Starlings buys into UK’s StoryFirst & launches global development fund

Conspiracy of Silence

Global film & TV producer-financier Starlings Entertainment has taken a stake in UK-based StoryFirst and formed a joint development fund.

The fund will focus on mutually selected dramas, family entertainment fare and, potentially, non-scripted projects in development at both companies.

The first projects to be invested in are music drama The Manager and murder mystery Sherlock’s Daughter. The former is a semi-fictional account of life in the 1970’s and ’80’s music business, inspired by the lives – and featuring the music – of Eric Clapton and other artists.

Departure

Sherlock’s Daughter tracks the daughter of the world’s greatest detective in her search for her father and what she discovers along the way.

Stakes & structure

Details of the financial stake taken by Starling in StoryFirst have not been revealed, but the financier’s CEO & executive producer Karine Martin and StoryFirst’s founder Peter Gerwe will oversee the new fund together.

They will work with newly promoted Starlings EVP Patricia Brown and Starlings Television president Chris Philip, plus Gerwe’s fellow StoryFirst managers, former BBC chairman Michael Grade and former Pinewood Group CEO Ivan Dunleavy.

Jordskott

The London-based Brown and veteran financier Premila Hoon, representing StoryFirst – which acquired Pinewood Television in 2017 – will serve as the companies’ development fund liaisons.

Pumping up the pipeline

Martin said the venture would allow his company “to tap into an additional pipeline of great projects” and “further grow our ability to finance development and expand our respective networks.”

Gerwe added: “Our joint venture allows StoryFirst to expand our global reach with Starlings, which is very well positioned in the US and Canada. Karine and Chris bring us a depth of experience and contacts, and it has been a pleasure to work with them and their entire team on several projects. We believe this partnership will greatly benefit each company’s development potential and resources, and see it as a great fit.”

Starlings’ TV division launched three years ago and has a slate that includes Peacock’s Departure and The CW’s Pandora, as well as female-driven drama Veil, which is produced with Nordic Entertainment Group, Herbert Kloiber’s Night Train Media and Canada’s Mediabiz International.

StoryFirst’s slate includes Max Anger: With One Eye Open, The Child in Time, Jordskott and Conspiracy of Silence.

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