Mipcom: ‘Thunderbirds’ Are a Go in China; Oscar-Winner Simon Chinn’s New Documentary ‘War Child’ to U.K.’s Channel 4

Robert Mitchell
Variety

ITV Studios Global Entertainment has secured a major sale for its CGI-animated “Thunderbirds Are Go(pictured), with CCTV taking the rebooted version of the television classic for China. The sale marks the first time that the 52-year-old brand, originally created in 1964 by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson using marionette puppets, will have aired in China.

“Thunderbirds Are Go” saw the enduring brand rebooted last year using CGI animation and live-action miniatures. It is produced by ITV Studios and New Zealand’s Pukeko Pictures in association with Weta Workshop. CCTV has taken exclusive terrestrial rights for China with the 26-episode first series set to air on the state broadcaster’s children’s channel CCTV-14.

In other news from Mipcom:

Oscar-winning documentary producer Simon Chinn is set to bring his latest project to Britain’s Channel 4, which has commissioned “War Child” from Chinn’s company, Lightbox. The documentary follows the stories of four child refugees, told from their point of view, as they try to make their way from war-torn homes in the Middle East and Afghanistan to safety in Europe.  It is directed by Jamie Roberts.

Chinn has twice won the Oscar for best documentary feature, producing James Marsh’s “Man on Wire” and Malik Bendjelloul’s “Searching for Sugar Man.” FremantleMedia International is representing global rights to “War Child,” introducing it to buyers at Mipcom this week.

Red Arrow Intl. has secured French and Australian deals for social experiment format “Look Me in The Eye.” The show, launched at Mipcom, puts the power of eye contact to the test by attempting to reunite divided friends and families. It was created by British company CPL Productions, a Red Arrow company, and commissioned by ProSiebenSat.1 for Germany. The German version will be produced by RedSeven Entertainment. Red Arrow has also sold the format to TF1 Group in France and Endemol Shine for SBS in Australia.

Germany’s UFA Serial Drama is set to produce a local version of FremantleMedia’s “Suspects” for RTL, the first international commission for the format. The innovative crime drama about a team of detectives sees its cast improvise their dialogue based on a detailed plot description, with each episode exploring a new case.

The format was devised by Paul Marquess, managing director of FremantleMedia UK’s production label Newman Street. It debuted in the U.K. on Channel 5 in February 2014 and became the commercial broadcaster’s highest rated British drama in the past five years.

Starline Entertainment is set to re-team with Arts Alliance to represent television and VOD rights for a new event documentary, “Revolution: New Art for a New World,” which marks the centenary of the Russian Revolution. The deal follows the two companies’ successful collaboration on event opera title “Jonas Kaufmann: An Evening with Puccini.”

The new film, directed by Mary Kinmonth (“The Royal Paint Box”) and produced by Maureen Murray for Foxtrot Films, pinpoints a pivotal period of momentous creativity triggered by the Bolshevik rising of 1917. It explores how revolutionary artists, including Chagall and Kandinsky, sought to build a radically new aesthetic for a completely new form of society and features actors including Tom Hollander and Matthew Macfadyen recreating key characters from the period.

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