Deals round-up: ZDF boards Blue Ant, Film.UA & Tilt Media’s Ukraine doc; Espresso buys Cardinal catalogue; All3 to sell Kardashian doc

Citizens At War: A Year In Ukraine

ZDF buys Blue Ant, Film.UA & Tilt Media’s Ukraine doc

ZDF in Germany has boarded a six-part docuseries about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has Blue Ant International, Ukraine’s Film.UA, Chris Hilton’s new Aussie outfit Tilt Media and GTV Docs in London attached.

Citizens At War: A Year In Ukraine features exclusive interviews with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, and his wife, Olena and details the trauma and triumphs of the war-torn Ukrainian nation and of its people.

Blue Ant International has struck a distribution and co-production financing deal with Film.UA, Tilt Media and GTV for the show, which is set to launch in February on the first anniversary of the invasion. The deal was brokered by Lilla Hurst, Blue Ant’s global head of acquisitions & partnerships.

“How the people of a free and democratic society in modern-day Europe rallied, in order to defend their country and national identity against a foreign aggressor, is the most important story of our time,” said Kateryna Vyshnevska, head of development and co-productions at Film.UA Group.

“All the partners agree the documentary needed to be told in a way that showed the lives of people behind the headlines,” she added.

Essential Media founder Hilton, who recently launched LA- and Australia-based Tilt last year, said: “With a very short production schedule, I knew finding the right partners was crucial to bring this project together.

“GTV Docs, Film.UA and ZDF enabled us to tell this critical story and award-winning German/British filmmaker, Tilman Remme is the ideal storyteller with his vast experience in films about the history of warfare.”

Espresso buys Cardinal catalogue

Espresso Media International has acquired worldwide distribution rights to Cardinal Releasing’s latest music documentaries – Beyond The Decks and The Rock Prophet: Link Wray – as well as their 35-hour music content catalogue.

Currently in production, Beyond The Decks delves into the global success of electronic dance music and the truth behind the billion-dollar industry, from mental health and diversity to gender disparity.

The Rock Prophet: Link Wray explores how the Native American musician was responsible for the birth of rock and roll with his song Rumble, and went on to be idolised by stars such as Jimi Hendrix. The show features interviews with rock legends such as Jimmy Page, Pete Townsend and Dan Auerbach to explore Wray’s talent.

The Cardinal Releasing back catalogue, meanwhile, includes biopics such as Chuck Berry, Beside Bowie: The Mick Ronson Story and BB King: On The Road.

The Kardashians: A Billion Dollar Dynasty

All3 sells Kardashian doc

All3Media International has picked up global distribution for two-part specialty documentary series, The Kardashians: A Billion Dollar Dynasty.

The show, from All’s Optomen, launched on Channel 4 in the UK last week and lifts the lid on the story of how The Kardashians worked to exploit every potential setback and turn these into money-making opportunities.

Nick Hornby, CEO at Optomen, said: “With many people going on the record for the first time, the series is the first to tell the whole story of the Kardashians from Kim’s sex tape all the way to the White House, and their particular genius for always staying in the limelight.”

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