EXCLUSIVE: Tandem Communications is distributing, and Canada’s CBC Television, will broadcast the animated film Pirate’s Passage which has just started production. Donald Sutherland will star in, produce and co-script the adventure and coming-of-age story that’s based on the book by William Gilkerson which won the Governor General’s Award for children’s literature in 2006. Sutherland will voice the lead character, Captain Charles Johnson, an eccentric seafarer who blows into a Nova Scotia town in 1952 and helps a mother and son as they struggle to keep their inn open for business. But the captain grows more mysterious over time, with his tales of the lives and battles of old-time pirates. Sutherland’s production company, Martin’s River Ink, Inc, is making the film with animation work by Ottawa’s PIP Animation Services. Helmer Brad Peyton (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island) is co-directing with PIP’s Mike Barth. Peyton is also co-writing and will produce with Sutherland. Also among the voice cast are Carrie-Anne Moss, Colm Feore, Gage Munroe, Kim Coates, Rossif Sutherland, Megan Follows, Paul Gross, Gordon Pinsent and Terry Haig. Tandem, which is behind the Sutherland-starring crime series Crossing Lines, has worldwide rights to Pirate’s Passage outside Canada. Eric Birnberg and Thomas Walden are exec producing. The Canada Media Fund and COGECO Program Development Fund provided financing.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Fox Sports Challenging World Cup Date?; Jailed Filmmaker In Hunger Strike In Egypt; More
Fox Sports Opposes Proposed Move Of 2022 World Cup Dates
Fox Sports is reportedly balking at a potential move by World Cup soccer governing body FIFA to switch the dates of the 2022 championships in Qatar. Fox paid a record $425M for U.S. broadcast rights to the 2018-2022 World Cup package and, according to Bloomberg sources, is concerned that moving the competition would clash with NFL games. FIFA is discussing a proposal to shift the Qatar games due to extremely high temperatures — as much as 122° Fahrenheit — in the Qatari summer that could adversely affect players. “FIFA has informed us that they are considering and voting on moving the 2022 World Cup,” Fox said in a statement to Bloomberg. “Fox Sports bought the World Cup rights with the understanding they would be in the summer as they have been since the 1930s.” FIFA responded, “The matter of the timing of the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be discussed in various ad hoc committees as well as the FIFA Executive Committee, and until these meetings have taken place, FIFA is in no position to make any further comments.” Fox is not alone in its concerns. The English Premier League also opposes a date change since it would force changes to European soccer timetables as the national World Cup teams are made up of players who, in many cases, make their daily living with clubs outside their home countries.
Jailed Canadian Filmmaker And Colleague Begin Hunger Strike
Canadian filmmaker John Greyson, and Tarek Loubani, who have been held without charges in a Cairo jail for more than a month, have informed friends and supporters through their Egyptian lawyers that they have begun a hunger strike. Greyson and Loubani were en route to Gaza when they stopped to ask directions from Egyptian police and were jailed. According to new emergency measures put in place in Egypt. Greyson and Loubani’s detention could be extended up to two years without formal charges.
EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate is partnering with Munich-based producer and distributor of event series Tandem Communications, a Studiocanal company, with a co-venture agreement to develop and produce one-hour drama series. The first series in development under the pact is crime drama Sex, Lies And Handwriting. The project, which Lionsgate and Tandem will co-produce with Lionsgate’s Canadian joint venture partner Sea To Sky Entertainment, is intended to follow the straight-to-series model Tandem employed for its first drama series, Crossing Lines. While pursuing straight-to-series projects as international co-productions would be an important part of the new co-venture’s business, the partners also are expected to tweak some aspects of Tandem’s existing approach. For instance, Tandem, producer of The Pillars Of The Earth and its follow-up World Without End, finances its drama and event series (mostly though international pre-sales) and completes the projects before taking the finished product to the U.S., most recently selling Crossing Lines to NBC. Drawing on Lionsgate’s strengths and U.S. relationships, the co-venture is expected to bring in an American network earlier in the process for more simultaneous sales in the U.S., Europe and possibly Canada as is the plan for Sex, Lies And Handwriting because of Sea To Sky’s involvement. Lionsgate and Tandem also may explore doing projects through the traditional U.S. development process that goes through a pilot stage.
