FilmRise Inks Distribution Deal With Reel One Entertainment

FilmRise signed a distribution agreement with Reel One Entertainment. The deal covers a package of 15 romantic comedy films as well as the licensing of an additional 100 made-for-TV movies and series.

FilmRise will highlight five recently completed original films, including A Picture Perfect Wedding and A Wedding to Remember, to broadcast and digital platforms. The New York-based film and television studio and streaming network will serve as the exclusive distributor in the U.S for the licensed made-for-TV movies and series, which includes more than 100 titles, from female-fronted thrillers to family-friendly crime dramas such as Detective McLean (pictured).

Danny Fisher, CEO of FilmRise, remarked, “We are excited to bring these films and TV series to our digital partners and the FilmRise Streaming Network.  Feel-good movies have made networks successful over many years, and now more than ever, they have become comfort-viewing for audiences during these challenging times.”

Tom Berry, CEO of Reel One, said, “Reel One is happy to be in business with FilmRise, a company building from strength in digital distribution.  We hope that this is just the beginning.”


‘Fauda’ Scribe Sets Thriller ‘Band of Spies’ With Reel One, Capa Drama, Ananey

Work is underway on “Band of Spies,” an international co-production that will tell the stories of the Israeli Mossad agents responsible for hunting down members of the Palestinian terror group Black September, following the 1972 Munich Olympics terrorist attack.

The series comes from Amir Mann, head writer on the second season of YES and Netflix’s Israeli drama “Fauda,” and director of two seasons of Netflix’s “Greenhouse Academy.”

Reel One Entertainment and Capa Drama have teamed with Israeli media group Ananey Communications and its subsidiary prodco Nutz to develop and co-produce the show, which is being worked up as an eight-parter.

“Band of Spies” will balance the viewpoints of the Israeli and Palestinian sides. Set against the backdrop of a fast-changing 1970s Europe, it will focus on the Mossad agents and their targets, as they unknowingly change the face of global politics.

“In today’s television market there is hunger for real-world stuff, spy stories and period [drama],” Mann told Variety. “This is about the start of using worldwide media for terrorism and impacting world opinion, and governments starting to do targeted assassinations.”

The story is set in countries including Israel, Lebanon, France, Germany, Greece and Italy, and is expected to be a multi-language project. It will be an ensemble drama with a focus on two or three characters from the Israeli and Palestinian sides. Mann said the Munich story and its aftermath could span several seasons and there is potential to then continue the series by following events from the 1980s and 1990s.

The drama marks the first collaboration between Capa Drama, the French shingle behind “Versailles” and “Braquo,” and Reel One, which has bases in the U.K. and North America and is currently developing series for U.K. and Canadian public broadcasters Channel 4 and CBC. Both firms are owned by production and distribution group Newen.

Reel One and Capa will work with Ananey’s subsidiary Nutz Productions on “Band of Spies.” Orly Atlas-Katz, CEO of Ananey Communications Group, said: “It is with great pleasure that we step into this partnership with Reel One and Capa Drama, as part of establishing a larger presence in the international market, bringing to viewers around the world stories from some of Israel’s most established and prominent writers.”

Via Variety:

Reel One, Element 8 and La Sabotière to Develop Mary Higgins Clark’s Crime Novels

Montreal-based producer and distributor Reel One Entertainment has partnered with U.S. producer Element 8 Entertainment and Paris-based La Sabotière to develop an anthology series based on the novels of American crime writer Mary Higgins Clark.

U.S. screenwriter and author Ilene Rosenzweig, whose credits include “Station 19” and “Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce,” is attached as writer and executive producer.

The first season will be based on Higgins Clark’s novel “I’ll Be Seeing You,” which tells the story of an ambitious young TV journalist who puts her reporting skills to the test when her father goes missing. Higgins Clark’s books are set against the backdrop of downtown Manhattan and the suburbs of New Jersey, and have sold more than 100 million copies in the U.S. alone.

Several of her female-driven thrillers have been adapted as TV movies in the U.S. and France, but this deal marks the first time that a multi-episodic TV series has been developed based on the Mary Higgins Clark franchise.

