Factual content specialist Off The Fence (OTF) and boomsatsuma, specialist in education for the next generation of talent for the creative industries, have entered into a partnership under which OTF will be the first TV production company to shoot a series in boomsatsuma’s new Bristol-based studio facility.

Sustainability network EarthxTV has commissioned a second season of Ocean Wonders (8 x 60 min), which explores the science behind the intriguing mysteries of the underwater world. The decision to film parts of the series at boomsatsuma’s new studio in the Brislington area of Bristol will enable students to gain invaluable real-world experience of the creative and commercial processes involved in producing a premium documentary series.

Ocean Wonders, fronted by heavy-metal marine biologist Tom ‘The Blowfish’ Hird, is produced for OTF by Luke Lovell and exec produced by managing director Andrew Zikking. Set to premiere in early 2024 in the US, the new series will investigate the survival superpowers of some of the ocean’s wildest and weirdest creatures. Leading the audiences from the shallows of the shoreline to the deepest ocean trench, The Blowfish will conduct his signature experiments and stunts to test theories, bust common misconceptions and explain the baffling behaviour of our planet’s most mysterious creatures.

These stunts will take place in The Blowfish’s ‘lab’, which has already been installed in boomsatuma’s new TV, film and game-production studio. This new studio-training facility, which opened its doors in October last year, offers Bristol’s next generation of creative talent access to experiential learning, alongside fully equipped and cost-effective studio space, a games lab, a green room, and post-production and audio/grading suites.

OTF’s Andrew Zikking said: “We specialise in films and content that have sustainability and the natural world at their core. These values extend to supporting and celebrating our local community, so we’re especially proud to be able to shoot parts of a very global series in our hometown of Bristol. It’s also clear that we’re working with some of the stars of tomorrow — talent that we hope will want to work with OTF again as their careers develop. It’s a win-win.”

Award-winning TV producer and director Dr Susan McMillan, Executive Dean of boomsatsuma, said: “This is the first big booking for the studio and one that we hope will herald a new era of investment in and commitment to studio training for our students. This first partnership with OTF is exactly what our students need to gain on set experience that’s so essential to their professional development. We all know how hard it is for fresh and diverse talent to break into the creative industries — and how hard it is for the creative industries to access the fresh ideas and talent they need to survive. This collaborative approach to creating opportunity is exactly what we need to ensure that our regional production community is sustainable.”

Pippa Considine

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