Author Jeff Norton reads Alienated for kids staying home

Award-winning author Jeff Norton is reading his acclaimed middle-grade novel, Alienated: Grounded At Groom Lake, to kids staying home from school during the coronavirus crisis.

Norton, best-known for his popular ‘MetaWars‘ novels (Hachette) and laugh-out-loud ‘Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie‘ books (Faber & Faber), started reading one chapter each day on 17th of March.

“We’re all staying home to stay safe, so I wanted to offer kids and parents a daily dose of story time,” says Norton.

‘Alienated’ is the story of Sherman Capote, the only human boy at the high school for aliens at Area 51. The fish-out-of-water book has been likened to ‘Harry Potter’ meets ‘Star Wars’ with a dash of ‘Men In Black.’

“Because we can’t go to school right now, I thought it’d be fun to tell a set in school, about the balance between fitting in and standing out.”

Popular book review site Toppsta calls Alienated: “A highly entertaining series with themes of diversity, friendship, teamwork and perseverance, ALIENATED features a wild mix of characters thrown together in Groom Lake High, a school like no other. Jeff Norton grips readers from the outset of ALIENATED, with his trademark funny, observant and fast-paced story-telling.”

Norton is reading a chapter of the book every day and posting to his YouTube Channel and and on PopJam where he has over 70,000 followers.

‘Alienated’ is published by Awesome Reads in the UK and RandomHouse in Germany. Translation rights are repped by Sarah Pakenham at ScallyWag Press.

 

Susan Hill’s Ghost Story a Ratings Hit for Channel 5

Feature drama ‘Susan Hill’s Ghost Story’ (‘The Small Hand’) debuted in the busy Christmas period on Boxing Day at 9m, garnering nearly 1m viewers on the night and 1.71m in seven day consolidated (source: BARB, overnights.tv).

The piece struck a chord with critics:

“This quiet feature-length adaptation… has an admirable commitment to its slow-burn mood and gradually intensifying sense of mystery.” – THE TIMES

“successfully spine-tingling production…the mood is pleasingly sickening and the conclusion satisfactorily horrific.” – SUNDAY TIMES CULTURE

“Barbara Machin has done a good job adapting Susan Hill’s thrilling ghostly tale…Douglas Henshall is excellent as Adam. – TV TIMES

“This adaptation delivered the frights we long for at Christmas. It was filled with more shivers than the Beeb’s effort on Christmas Eve.” – DAILY MAIL

“Whether or not you believe in ghosts this one-off drama based on Susan Hill’s novel The Small Hand is guaranteed to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.” – THE I

This project mark’s Awesome’s first produced scripted drama since pivoting  from a rights-holder to an active indie prodco, and it is emblematic of the Awesome’s creative strategy to adapt well-loved books for the screen.

It was co-produced by Glasgow based Two Rivers Media, in association with Screen Scotland.

AWESOME & Two Rivers Media to Present ‘THE SMALL HAND’ at C21 Content London

SUSAN HILL’S THE SMALL HAND: A GHOST STORY to be featured as a “Hot Property” at C21 Content London

London, UK– At Content London, the world’s most important drama summit, Kew Media Group backed companies Awesome Media & Entertainment Ltd. and Two Rivers Media will present their new feature drama, ‘Susan Hill’s The Small Hand: A Ghost Story’ to the international drama community.

Executive Producers Jeff Norton and Alan Clements will showcase the project on 4th December, 2019 at 3 pm in Hall 2 at Kings Place.

The feature drama was commissioned by Viacom’s Channel 5 in the UK. Kew Media Distribution is handling international rights. The project features Douglass Henshall in the lead role of Adam Snow. It was written by Barbara Machin, produced by Jane Steventon, and directed by Justin Molotnikov.

The project is a co-production between Awesome and Two Rivers Media in association with Screen Scotland.

Awesome options novel from police detective turned best-selling crime author Caroline Mitchell

Company to develop the first book in the DI Amy Winter series,  TRUTH AND LIES, for television

London, UK– At Capital Crime, London’s festival of crime writing, Awesome Media & Entertainment Ltd. (Awesome) announces that it has optioned the media rights to crime-thriller TRUTH AND LIES, by New York Times best-selling author, and former police detective, Caroline Mitchell.

