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Fremantle, De Maio Entertainment agree first-look deal with Afua Hirsch

Afua Hirsch alongside Samuel L Jackson in Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

European production group Fremantle and former Endeavor Content exec Lorenzo De Maio have secured a first-look deal with writer, broadcaster and filmmaker Afua Hirsch.

Fremantle and De Maio Entertainment, which Lorenzo set up earlier this year after leaving Endeavor, will have a global first look at projects from Hirsch’s Born In Me Productions.

The agreement will give Fremantle, in collaboration with De Maio Entertainment, the right to co-develop, produce and distribute scripted and unscripted TV and film projects with the prodco.

Known for her work on culture, identity and history among the African diaspora and worldwide, Hirsch recently co-presented factual documentary series Enslaved alongside Hollywood star Samuel L Jackson.

The series is distributed by Fremantle and has been sold into more than 140 territories, including Canada with the CBC, the US with Epix and the UK with the BBC.

The first project in development via the new deal is a TV drama series based on the true story of Kweku Adoboli, the former investment banker who was jailed in 2012 after unauthorised losses of US$2bn.

The drama will interweave the pressures and emotional complexities of being a black man working in London, becoming criminalised, and battling deportation to a country that he left when he was only four years old. The series will be produced by Hirsch for Born In Me and Tony Tagoe and Danny Damah for TD Afrique Films.

A number of other scripted and non-scripted projects are in development and will be announced in due course.

The partnership was brokered by De Maio and Fremantle’s Global Drama team, which is led by by president Christian Vesper and exec VP of commercial and business affairs, scripted, Seb Shorr.

Hirsch said: “This is an incredible opportunity to work with Fremantle and De Maio Entertainment as partners who appreciate the range of my work – from journalistic storytelling to scripted projects that I hope will push the boundaries of creativity.

“All my work is motivated by compelling stories that reflect underserved audiences, centring diverse voices, experiences and talent, and I’m confident we will be able to elevate this mission together.”

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