVF following a record year for the CEE and CIS territories, which director Harriet Armston-Clarke described as “key growth areas” for the indie.

As a result, Katie Bench will now oversee Benelux in addition to Latin America and Iberia sales, while Poppy McAlister will now add responsibility for France to her remit, in addition to Africa and the Nordics.

Mably reports into TVF’s head of sales, Lindsey Ayotte.

Elsewhere, the sales house has penned a raft of deals with broadcasters across the CIS region, with Russia-K, UA:PBC and Digital TV Russia among the networks to acquire space and history titles, including the hour-long special Searching for Light: An Astronomer’s Journey (In-House Films) and Asia’s Ancient Civilizations (4 x 48 minutes; Mediacorp).

Russian Extreme TV, meanwhile, took a 4K package that included the TVF and Tokyovision co-produced series Ocean Wild (4 x 50 minutes) and Ocean Predators (4 x 44 minutes).

In Central Europe, Ceskaslovenska filmova bought a package including the timely 60-minute one-off Fake News: A True History (Wingspan Productions), and true crime series The Big Boss: A 21st Century Criminal (2 x 48 minutes; Mediacorp).

Finally, Winnicki Entertainment took a package deal that included Ageless Gardens (15 x 22 minutes; 291 Film Company) and reality series Destination Vacation (7 x 26 minutes; Liquid Gate Studios), while TVN acquired Caught in the Middle: Hong Kong’s Police Dilemma (1 x 48 minutes; Mediacorp).

Germany commissions Talpa’s Marble Mania 

RTL Germany, the free-to-air channel owned by the RTL Group, has commissioned Marble Mania, the marble adventure racing format from John de Mol’s Talpa Network.

Produced by Talpa Entertainment Productions, each episode of the family format will pit three celebrities against one another in a series of marble races.

Each round will begin with a skills assessment, through bowling, mini golf or “a special version of penalty shooting”. All tasks are done with marbles, and the celebrities must prove their skills in order to win the most marbles to start the second game.

The middle round will see the celebrity whose marble crosses the finish line first earning the most points. The top celeb of the round will receive the most marbles to start in the finale, where the famous faces will compete to win money for a charity of their choice.

A premiere date has not been set for RTL Germany, but Marble Mania is slated to premiere across SBS6 in the Netherlands beginning next month.

De Mol — the creator of such formats as Big Brother and The Voice – is the co-founder of Endemol and Talpa Media, the latter established in 2009 and later sold to ITV in 2015, where it was fully folded into ITV Studios.

His Talpa Network operates four free-to-air TV channels and a Dutch video platform. The company recently released two formats, Split Screen and Hit the Road.

Saloon, Britespark East take the ‘Scenic’ route with new copro

Channel 5 in the UK has commissioned a docuseries on the rivers of Europe and North America, coproduced by Toronto’s Saloon Media and London-based BriteSpark East.

Titled World’s Most Scenic River Journeys, the 6 x 60-minute series will examine the natural history and culture surrounding rivers in both continents, with award-winning actor Bill Nighy (Love Actually, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) attached to narrate. In order to respect travel restrictions, Saloon Media, which is owned by Blue Ant Studios, will produce episodes set in North America, while BriteSpark East, part of the Argonon Group, will handle episodes from Europe.

The series will air on Channel 5 and Blue Ant’s Smithsonian Channel Canada. Blue Ant International will handle licensing for the series outside of the UK and Canada.

Saloon Media co-founder Steve Gamester is an executive producer on the series alongside BriteSpark’s Tom Porter and series producer Helen White. Channel 5 commissioning editor Daniel Pearl will oversee the series for the UK channel while Sam Linton, head of original content at Blue Ant Media, will oversee for Smithsonian Channel Canada.

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