David Thompson launches film, TV banner

Origin Pictures supported by Distant Horizon

CANNES -- David Thompson, the former BBC Films chief, is running his own film and television production banner up the flagpole.

Dubbed Origin Pictures, Thompson's banner has backing from his former employer of 32 years through a three-year, first-look deal with BBC Fiction and has attracted producer and financier Anant Singh's support via Singh's Distant Horizon banner, who is likely to provide co-financing on Origin films.

Thompson also has organized a first-look development deal with sales and finance deal with FremantleMedia Enterprises.

First on the slate is Michel Faber's novel "The Crimson Petal and the White," which Thompson's Origin has optioned and is currently developing as a four-part drama serial.

The former BBC chief, who jets into Cannes on Thursday, also has taken on board several productions as an executive producer for the Beeb's filmmaking arm.

Titles he will exec produce for the BBC include Armando Ianucci's "In The Loop," Jane Campion's "Bright Star," Saul Dibb's "The Duchess," Martin Campbell's "Edge of Darkness," new films from Andrea Arnold and Pawel Pawlikowski, and an adaptation of Jon Ronson's book "Men Who Stare at Goats."

Thompson told THR that it is essential for any startup entertaining the biz to be in both film and television, and aims to make movies from micro budgets up to $40 million.

"The aim is to be a powerhouse of development," Thompson said. "There's a good synergy (between film and television). It's not just financial pragmatism, it's also creatively important."

He also brought with him BBC Films development exec Ed Rubin and the unit's production exec Nicola Blacker to help out with Origin's ambitions.

Thompson parted company with the BBC last year in the wake of sweeping changes to the film arm's management structure.
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