Each season of the anthology series will be inspired by a different Higgins Clark novel and a different crime. Higgins Clark, 91, has written more than 40 novels and continues to write. “Early in my career I loved watching crime series,” she said. “I enjoyed challenging myself to solve the mystery before it was revealed at the end. I’m delighted that my stories will be used to entertain a new generation of TV crime series fans.”

Rosenzweig commented: “I was into these books growing up because Mary writes characters you want to be: cool women with glamorous jobs and aspirational/cosmopolitan lives who are suddenly thrust into incredibly dangerous situations – and yet remain relatable.”

The series will be produced by Reel One, Element 8 and La Sabotière, with Reel One International handling distribution. The series will shoot in Toronto and New York in 2020.

TV movie producer Reel One recently branched out into scripted TV series. In July 2019, the company was acquired by French production and distribution group Newen.

Los Angeles-based Element 8 recently finished production on crime drama “Miss Scarlet and the Duke” in Ireland for A+E Networks International.

La Sabotière has adapted of Higgins Clark’s novels for French television since 2010.

Via Variety

France’s Newen Acquires Canadian Outfit Reel One

Newen, the Paris-based media company owned by TF1 Group, has acquired a majority stake in Reel One, a leading production and licensing company specializing in TV films for the North American and global markets.

Based in Montreal with offices in London, Los Angeles and Vancouver, Reel One develops, finances, produces and sells TV films and series. The company, whose credits include the series “Detective McLean,” generates 90% of its revenue outside of Canada,  Newen said.

Newen, the maker of costume drama series “Versailles,” is already well-positioned in French-speaking markets with production banners such as Capa Drama and Telfrance. It should benefit from Reel One’s high volume of English-language productions. This year, for instance, Reel One is expected to deliver more than 75 TV movies, including crime thrillers, romantic films and Christmas specials.

Reel One founder and CEO Tom Berry will continue to hold a minority stake in the group and will continue in his role as CEO.

Newen delivers 1,000 hours of programming per year and boasts a catalogue of more than 5,000 hours of programs internationally.

“With our strength in the English-language speaking world and Newen’s impressive portfolio of European scripted content, this is a truly complementary partnership,” said Berry.

Newen previously acquired Nimbus in Denmark, Tuvalu and Pupkin in the Netherlands, and De Mensen in Belgium. It also has a presence in Canada through the animation company BlueSpirit.

Bibiane Godfroid, CEO of Newen, said that “numerous synergies are possible with the group’s companies, and we look forward to developing them with Tom Berry and his teams.”

Reel One is currently working in Britain on an adaptation of “Team Chocolate,” the award-winning drama series produced by De Mensen, and in the U.S. on an adaptation of the Philip K. Dick novella “Second Variety.”

“After Pupkin, Nimbus and De Mensen, the acquisition of Reel One will help to diversify and strengthen our model, notably in English-speaking territories – North America as well as the U.K.,” said Romain Bessi, Newen’s managing director.

Bessi also noted that Reel One “has the advantage of being capable of producing quality content with limited budgets, notably thanks to production subsidies in Canada, and has relationships with all the big free-to-air channels in key markets.”

Reel One’s volumes have experienced double-digit growth recently. The company will now have access to Newen’s vast library of content for remake opportunities.

Bessi said the company would be looking at further opportunities to expand, possibly in Southern European markets such as Spain and Italy.

Newen’s acquisition of Reel One is subject to approval by the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Via Variety:

Reel One Hooks Fisher for Scripted Role

Montreal-based production and distribution company Reel One Entertainment has appointed industry veteran Barbara Fisher as executive VP of scripted content.

She will report to CEO Tom Berry and work closely with Breanne Hartley, executive VP of business affairs, and Sebastian Battro, executive VP of distribution.In her new LA-based role, Fisher will lead the company’s development and production activities across all scripted content, including tele-movies and TV series, and help create and execute the next phase of its growth strategy.

Fisher was most recently senior VP of original programming at cablenet UP TV, before which she held the same role at The Hallmark Channel.

