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Brit production house Warp Films and European financier/producer Anton are teaming up to develop a slate of TV series and feature films.
Anton, which has backed major features including Paddington and Greenland and TV shows such as His Dark Materials, will bankroll a development fund under which both companies will jointly identify, commission and develop scripts, with Anton representing global rights on all projects.
To boost the new joint initiative, Warp — known for shows such as The Last Panthers and The Virtues and such features as the Chris Morris satire Four Lions and Amazon’s upcoming adaptation of the hit musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie — has promoted Kasheina Vencatasawmy to head of development.
The first project from the partnership is an English, irreverent and punk-spirited re-invention of Honoré de Balzac’s classic 19th century French novel Lost Illusions about the perennial delusions of the pursuit of fame and power. The series is written by Ruth McCance as she moves into a writer-showrunner role, following on from executive producing Warp’s recent six-part modern melodrama Little Birds.
Also moving into development under the joint pact is Blades in the Dark, an ambitious TV adaptation of the tabletop role-playing game, in which a crew of daring scoundrels seek their fortunes on the haunted streets of an industrial fantasy city.
“Warp has always championed outsider stories and put them centre stage,” said Warp’s joint CEOs Mark Herbert and Peter Carlton. “Our alliance with Anton gives us increased financial clout empowering our amazing team to build on their great track record to bring these ambitious, distinct and diverse stories to a wider global audience.”
Alongside Vencatasawmy’s promotion at Warp, Gwen Gorst — who joined the company at the start of 2021 from Channel 4 — has moved from senior development producer to executive producer to acknowledge her focus on identifying and bringing series to greenlight that she can subsequently executive produce. She is currently developing projects with Everybody’s Talking About Jamie director and co-creator Jonathan Butterell.
The Warp development deal is one of several that the fast-growing Anton, launched by former StudioCanal executive Sébastien Raybaud, has in place. In late 2020 it teamed with Brit sales and production banner WestEnd Films to finance a slate of high-end television series, and a similar development fund with the BBC saw it back major productions, such as His Dark Materials, McMafia and Gentleman Jack. It also has multi-financing agreements with European TV groups Federation Entertainment and TF1-owned Newen.
“Warp Films’ exhilarating and visionary productions always stand above the crowd,” said Raybaud. “We share Mark and Peter’s belief in storytelling and entertainment first, and their unique slate shows that can manifest in many electrifying forms. We look forward to leveraging our international relationships to support them in their expansion and collaborating on developing projects that will excite audiences worldwide.”
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