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Smithsonian, Zee back Talesmith doc

MIPCOM: Smithsonian Channel in the US and India’s Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEEL) are joining forces for the first time to back a new 4K documentary from UK factual indie Talesmith.

The two-hour feature doc, split into Life of Earth: From Space and Life of Earth: The Age of Humans, will explore Earth’s four-and-a-half billion years of history, using 4K cinematography and CGI.

The doc is produced by Ruth Roberts and directed by Luke Wiles, with Martin Williams as executive producer. Smithsonian has US rights and ZEEL gets the rest of the world.

“There will be about 25 minutes of CGI across the two shows and we’re due to deliver in April 2018,” Williams told C21 in Cannes. Plans are also underway for building VR experiences based on the show, he added. The CGI work is being done by Moonraker VFX in Bristol.

The partnership also marks ZEEL’s first project in the blue-chip factual space, despite being one of the world’s largest content producers, with a library of more than 240,000 hours of television. ZEEL is present in 172-plus countries and reaches more than a billion people.

David Royle, exec VP of programming and production at Smithsonian Channel, said: “What could possibly be more epic than the story of our world from the Big Bang to the formation of our planet? This is an enormously ambitious coproduction that combines talent from three continents.”

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