Exclusive: Erik Barmack’s Wild Sheep ‘accelerates’ move into docuseries & animation

Erik Barmack

Erik Barmack, the former Netflix exec who drove the streamer’s much-vaunted international content strategy, has accelerated his Wild Sheep production firm’s moves into animation and docuseries, with a show from Vox Media’s Josh Davis among new projects.

Barmack launched Wild Sheep six months ago, striking a deal with The Mediapro Studio earlier this year, and has now expanded its slate across genres in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The prodco already had projects including a French-language adaptation of Stephen King novel The Plant and a drama based on hit documentary Cocaine Cowboys on the scripted side, but Barmack tells TBI that lockdown has also provided his company with an “opportunity” to move quickly and more deeply into other areas.

Unscripted expansion

Projects include docuseries Thief, which is in the works with Vox Media’s Davis and takes a behind-the-scenes look at bank heists across Europe from the perspective of the robbers.

Davis, who was behind the article on which Academy Award-winning movie Argo was based, launched Epic with Joshua Bearman in 2013. The company was acquired by Vox Media last year.

Wild Sheep’s development slate also includes a true crime docuseries out of India, which explores a famous murder connected with Bollywood and a real estate transaction that went wrong.

Adding to animation

Barmack, who delivered Netflix with shows such as Spain’s La Casa De Papel, Germany’s Dark and India’s Sacred Games during his time as VP of international originals, says he has been exploring ideas that could be “Covid-19 safe productions.”

The plan is to “do things that are poppy, taking swings at big, high concept genre pieces,” adds Barmack, who is among a number of high-profile speakers set to take part in MediaXchange’s forthcoming online event, The Role of the Showrunner – Meet The Creatives, next month.

Wild Sheep, whose scripted slate also includes adaptations of Nordic novel Marked For Life and Aussie teen novel On The Jellicoe Road, is also exploring a variety of animation projects, Barmack says. These include a partnership with acclaimed Afro-French artist Nicholle Kobi, whose work revolves around black, independent women.

The project is being envisaged as a Sex And The City style show, Barmack says, set in Paris and New York and based on Kobi’s “absolutely beautiful” images.

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