EXCLUSIVE: Prison Break alum William Fichtner, Marc Lavoine (The Good Thief), Gabriella Pession (Wilfred), Tom Wlaschiha (Game Of Thrones), Genevieve O’Reilly (Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge Of The Sith), Richard Flood (Titanic: Blood & Steel) and Donald Sutherland are set to star in Crossing Lines, Tandem Communications‘ action/crime drama series created by former Criminal Minds showrunner Ed Bernero. Daniel Percival (Strike Back) will direct the first three episodes of Crossing Lines‘ 10-episode first season, which follows the workings of a special crime unit set up by the International Criminal Court to investigate serialized crimes that cross European borders and to hunt down criminals to bring them to justice.
Filming will begin September 26 on location in France and the Czech Republic. Bernero executive produces and serves as head writer, with Rachel Anthony (Mistresses) and Oliver Hein-Macdonald (The Passion Of Darkly Noon) set as co-writers. Moritz Polter (Labyrinth), Charles Caroll (Criminal Minds), Howard Griffith (Criminal Minds) and TF1 Production will handle production along with executive producer Rola Bauer, who developed the series with Bernero.
Italy’s De Angelis Group has reached a worldwide television distribution agreement with event miniseries specialist Tandem Communications on the $30 million Titanic: Blood And Steel. Chris Noth, Neve Campbell, Kevin Zegers and Derek Jacobi star in the 12-part series directed by The Tudors’ Ciaran Donnelly and slated to coincide with this year’s 100th anniversary of the sinking of the famed liner. The mini is a co-production from De Angelis and Tandem along with RAI TV, LA’s 3 Arts, Canada’s CBC, the UK’s Artist Studio, Ireland’s Epos Film and Spain’s Antena 3. Separate rights agreements were concluded in the UK, Ireland and Canada. France’s Studiocanal recently acquired a majority stake in Tandem, which is also co-producing the miniseries World Without End with Ridley and Tony Scott’s Scott Free Productions. Here’s the release:
Forging into television, France’s Studiocanal has acquired a majority stake in Munich-based producer and distributor Tandem Communications, a specialist in international event-style miniseries and global TV distribution. Studiocanal, which recently backed Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and will finance the Coen brothers’ upcoming Inside Llewyn Davis, has been focused on film until now and last year entered a $200 million slate financing deal with Anton Capital Entertainment. The strategic partnership with Tandem, for which financials were not disclosed, sees the company expand its reach onto the global TV market. Among Tandem’s recent efforts is the just-wrapped eight-hour miniseries World Without End, the follow-up to The Pillars Of The Earth, both of which it co-produced with Ridley and Tony Scott’s Scott Free Productions. The press release is below:
STUDIOCANAL took a majority stake in TANDEM COMMUNICATIONS, one of the leading European companies for international primetime Event TV productions and worldwide distribution of quality television programs.This partnership marks another step in the growth of STUDIOCANAL.
In 2011, STUDIOCANAL reinforced its production investments with a slate financing deal to co-finance their international films, and enlarged its distribution with an output deal with Lovefilm in the UK and Germany.
EXCLUSIVE: German-based Tandem Communications and Ridley and Tony Scott’s Scott Free Prods. have locked in the main cast of their $44 million eight-hour miniseries World Without End, a follow-up to The Pillars of the Earth, which the two companies also co-produced. Cynthia Nixon, Miranda Richardson, Ben Chaplin, Peter Firth (MI5), Charlotte Riley (The Duchess) and Tom Weston-Jones (Enlightenment) lead the cast of the mini, based on the novel by The Pillars of the Earth author Ken Follett. Michael Caton-Jones (Rob Roy) is directing from a script by John Pielmeier, who also adapted The Pillars of the Earth for Tandem and Scott Free. The two companies are co-producing World Without End with Canada’s Take 5 Prods. and Galafilm.
Set in England 200 years after the events in Pillars, World chronicles tough times for ordinary citizens who are being hit with enormous taxes by the King, the Church as England teeters on the brink of a devastating 100-year war with France, and Europe is bracing for a terrible plague, which will wipe out a third of the continent’s population. The mini centers on Caris (Riley), a visionary woman who, with her lover Merthin, builds a community that stands up to the Crown and the Church.