Fremantle has acquired a majority stake in Normal People, The Favourite, Room and Conversations With Friends indie, Element Pictures.

Element Pictures is managed by Co-founders Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe, with offices in Dublin, London, and Belfast.

The deal was spearheaded by Fremantle’s Group COO, and Continental Europe CEO, Andrea Scrosati and Lorenzo De Maio, of De Maio Entertainment. The acquisition is part of Fremantle’s plan to invest in and develop premium production companies and creative talents from around the world.

Element Pictures upcoming television productions include Conversations With Friends, based on Sally Rooney’s debut literary sensation which is set be amongst the hottest TV releases of 2022. The 12-part series was developed and produced by Element Pictures, directed by Lenny Abrahamson and Leanne Welham, co-written by Alice Birch and will premiere on BBC and Hulu on May 15th 2022, and will roll out globally soon after.

This follows on from Element Pictures award-winning adaptation of Sally Rooney’s best-selling novel Normal People, released in 2020.

Recent Element Pictures film credits include Lenny Abrahamson’s Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA winning Room, and The Little Stranger; Yorgos Lanthimos’ Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA winning The Favourite starring Olivia Colman, The Killing Of A Sacred Deer and The Lobster (Jury Prize, Cannes), and Sebastián Lelio’s Disobedience; and Sean Durkin’s The Nest.

Ed Guiney & Andrew Lowe, Founders of Element Pictures, said: “Element Pictures is 21 years old this year and it is incredibly exciting for us and our wonderful colleagues to be entering a new and ambitious phase of growth in partnership with our friends at Fremantle at a truly exhilarating time for our industry. We are huge fans of the people at Fremantle, their vision for the future and the extraordinary talent they are working with across film and television. Collaborating closely with Jen, Andrea, Lorenzo, Christian, Jens, and their brilliant team will allow us to build on and grow our existing relationships with the very best creators in the world and expand our capacity to make exceptional film and television drama for international audiences”.

Andrea Scrosati, Fremantle Group COO, CEO Continental Europe, said: “Fremantle is proud to be investing and partnering with the very best creative minds in the business. Ed, Andrew, and the amazing Element Pictures team certainly fall into this category. They have built an astonishing company, which has become one of Europe’s most exciting and innovative creative production companies. We look forward to working closely with their immensely talented creatives, helping to build on their slate of high-quality, sophisticated, and powerful productions. Creative freedom will sit at the very heart of this partnership, and everyone at Fremantle is excited to be working with the Element Pictures team and supporting their growth internationally.”

The investment in Element Pictures follows the acquisitions over the past 12 months which include acquiring UK based independent production company, Dancing Ledge (The Responder), scripted Italian production company Lux Vide (Devils, Leonardo), international development and production company Fabel (Bosch), Australian-American television production company Eureka Productions (Parental Guidance, Finding Magic Mike) and UK unscripted production company Label1 (Hospital, Five Guys a Week, Soldier) and 12 production labels in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark from Nordic Entertainment Group (This is Nice Group).

In addition to spearheading the deal, De Maio Entertainment, a Fremantle-backed company, will be a strategic advisor and partner across Element Pictures’ slate.

Element Pictures current television in production includes The Gallows Pole (BBC/A24), the sBBC period drama from director Shane Meadows and Nancy Harris’ eight-part comedy drama The Dry (BritBox/RTE/ITV Studios/Screen Ireland). Previous television includes the co-production of The Dublin Murders with the Fremantle backed Euston Films.

Current films in post-production include Sebastián Lelio’s The Wonder (Netflix), with Florence Pugh; Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things (Searchlight Pictures), starring Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo and Willem Dafoe; Stephen William’s historical biopic Chevalier (Searchlight Pictures), starring Kelvin Harrison Jr and Joanna Hogg’s The Eternal Daughter (BBC Films/A24) starring Tilda Swinton.

Recent Element Pictures film releases include Phyllida Lloyd’s Herself, and Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir Part II (BBC Films/A24) which enjoyed its world premiere at Directors’ Fortnight 2021.

Jon Creamer

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