She also previously worked as executive VP of entertainment at A+E Networks-owned Lifetime Channel and was a producer and consultant for National Geographic Entertainment.

Prior to these roles, Fisher spent 15 years at Universal, joining as director of movies and miniseries before eventually becoming president of MCA Television (now NBCUniversal Television Distribution). In addition, Fisher was previously VP of creative affairs at New World Pictures.

“As the company expands and embraces exciting new challenges and opportunities, I am very happy to have Barbara join our team and contributing her formidable talent and expertise in both TV movies and series,” said CEO Tom Berry.

Via C21Media:

Series Mania: First Details on Co-Pro Pitching Project ‘Capturing Big Mouth’

Belgian production company De Mensen, which has just been acquired by France’s Newen, has teamed with Reel One Entertainment on a new cross-continental thriller series, “Capturing Big Mouth.

The series will be pitched Monday at this year’s Series Mania Forum Co-pro Pitching section. It chronicles the unlikely rise and eventual fall of the infamous Somali pirates, based on the true story of Mohammad Abdi Hassan. For a decade Hassan helmed one of Somalia’s most successful pirate gangs, acquiring millions of dollars in ransom payments. In 2013 he declared he had retired, but authorities weren’t ready to just shrug it off, and the U.N., MI5 and the FBI combined on a five-year manhunt leading to Hassan’s eventual capture.

In the series’ fictionalized version of the tale, Belgian counterterrorism officer Peter Van Osselaer and British-Somali former MI6 agent Naomi Abdallah join forces to chase down the pirate leader Big Mouth, who always manages to keep one step ahead of the authorities.

The project was initially developed with De Mensen, which then brought in Reel One as a partner to help develop the series for the international market. The two companies are also working together on an English-language remake of De Mensen’s award-winning series “Tygar Chocolate.”

“Capturing Big Mouth” has a proposed – and substantial – budget of between $1.7 and $2.25 million per episode. According to Reel One’s Dominic Schreiber, the ambitions for the scale of the series are to create something akin to “Narcos” or “Traffik.”

The series was originally developed by writers Hans Van Nuffel and Ahsan Naeem. Naeem had a long and successful career in music before he started writing for film and TV, and has multiple projects currently in development. Van Nuffel’s debut feature, “Adem” (Oxygen), won him a European Film Award. He is currently writing a feature film with Naeem, and recently started working on his first video game.

Reel One is now aiding the writers in expanding the U.K. side of the story, as well as developing a stronger international focus for the series. So far the team has a detailed bible, and the writers are in the process of extensive research with plans to starting the writing process soon.

“We’ve been really lucky in that as well as managing to dig up all the publicly available material (newspaper articles, interviews, podcasts), we’ve had access to several U.N. reports on Somalia which focus on the role the real life version of Big Mouth has played in piracy in the region,” Van Nuffel explained to Variety. “A big help was also being able to talk to some of the key-players involved in investigating Somali piracy worldwide.”

Naeem elaborated: “Nearly all of the characters are based on ‘real’ people, so a lot of the story is pretty accurate even if we have to be clear that the show is ‘inspired by true events.’”

However, he clarified, “We’ve taken creative license in developing the personal relationships between the character known as Big Mouth and the network of people he works with as well his family.  Bringing to life his world in Somalia is something we’re really looking forward to doing.  There’s a richness to the land and the culture which is often overlooked.”

Headquartered in Montreal, and with offices in London, Los Angeles and Vancouver, Reel One has recently branched out from TV film production into scripted series creation. Its series projects also include a high-end adaptation of the Philip K Dick novella “Second Variety”;

60% owned by Newen, in a deal announced late February, De Mensen is one of the largest independent production groups in Belgium, producer of “Hotel Beau Séjour,” a banner Belgium Noir series and winner at 2017’s Series Manis, and of 2018 Canneseries’ competitor “Undercover,” an offbeat dysfunctional crime family drama teaming De Mension with Federation Ent. and Netflix, which co-developed and acquired most territories worldwide.


