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Warner Bros, NENT back Picturestart

Anders Jensen and Erik Feig

US studio Warner Bros, Nordic operator NENT Group and LA-based Endeavor Content are among companies to have taken stakes in nascent production company Picturestart, launched by former Lionsgate exec Erik Feig.

Feig, who was behind movies The Hunger Games, Twilight and La La Land as well as YouTube’s The Step Up, said Picturestart would focus on creating, co-financing, and producing shows that “focus on working with groundbreaking and innovative artists to tell transformative stories.”

Warner Bros has made a “significant equity investment” in the company and has also struck a first-look deal for co-developing, co-financing and distribution of feature films with it.

Meanwhile, NENT Group will receive first-look Nordic rights to selected TV productions as part of its investment, which will also create co-financing and development opportunities for NENT. The Nordic outfit signed an agreement to launch a UK scripted label with US-based FilmNation Entertainment in January.

Other investors include children’s publishing firm Scholastic, which will provide the prodco with access to its IP for development; LA-based agency Endeavor Content, which will serve as co-financier and strategic advisor on certain projects; and investment firm Bron Ventures, which will act as coproducer/co-financier on select projects.

Feig, who left his role as co-president at Lionsgate Motion Picture Group last year, has also put his own money into the venture along with a variety of undisclosed investors.

Anders Jensen, NENT Group’s president and CEO, said his company understood “the passion of young-adult viewers for exceptional storytelling. Picturestart is a unique opportunity to build a content frontrunner that engages this fast-growing audience across multiple platforms with a global appeal.”

Scholastic chief strategy officer Iole Lucchese said Feig’s “mission to launch Picturestart as a platform to discover and celebrate diverse voices perfectly aligns with our commitment at Scholastic to ensure every young person can see themselves portrayed in accessible, authentic stories.”

Lucchese added: “Erik’s vision, talent and incredible team will enable us to bring Scholastic content to new audiences in innovative ways. We could not be more excited about what we can accomplish through this powerful partnership.”

Toby Emmerich, chairman at Warner Bros Picture Group, added that his company was “very proud and enthused to be both Feig’s financial and creative partner.”

Earlier this year reports emerged that Picturestart was working to develop Summer Loving for TV, a prequel to classic 1970s movie Grease that has fellow US producer Temple Hill on board.

Picturestar has also already added to management ranks, hiring Berlanti Productions’ Ryan Lindenberg and Lucy Kitada, formerly of Michael De Luca Productions. Both will serve as executive VPs of production.

Jessica Switch has been appointed VP of production, joining from US-based Studio 8. She was previously at Lionsgate, where she worked with Feig on 2016 feature Nerve.

“Great storytelling that digs into who we are, who we want to become, who we love and why we live is relatable to everyone no matter your stage or age in life,” said Feig.

“Creating a company that focuses on working with groundbreaking and innovative artists to tell transformative stories is something I am passionate about on a creative and business level and I am thrilled to be able to now focus on this robust category with both more precision and more scale, and with the best-in-class of financing, distribution, and marketing options.”

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