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Int’l channels drill for dinosaur clues

MIPDOC: Networks including PBS in the US, France Télévisions and NHK in Japan have come on board a documentary investigating the meteor strike that apparently wiped out dinosaurs.

The Day the Dinosaurs Died (1×60’, working title) is being produced by Channel 4-backed London-based prodco Barcroft Productions – the company’s first major international project.

Barcroft has gained exclusive access to a drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico which aims to reach the impact crater created by an asteroid strike believed to have killed off dinosaurs 66 million years ago.

Production funding and distribution agency Drive, led by Lilla Hurst and Ben Barrett, has brought together a raft of broadcast partners to fund the film, with ZDF in Germany and ABC in Australia also now involved and BBC Worldwide distributing in remaining territories.

The expedition, the culmination of 30 years work, aims to show what was happening to dinosaurs before the asteroid struck and how the impact event triggered a worldwide catastrophe that wiped out 75% of life on Earth.

Ben Barrett, co-founder of Drive which launched a distribution arm last year, told C21 here in Cannes: “There’s a team of 30 international scientists from Germany, France, US, UK, Australia and Japan involved. The knock-on effect is it’s an expensive doc to produce, so we’ve taken it out to secure the funding.

“Bringing PBS Nova on board seemed an obvious thing to do and that gave us the spine of the budget.”

“The Day the Dinosaurs Died is a major international production and we needed to tell this story with real scale,” said Barcroft founder and CEO Sam Barcroft. “Drive helped us achieve that by assembling a formidable group of international broadcasters who shared our vision.”

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