Warner Bros. Discovery, Media Trust partner on Black Britain Unspoken initiative
Warner Bros. Discovery has partnered with UK charity Media Trust on a new initiative, Black Britain Unspoken, that will allow selected Black creatives to pitch, produce and release their projects via Discovery+ and certain WBD digital and linear channels during the UK’s Black History Month in October.
Intended to address the historic underrepresentation of Black filmmakers in director, writer and producer roles within the UK industry, the initiative aims to discover new Black talent and provide Black creatives the opportunity to work with industry professionals from the pitching stage right through to post-production.
Applicants can submit their proposals for short-form projects from today (May 9) until June 6, and shortlisted applicants will then be invited to pitch their projects to a panel of executives and decision-makers. Five pitches will be selected to move into production, with full funding supplied by Warner Bros. Discovery UK.
Warner Bros. Discovery will be represented on the committee by Simon Downing, SVP of marketing and head of factual & docs; Clare Laycock, SVP of planning & insights and head of entertainment; and Emma Cassidy, director of creative services. Also on the panel are Daisy Church, screen industry program manager for Media Trust; Joanna Boateng, producer at Minnow Films and Concordia Studio; and Leon Oldstrong, film director at Solaris2 Media.
“We are delighted to launch Black Britain Unspoken with the Media Trust, aiming to break down some of the barriers that Black British creatives face entering our industry,” said WBD’s Downing. “By creating an initiative that gives access to the end-to-end process of pitching, creating and launching content, we hope that Black Britain Unspoken will not only showcase diverse talent and stories, but also provide Black creatives trying to break through with an opportunity to share their voice.”
“We hope the Black Britain Unspoken initiative will continue to elevate and offer opportunities to our network of emerging talent from underrepresented backgrounds,” added the Media Trust’s Church. “We are acutely aware how much talent there is in Britain and the need to support this talent in telling their own — and others’ — stories.”
Vice Distribution inks deal with South African broadcaster e.TV
Vice Distribution, the global distribution and licensing arm of Vice Media Group, has announced a partnership with South African broadcaster e.TV. The agreement will see more than 400 hours of non-fiction content from Vice available on the national free-to-air broadcaster across South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.
The titles made available under the deal span all non-scripted genres from entertainment to feature docs, as well as lifestyle programming and true crime. Shows that will be on offer to e.TV viewers include Vice franchises like Dark Side of the Ring, Most Expensivest, Black Market and F*** That’s Delicious, as well as the feature documentary The Big Squeeze (about the Gamestop market drama) and the true-crime docuseries Betraying the Badge, about cops that go bad.
“Vice’s unparalleled, diverse range of programming and unique voice has found a fantastic home in South Africa. We look forward to working with e.TV in forging a profound and long-term partnership in the region,” said Bea Hegedus, global head of distribution for Vice, in a news release.
Lineup’s Long Lost Family bound for Australia
Global indie distributor Lineup Industries has signed a package deal with Australian pubcaster ABC that will see the Long Lost Family format on the channel beginning this month.
ABC has acquired the first eight seasons of the original UK series, which gives a last chance to people desperate to find long-lost relatives. ABC has also picked up the first three seasons of the UK follow-up series Long Lost Family: What Happened Next.
Long Lost Family has proven to be an evergreen global format juggernaut for both local versions and tape sales. Over the course of two decades on the air, the format has been produced for channels including TLC in the U.S., NPO 1 in the Netherlands, Nelonen in Finland, TV4 in Sweden, Reshet in Israel, Ten in Australia, DR in Denmark, and ITV in the UK.
“This format is one of the longest-running on the market and continues to go from strength to strength, consistently winning and retaining audiences,” said Lineup Industries founder Julian Curtis in a release. “We’re seeing significant demand for tape alongside local remakes, which is testament to how it remains one of the best-performing factual entertainment shows in the market. The UK version is a flagship show — in demand in many international territories — and the soon-to-be-available rights to the U.S. version will continue to bolster the brand.”
(With files from Justin Anderson)