EXCLUSIVE: Producers Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald have acquired an untitled action-comedy set in the world of the Secret Service. Aaron Buchsbaum & Teddy Riley are writing the script. Parkes/MacDonald utilized funds from its development fund with Image Nation. The project came out of a general meeting the writers took with Parkes and MacDonald after exec Marc Resteghini brought them in. The writers pitched the project and it was bought preemptively. The Image Nation deal allows the producers to give development projects the time they need to percolate. Parkes and MacDonald will produce, and Resteghini will be exec producer.
Los Angeles, CA (December 22, 2011)–National Geographic and Image Nation are consolidating their partnership with Hyde Park/Image Nation to finance and produce a wide array of National Geographic themed entertainment projects designed for global distribution. Hyde Park will be the managing partner, and the venture will develop feature films, documentaries, and television series designed to entertain and inspire family audiences around the world.
“We like Hyde Park’s approach to the business, their growth and success in Asia, and the fact that Ashok and his team are already working closely with our partner, Image Nation,” said Tim Kelly, President of National Geographic Society. “This partnership makes sense from all angles, and by folding our current feature film effort into this new venture, we will be able to pursue bigger, more ambitious projects and expand into growing markets like India and China.”
Image Nation Abu Dhabi’s Chairman Mohamed Al Mubarak commented, “This venture will advance our relationship with both Hyde Park and National Geographic. At the same time it will provide another great opportunity for young Emirati filmmakers to gain real world, hands-on experience that will help build their personal/professional networks so critical to success in the motion picture industry.”
Image Nation has separated its U.S. business from its local filmmaking activity. Michael Garin, who was appointed CEO in February, will continue to be overall head of Image Nation, while running overseas business Image Nation International. Its American partners include Participant Media, Hyde Park Entertainment, Parkes/Macdonald and Warner Bros. Former UAE ambassador Mohammed Al Otaiba has been appointed head of newly formed Image Nation Abu Dhabi, which has produced two local movies so far: Sea Shadow and Djinn, directed by Tobe Hooper. Garin told me recently that he has spent time restructuring deals originally signed by his predecessor Ed Borgerding, trying to give Image Nation more of a say over what gets greenlighted. He has restructured Image Nation’s deal with National Geographic Films in particular. “Before I arrived, the strategy was much more passive,” he told me. “The partnerships have changed significantly. Before I arrived Participant and National Geographic were structured in a way that gave us little or no control over projects. Those are not structures I would have entered into on that basis.”