StudioCanal has invested in UK scripted indie Strong Film & Television led by Broadchurch director James Strong as co-founder and joint creative director, along with executive producer Loretta Preece and leading UK executive Matt Tombs. StudioCanal’s backing was announced today at Mip TV in Cannes.
As well as helming award-winning and ratings-hit Broadchurch, James Strong was also lead director and executive producer of the highly acclaimed ITV thriller Liar starring Joanne Froggatt and Ioan Gruffudd and the award-winning BBC series Vigil starring Suranne Jones, for which Strong recently won BAFTA Scotland’s Best Director award. Additionally, Strong has most recently directed The Suspect for ITV, Crime for BritBox, and in the US the pilot of Fire Country, CBS’ breakout hit of the 2022-23 season which has recently been picked up for a second series. Additionally Strong has directed the forthcoming feature Anna starring Maxine Peake and Ciaran Hinds.
A long-time member of the key creative team behind BBC’s long-running series Doctors, joint creative director Loretta Preece produced the BBC’s flagship medical drama Casualty. She has just completed production on the second series of The Sister Boniface Mysteries, made by BBCS for BritBox International.
Veteran channel executive Matt Tombs is co-founder and managing director of the indie. Tombs has held management, commissioning positions at the BBC, UKTV and Viacom CBS as well as drama and entertainment roles at a number of leading companies.
Based in both Bristol and London, and with a line-up of film and tv projects in various stages of development, Strong Film & Television has secured a new development commission following the deal. The Out (w/t), a social thriller set against the original and volatile backdrop of a juvenile prison, will be the first production greenlit to be jointly developed by Strong Film & Television and StudioCanal. The Out is the debut project written by promising young author George Kellock, a graduate of 2022 Talent Unlimited, and marks the first funded development project to emerge from Vivendi’s writers’ residence run by Amandine Maudet in partnership with StudioCanal.
StudioCanal CEO Anna Marsh and Executive Managing Director TV Series Francoise Guyonnet comment: “As we continue to build our carefully curated portfolio of production companies throughout Europe we are extremely pleased to be working with James, Loretta and Matt whose experience is second to none. Each of them has long-lasting relationships with UK commissioners and understand our European DNA. We are committed to aligning ourselves with the very best creatives who embrace our mission to bring prestige drama to our many clients across all platforms and are delighted to kick off our new relationship with the joint development of The Out by young writer George Kellock.”
James Strong adds, “Loretta, Matt and I want to create contemporary, emotional and bold pieces that connect with international viewers as well as in the UK. We believe that partnering with StudioCanal will give us an even deeper grasp of what global film and tv audiences are looking for and, with their talented teams across financing and sales, we will be able to make programming that will engage with audiences and travel throughout the world. We’re extremely excited to launch this new era of Strong Film & Television by adding a remarkable series such as The Out to our existing slate of brilliant ideas.”
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