Doc Specialists Roast Beef, Nutopia Join Forces for Collaborative Partnership (Exclusive)

Courtesy of Nutopia
Mike Lerner and Jane Root

Roast Beef, producers of Oscar-nominated doc 'The Square,' and 'America: The Story of Us' producers Nutopia will develop a slate of new projects together, with Roast Beef moving into Nutopia's London offices.

Just days before this year’s Sheffield Doc/Fest kicks off, two powerhouse British documentary specialists have announced that they are joining forces to form a new collaborative partnership.

Roast Beef Productions, behind Oscar-nominated features such as The Square and Hell and Back Again, is teaming with Nutopia, which produced the Emmy-winning series America: The Story of Us, and has 42 hours of programming on North American networks this year alone.

The deal will see Roast Beef move into Nutopia’s newly expanded London offices, with the two harnessing their expertise across the film and TV worlds to develop a new slate of projects to be unveiled soon.

“We are both continuing to do the things that we do separately, but we are working on whole raft of high-profile projects together,” Nutopia CEO Jane Root told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s much more than just a loose agreement to do some things. We’re all here in the same space, working together.”

Mike Lerner, the head of Roast Beef, said the arrangement made "more than sense" for his production company.

“It’s an incredible opportunity for us to draw upon Jane’s outstanding contribution to film and TV culture,” he said, adding that Nutopia’s knowledge of making episodic doc series would broaden the scope of Roast Beef’s vision. “We like telling stories, so having a bigger canvas to tell big stories on is great. Our subjects may vary, but the intent to have rigorous, serious but entertaining and accessible factual programming is exactly what we’re into.”

Root, who was previously president of Discovery Network and controller at BBC2, said that Nutopia’s expertise lay in what she termed “mostly knowledge-based” shows — “taking academic work and popularizing it” – and that she’d been looking to add a more documentarian approach into its DNA.

“After eight years of pioneering the mega-doc, and bringing new scale and ambition to the factual documentary space, I can’t wait to join forces with these world-leading documentarians to create a whole new range of highly ambitious premium documentary projects," she said.

“It is a perfect time in the market to bring a new editorial scale and vision. I know and respect Mike and his team a great deal and am excited to begin collaborating with them.”

At this year’s Sheffield Doc/Fest, Roast Beef will be presenting the European premiere of Lana Wilson’s The Departure, which had its debut in Tribeca. Nutopia is currently producing Civilisations, a global story of art from the beginning of human history to the present day, for BBC/PBS and is working with Darren Aronofsky’s Protozoa Pictures on the ambitious event series One Strange Rock for Nat Geo.


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