Via Variety:

Reel One Entertainment teams with Chickenshed to adapt award winning Belgian drama series Tytgat Chocolat for British TV

Leading independent drama producer and distributor Reel One Entertainment has today announced that it will partner with UK theatre company Chickenshed to adapt the award-winning Belgian series Tytgat Chocolat (Team Chocolate) for British TV, after securing the format rights from European distribution company Wild Bunch TV.

The ground-breaking series, which premiered to record-breaking ratings and critical acclaim on Belgian public broadcaster VRT (Eén) last September, tells the heart-warming story of a young man with Down syndrome who travels across Europe to be reunited with the love of his life.  Featuring a diverse cast of actors, the Flemish-language series was named best drama series at the first Diversify TV Excellence Awards during Mipcom last year and also won the Prix Europa in 2017 for best European Fiction Series.

Reel One will work closely with London based Chickenshed, a pioneering and inclusive theatre company, to develop and produce the UK version of the series. Founded in 1974, the theatre company has achieved widespread acclaim for its work with young actors of all backgrounds and abilities and for staging outstanding productions that celebrate diversity and inspire positive change.

Adam Fratto, head of series at Reel One, commented: “Right from the first episode, we were captivated by the warmth, humour and honesty of this charming story of a group of young people wanting to lead their lives on their own terms. We’re thrilled to be working with De Mensen, Wild Bunch and Chickenshed on what promises to be a unique and timely series.”

Part feel-good love story, part comedy road-trip, the original series centres on Jasper Vloemans (played by Jelle Palmaerts), as he starts his first job in a family-run chocolate factory. He soon falls in love with one of his colleagues: Tina, a girl from Kosovo. But when Tina is suddenly deported to her home country, Jasper and his friends set out on a road trip to find her.

 The series was born from a unique collaboration between leading Belgian production company De Mensen, the producers of such acclaimed dramas as Salamander, Hotel Beau Sejour and upcoming Netflix series Undercover, and Theater Stap, a Flanders-based theatre company that works with disabled actors. Actors from the company play many of the lead roles in the show.

Reel One plans to begin pitching UK broadcasters over the coming weeks and is currently in discussions to attach a UK writer.

The development of the series comes at a time when broadcasters are under increasing pressure to increase the representation of disabled people on-screen. According to last year’s provisional report by Project Diamond, set up by the major broadcasters to monitor diversity in the industry, people with disabilities are one of the most under-represented groups on TV, making up just 6.5% of the talent seen on screen and only 5.5% of talent behind the scenes – even though 18% of the national population have a disability.

The deal also continues the expansion of Reel One’s new series business, following the appointments last year of Cleverman exec producer Adam Fratto as SVP of TV series and former Channel 4 exec Dominic Schreiber as Global Drama Executive. Other series in development include a sci-fi series based on the Philip K Dick novella Second Variety, and a number of primetime crime procedurals.

About Reel One

Headquartered in Montreal with offices in London, Los Angeles and Vancouver, Reel One Entertainment develops, finances, produces and distributes commercial scripted programming for a worldwide audience. Founded in 2001 by media entrepreneur Tom Berry, Reel One is one of the most prolific independent producers and distributors in the TV sector. Already a leading provider of television movies, the company has recently branched out into the production and distribution of scripted TV series.

 About Chickenshed

Chickenshed is a pioneering and inclusive theatre company that provides opportunities for young people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to access the performing arts and create outstanding and inspiring theatre that changes lives. Chickenshed runs a professional theatre programme,  children’s and youth theatres for over 800 young people, operates three nationally accredited education courses, engages in community outreach projects. The company has established a growing network of ‘sheds’ across the UK and internationally.

About Wild Bunch TV

WILD BUNCH TV is the department dedicated to TV series of Wild Bunch, the leading pan-European film and TV distribution and production services company. Backed by Wild Bunch label, by its editorial line, and its extensive network in the filmed entertainment business, Wild Bunch TV initiates TV series from all around the world, provides coproduction and financing services, and, finally, distributes and commercializes them worldwide. Wild Bunch TV’s growing line-up includes shows such as the Italian saga starring Richard Madden and Dustin Hoffman Medici: Masters of Florence or the Norwegian show The Oil Fund created by Harald Zwart (The Karate Kid) and recently selected to Series Mania.


