Round-up: Sony Pictures alum starts prodco; TF1 returns to ‘Good Singers’; Abacus adds Beatles doc

Luke Scrase

Sony Pictures alum starts prodco

Former Sony Pictures International Productions executive Luke Scrase has launched a UK-based film and television development and production company.

Golden Gate Studios, which has a first-look film and TV deal with Sony Pictures, will primarily focus on developing and producing British and European genre films as well as “commercially driven” TV series for the global market. Both English and local language content is planned.

Scrase will remain attached as a producer or executive producer on various projects he initiated during his time at SPI Productions’ UK unit. He worked on shows including Michael Winterbottom’s Greed and Our Ladies, directed by Michael Caton-Jones.

“Never before has there been such an appetite for ambitious and diverse European stories that deliver on a global scale alongside an influx of new buyers and content makers,” Scrase said.

“I am looking forward to developing new projects that fit this mould as well as continuing to work with all the producers and filmmakers who have entrusted me with their projects at Sony.”

Good Singers

TF1 returns to Good Singers 

French network TF1 has ordered a second season of singing entertainment show Good Singers.

The show, which has completed production, will air in primetime on TF1 this summer and is based on Global Agency’s original format Is That Really Your Voice?.

The format was created by Global Agency founder & CEO Izzet Pinto in 2013 and requires panel of judges to spot good singers by looking at the contestants, without hearing them sing.

Pinto said the show has also been optioned in countries including Spain, Italy, Mexico, Portugal and Israel, while a Russian version is also in the works.

Julien Degroote, head of content development at TF1 Group, said: “Good Singers is one of the strongest brands we have in our summer-share-and-fun-programming-strategy, a pure feel-good and co-viewing family show. The appeal of the audience has been out of the normal, with high demand of the second season. The tapings went great and the second season is even better.”

Abacus adds Beatles doc

Abacus Media Rights (AMR) has acquired distribution rights to The Beatles And India, a historical chronicle of the love affair between The Beatles and India.

The 1 x 96-minute doc is produced by Reynold D’Silva, founder & CEO of Silva Screen Music Group, and is by Ajoy Bose’s book Across The Universe.

The show explores into this period of The Beatles’ evolution, offering rare archival footage, an array of unseen recordings and photographs, as well as eye-witness accounts and location shoots across India.

The special is being produced by Renoir Pictures and premieres at the BFI in the UK on 6 June for the closing night film of Tongues on Fire, producer of the UK Asian Film Festival.

Amy Willstatter

Charisma.ai explores US partnerships

UK-based interactive storytelling company Charisma.ai has appointed Amy Willstatter as EVP of US business development.

Based out of New York, Willstatter will work alongside CEO and co-founder Guy Gadney to explore US partnership opportunities with networks, producers and advertisers looking to embrace AI technology.

Charisma.ai is the company behind the artificial intelligence toolkit used in projects such as Sky’s recently cancelled interactive TV drama Bulletproof.

Its AI tech enables audiences to speak one-to-one with people or characters on any voice activated device. Gadney recently debunked five AI myths in a piece he wrote for TBI.

“We are setting a new standard for immersive storytelling and the full scope of what our media and entertainment industries can achieve is yet to be fully realised,” said Willstatter. “We’re already in early discussions with the major networks and it’s incredibly exciting to see how this technology will break new ground in interactive storytelling and audience engagement for the US market, and beyond.”

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