Docs

Extra: HBO Max expands to Europe; Fred Media-ITVS Australia partnership

HBO Max entering European market HBO Max will launch in several European countries this fall, premiering in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Spain and Andorra on October 26. The WarnerMedia-owned streaming service will ...
September 8, 2021

HBO Max entering European market

HBO Max will launch in several European countries this fall, premiering in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Spain and Andorra on October 26.

The WarnerMedia-owned streaming service will then expand to 14 more countries as part of its global expansion in 2022, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia, with more territories also planned for next year.

A virtual launch event will be held in October that will detail the content offerings and pricing. HBO Max will be available to new customers as well as existing customers of HBO España, HBO Nordic and HBO Go.

“The unique and exclusive combination of iconic content from Warner Bros., HBO, DC, Cartoon Network, Max Originals, including local productions and more, creates a streaming platform that fans in Europe will love,” said Christina Sulebakk, general manager, HBO Max EMEA, in a release. “We see enormous potential as we roll-out the all-new, supercharged streaming platform across the region.”

UKTV’s Yesterday commissions Black Panthers of WW2 from Like A Shot

Argonon-owned indie prodco Like A Shot will produce a one-off documentary, Black Panthers of WW2 (pictured), for UKTV’s Yesterday channel to air next year during Black History Month.

The 60-minute doc will focus on America’s 761st tank battalion, made up of African-American servicemen, the first U.S. armored unit of its kind to enter combat.

The film will highlight not only the unit’s battlefield honors but also the racism the unit faced from its own fellow soldiers, highlighting the little-known Battle of Bamber Bridge in Lincolnshire, England. The segregation in the U.S. army didn’t go over well in the UK, with Black U.S. servicemen welcomed in the local pubs. Violence erupted in 1943 when white U.S. military police tried to arrest a Black American soldier, leading to a gun battle that left one man dead and several injured.

Black Panthers of WW2 will be narrated by David Harewood and will also be available on UKTV’s on-demand service UKTV Play. BossaNova Media has secured the international rights and will distribute the film. The doc was executive produced by Steve Gilham for Like A Shot Entertainment and directed by Farrah Jaufuraully. The pre-investment deal was brokered by Daniel Thomas, global acquisitions manager for UKTV and BBC Studios.

Fred Media partners with ITV Studios Australia

Australian-based distributor Fred Media has formed a partnership with prodco ITV Studios Australia to acquire two access-driven documentary series, Inside Central Station: Australia’s Busiest Railway, and Australia Behind Bars.

Inside Central Station: Australia’s Busiest Railway (10 x 60 minutes) is an immersive obs-doc series following the behind-the-scenes challenges in the operation of Sydney Trains. The series premieres on SBS on September 12.

Australia Behind Bars (8 x 60 minutes), reveals what really goes on in three of Australia’s toughest prisons, and is billed as an Australian television first. The series promises unprecedented access to prison officers and inmates. The series was commissioned by Nine Network.

The two new series from ITVSA will lead Fred Media’ fall slate, joining new titles from parent company WTFN as well as Stripe Studios, Tastemade, MWC Productions, CheekyMac Productions and Haciyatmaz Films.

“We are delighted to partner with Fred on these new titles,” said David Mott, ITV Studios Australia’s CEO, in a release. “Both Inside Central Station: Australia’s Busiest Railway and Australia Behind Bars have been real passion projects for our business and, while uniquely Australian, the themes and stories they convey are universal. I am delighted for them now to be starting their journey around the globe.”

Knowledge Network slates docuseries on British Columbia history

British Columbian pubcaster Knowledge Network has announced a docuseries on the history of the Canadian province, British Columbia: An Untold History.

The four-part docuseries promises an “unflinching” look at B.C.’s complex history, told from a variety of perspectives. The series is described as a more inclusive and diverse telling of B.C. history, featuring authors, historians, Elders, and descendants of historical figures and including the stories of Indigenous, Chinese, Japanese, Punjabi, Black and European British Columbians.

The series will premiere on Knowledge Network on Tuesdays from October 12 to November 2 at 9 p.m. PT and will also be available to stream for free across Canada at www.knowledge.ca and on the Knowledge Network app.

British Columbia: An Untold History is executive produced by Screen Siren Pictures’ Trish Dolman and produced by Leena Minifie from Stories First Productions. The series is commissioned by Knowledge Network, and written and directed by Kevin Eastwood. Development of the series emphasized inclusion and equity from the selection of commentators to hiring protocols, ensuring a more diverse crew.

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