Reel One unveils largest ever slate of top rating TV Movies from Hallmark and Lifetime for MIPTV

Leading independent drama producer and distributor Reel One Entertainment will launch its largest ever slate of TV movies at this year’s Mip TV, with over 50 new titles in production for 2018.

Further cementing its position as the leading supplier of TV movies for the US and international market, the company has recently expanded its slate with the addition of five new Hallmark TV movies for 2018, including the recently aired Cooking With Love, as well as two of the channel’s top-rating Christmas movies of 2017, Magical Christmas Ornaments (aka Her Magical Christmas) and A Gift to Remember (aka A Gift for Christmas).

Hallmark’s Christmas movies dominate ratings in the US and are now finding a growing international audience. A Gift to Remember averaged a 3.5 HH rating and 3.9 million Total Viewers when it premiered in November, which boosted Hallmark Channel to experience its most-watched day in network history among households. Magical Christmas Ornaments was the highest premiere on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries of 2017.

Both titles have already been acquired by multiple major broadcasters including in France, Spain, Canada and Belgium.

Cooking with Love, meanwhile, premiered on Hallmark Channel in February 2018, as part of the cable channel’s Valentine’s season. Averaging a 1.8 household rating and 1.8 million viewers, the TV movie propelled Hallmark Channel to be the second highest-rated network on cable among Households and Total Viewers during the Saturday 9-11pm time frame.

These titles join a growing slate of Lifetime TV movies, including the new thriller Love me or Else (aka The Wrong Daughter), starring Sydney Sweeney (The Handmaid’s Tale, Everything Sucks), Eyewitness (aka Ex-Wife Killer), starring Marguerite Moreau (Wet Hot American Summer, Grey’s Anatomy, The O.C.) and crime thriller Deadly Exchange, written by and starring Days of Our Lives and Passions alum Lindsay Hartley.

Louisa Cadywould, SVP, Head of International Distribution for Reel One, commented: “We’re continuing to see increased demand for our TV movies from leading commercial broadcasters around the world and we’re excited to be adding to our slate with these fantastic new titles.”

A Gift to Remember (aka A Gift for Christmas) – Ali Liebert (Ten Days in the Valley) stars as New York bookshop worker Darcy, whose life changes after crashing her bicycle into a handsome stranger, played by Peter Porte (The Young and the Restless), walking his dog. Knocked unconscious, he’s rushed to the hospital where he falls into a coma. Deeply shaken, Darcy takes the dog home, waiting to reunite him with his owner, Aidan. As she learns more about Aidan, Darcy realizes he could be the one she has been waiting for.

Magical Christmas Ornaments (aka Her Magical Christmas) – Jessica Lowndes (“90210,” “A December Bride”) plays publishing executive Marie, who loses her Christmas spirit after a bad break up. Trying to restore it, her mother sends Marie Christmas ornaments from her childhood, and a coincidental blessing follows each one. Marie’s Christmas spirit gets another boost when she meets her handsome neighbour, Nate, played by Brendan Penny (“Motive,” “Chesapeake Shores”).

Cooking With Love – When TV show producer Kelly (Ali Liebert) hires a controversial new chef, Stephen, played by Brett Dalton (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), for a kids’ cooking show, they butt heads at first, but eventually the two pair up to help one another — and even form a romantic connection. Just as their romance begins to blossom, though, Stephen receives an offer to host a show across the country.

Love me or Else (aka The Wrong Daughter) – Kate and Joe have longed to be parents and are considering in vitro options… when Danica (Sydney Sweeney), a child Kate gave up 17 years ago, appears on Facebook. Kate wants to make up for lost time and invites Danica to live with them. When cracks start to appear in their new happy lives, Kate wonders whether Danica really is her daughter… or an imposter who will do anything, even kill, to get the mother’s love she never had!
Eyewitness (aka Ex-Wife Killer) – When Josie’s (Marguerite Moreau) ex-husband, Michael, stumbles into her flower shop with a business offer she can’t refuse, she is caught in the crossfire of a brutal divorce between Michael and his self-proclaimed crazy ex-wife; a divorce filled with manipulation and betrayal. Josie must determine who is truly the crazy one, even if it means risking her own life.

