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C21May iPad

SevenOne, Levinson in TV movie pact

MIPTV: German distributor SevenOne International has boosted its portfolio of English-language drama by picking up telemovies made by US producer Larry Levinson.

The multi-year deal with Larry Levinson Productions (LLP) will see SevenOne distribute the prodco’s upcoming production slate, which includes US television movies and miniseries.

LLP’s credits include Dennis Quaid vehicle Everything That Rises; Frankenstein, starring Donald Sutherland; and Megastorm, featuring James Van Der Beek and Luke Perry

LLP has produced more than 200 films and miniseries since it was founded in 1993, for broadcasters including ABC, NBC, CBS and cable channels such as TNT, Lifetime and Hallmark. Levinson’s work was previously distributed by Sonar Entertainment (fka RHI Entertainment).

Historically, SevenOne has distributed TV movies and series produced in Germany or continental Europe but more recently has begun co-financing English-language TV movies, such as 2011’s The Greening of Whitney Brown, starring Brooke Shields.

Jens Richter, MD of SevenOne, told C21 here in Cannes: “The TV movie business is a good business. The challenge is getting volume. There are great slots for them in France, Italy, Spain, Central and Eastern Europe, and Latin America.

“TV movies have global appeal and what these movies must have in common is high quality, good budgets, recognisable lead cast, with good family appeal and storylines that can be rerun. With Larry, we have found the best producer in North America who can provide us with movies.”

SevenOne’s parent Red Arrow Entertainment Group launched Red Arrow UK in January last year to produce drama and comedy series and miniseries, and since then, it has been building its portfolio of UK drama producers.

The Mob, in which Red Arrow owns a 51% stake, was acquired in March last year and is developing its fourth adaptation of a Terry Pratchett novel, Unseen Academicals (2×90′).

In March this year, Red Arrow also bought a controlling stake in Endor Productions, led by Hilary Bevan Jones (Cracker). Endor is in pre-production on Restless, an adaptation of William Boyd’s novel for UK pubcaster BBC1.
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Red Arrow has also bought into the US market after taking a majority stake in Fuse, makers of the US version of The Killing and Burn Notice.

Together with Lilyhammer, the Norwegian comedy drama from Rubicon TV, starring Stevie Van Zandt, and Le Grand (8×60′), Atlantique Productions’ crime drama starring Hollywood actor Jean Reno, SevenOne is building its English-language drama slate through its sister companies and third party acquisitions.

“It’s what people are looking for,” Richter said. “We are a part of Red Arrow and we want to drive that side of the drama business, whether we drive it with Red Arrow producers or independent producers. It’s key for us to build up the slate. There’s an appetite for English-language drama and international franchises. There’s lot of opportunities.”

Lilyhammer has been sold to more than 50 countries, with US VoD service Netflix coproducing the second season with Rubicon for delivery in 2013.

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