Banff TV market kicks into gear

Upturn in demand by international broadcasters

BANFF, ALBERTA -- Walt Disney has picked up the Canadian live-action kids series "How To Be Indie" from distributor Decode Enterprises.

The tween sitcom, comprising 26 half-hours, is produced by Heroic Film Company and will air on Disney Channel U.K..

"How To Be Indie" stars Melinda Shankar as a 13 year-old girl balancing the traditions of her South Asian family with her Western lifestyle.

Other deals unveiled at Banff include Ion Life acquiring two factual series from Toronto-based indie distributor Kelencontent: 26 half-hours of "Gadget Girlz" and 13 half-hours of the lifestyle cooking series "Body Fuel," both from indie producer Positive Living Productions.

Kelencontent has also sold Denmark's DRTV 13 half-hours of "Courage in Red," a factual series about Canada's Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Sweden's TV4 picked up "Courage in Red" for all other Scandinavian territories.

Tanya Kelen, kelencontent president and executive producer, pointed to a current upturn in demand by international broadcasters for product after they struggled in 2009 with frozen budgets.

Kelen said broadcasters are back to commissioning original shows, rather than renewing existing shows in their schedules or airing re-runs.

That demand means kelencontent has expanded its distribution reach internationally after only one year in business.

"Forging into the U.S. market is key to expanding our distribution and production operations, and securing foreign broadcasters for our high impact series is vital to our continued growth," Kelen said from Banff where she's shopping new series to broadcasters.

In other Banff news, upstart Canadian TV producer EBTV has hired broadcast exec Diane Boehme as executive vp, charged with building a roster of TV projects for the international market.

Boehme comes to EBTV, a partnership between Vancouver-based Brightlight Pictures and Los Angeles-based Essential Pictures, after overseeing production for two Canadian pay TV series, "Living in Your Car" and "Call Me Fitz," the Jason Priestley-starring comedy.

Boehme, to be based in Toronto, earlier completed executive stints at broadcasters Chum Television and Astral Television.

And Toronto-based multi-plaftform producer marblemedia has partnered with Calgary-based Seven24 Films to form a new sales company, Distribution360.

The new distribution outfit will be headed up by former Joost vp Stephanie Rockmann-Portier as managing director and head of sales.
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