Deadly Exchange – Samantha Winters (Lindsay Hartley) and her daughter, Blake, are overjoyed to host their new foreign exchange student, Chloe, for senior year of high school. Chloe wants nothing more than to escape England and have a new family, especially a mother. But Chloe’s posh charm and cunning ways only get her so far, and her unstable fantasies of making Samantha her new mother push her over the edge when things don’t go her way.

Reel One Entertainment and The Cartel announce 40 Movie Output Deal

Leading independent drama producer and distributor Reel One Entertainment and production and management company The Cartel have today announced a multi-year deal that will see the two companies significantly expanding their investment in quality movies for the US and international market.

Under the deal, Reel One and The Cartel will co-develop 40 new movies over a three year period for their key US and international broadcast clients, including leading US cable networks Lifetime and The Hallmark Channel, as well as for theatrical release.

Among the first titles to be produced under the deal are the thrillers “Eve of Abduction”, due for release in 2018, and the recently wrapped “A Friend’s Obsession”, starring Karissa Lee Staples (“Necessary Roughness”).

Cartel and Reel One have previously collaborated successfully on six movies, including “The Wrong Mother”, starring Vanessa Marcil (“Las Vegas”, “Beverly Hills 90210”) and Brooke Nevin (“Scorpion”, “CSI”), which aired on Lifetime earlier this year, and the crime thriller “Deadly Exchange”, as well as the 10-part police procedural series “Ties That Bind” (known internationally as “Detective McLean”), starring Kelli Williams (“Lie to Me”, “Army Wives”), Jonathan Scarfe (“Van Helsing”, “Hell on Wheels”) and Luke Perry (“Riverdale”, “Beverly Hills 90210”).

 Reel One will handle worldwide distribution of all 40 titles, adding to its growing line-up of in-house and acquired productions. Reel One’s volume of content for distribution has more than doubled in the last few years, covering a broad range of genres, including romantic dramas, Christmas movies and thrillers.

The Cartel, meanwhile, has produced over 50 movies since 2007 and several series but the deal with Reel One will see it ramping up its investment in new titles significantly.

In addition, both companies are expanding their scripted series activities, following their collaboration on “Ties That Bind” last year. Reel One is currently developing a sci-fi series based on the Philip K Dick novella “Second Variety”, while The Cartel teamed up with Aaron Paul earlier this year to develop a series based on the life of Jack Daniel.

“We are excited to continue and broaden our relationship with Reel One Entertainment,” said Cartel Co- CEO Stan Spry. “They are one of the best international distributors and partners in the business, and we look forward to continued success and growth together.”

Reel One CEO Tom Berry commented: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Cartel to bring these new titles to our US and international buyers. We’re seeing continued demand from broadcasters worldwide for high quality TV and theatrical movies that can attract audiences across different day-parts and this deal will allow us to further meet the needs of today’s viewers.”

About the Cartel
The Cartel is a feature film and television production and management company representing top-tier show runners, show creators, writers, directors, producers, talent and production companies in film, TV and new media. The Cartel owns Cartel Studios in the heart of Hollywood, which is their headquarters, as well as a full-service production and post-production complex. The Cartel has produced over fifty independent films, television movies, and television series in the last seven years. In November of 2015 The Cartel opened a London branch in historic Oxford Circus, and in May of 2016 opened a New York office on Hudson Street.

About Reel One
Headquartered in Montreal with offices in London, Los Angeles and Vancouver, Reel One Entertainment develops, finances, produces and distributes commercial scripted programming for a worldwide audience. Founded in 2001 by media entrepreneur Tom Berry, Reel One is one of the most prolific independent producers and distributors in the TV sector. Already a leading provider of television movies, the company has recently branched out into the production and distribution of scripted TV series