Published in 2018 by Thomas & Mercer, an imprint of Amazon Publishing, TRUTH AND LIES is the first installment in the DI Amy Winterthriller series. Author Caroline Mitchell has published 11 crime thrillers in total and all her books have become no. 1 bestsellers in their categories with over a million copies sold.

TRUTH AND LIES follows London Met detective, 33-year-old Amy Winter, who is the daughter of a husband-and-wife serial killer team imprisoned for a string of heinous killings years ago. When a teenage girl goes missing, Amy is forced to reconnect with her incarcerated mother Lillian in order to prevent another murder. She soon becomes entangled in her mother’s psychopathic game and must confront her own dark past in a race against the clock.

Since taking investment from Kew Media Group in 2018, Awesome has been focusing on high-end book-to-screen adaptations and is currently in production on the adaptation of Susan Hill’s novel THE SMALL HAND: A GHOST STORY starring Douglas Henshall for Channel 5 with its co-production partner, Two Rivers Media.

Speaking at Capital Crime, author Caroline Mitchell says: “I am thrilled that Awesome Media & Entertainment have optioned Truth And Lies for TV. Having met Jeff Norton and the team, I know my book could not be in better hands.  I am very excited to see what the future brings.”

Executive Producer Jeff Norton says: “In Amy Winter, Caroline Mitchell has crafted a compelling character that leaps off the page and demands to be brought to the screen. It’s an honour to be trusted by such a gifted author to develop her work for British television.”

Rights were acquired from Hayley Steed at the Madeleine Milburn Literary, TV & Film Agency.

Cast Announced for adaptation of Susan Hill’s THE SMALL HAND

Douglas Henshall, Neve McIntosh and Louise Lombard to lead stellar cast in the feature drama adaptation of Susan Hill’s The Small Hand: A Ghost Storyfor Channel 5

Justin Molotnikov directs the first adaptation of a Susan Hill book since 2012’s blockbuster feature film The Woman In Black

10thSeptember, 2019

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND 9THSeptember, 2019 – Production companies Awesome Media & Entertainment and Two Rivers Mediaannounced start of production in Glasgow on the adaptation of Susan Hill’s novel The Small Hand: A Ghost Story. 

Douglas Henshall(Shetland, Outlander) stars as Adam Snow, an antique book dealer who finds himself haunted by the ghost of a young boy. As Adam investigates the strange occurrences, he suffers nightmares as he receives further, increasingly sinister, visits from the ghost, ultimately revealing a haunting secret from his own childhood.

Justin Molotnikov, whose credits include: Doctor Whofor the BBC One; Stan Lee’s Lucky Manfor Sky; and Merlin and Atlantis, both BBC One, directs from a script by BAFTA winner Barbara Machin, who is best known as the creator of WakingThe Dead(BBC One).

Douglas Henshall says: “I’m absolutely delighted to join the cast of The Small Hand.  Barbara Machin has written a brilliant script based on Susan Hill’s haunting, seminal novel.  The combination of filming in my hometown of Glasgow and the strength of the material make this project a true highlight.”

This is the first adaptation of a Susan Hill book since her iconic ghost story, The Woman In Black, was adapted into a blockbuster feature film in 2012 starring Daniel Radcliffe. The stage adaption of that title continues to run in the West End.

Jeff Norton, Founder of Awesome Media & Entertainment says: “At Awesome, we focus on bringing brilliant books to the screen with best-in-class partners. This incredible cast showcases the strength of pairing great literature with strong screenwriting. It’s an honour to bring this gripping story to the screen.”

Alan Clements, Managing Director of Two Rivers Mediasays “I couldn’t be prouder to start production in Glasgow with hometown star Douglas Henshall under the direction of incredible Scottish director Justin Molotnikov. This project demonstrates the strength of talent we have in Scotland and Two Rivers Media is perfectly placed to bring this talent to the world.”

Sebastian Cardwell, Commissioning Editor for Channel 5, says: “Take Susan Hill’s novel, Barbara Machin’s script and a talented UK cast and you have all the ingredients for a terrific ghost story.”

Commissioned by Sebastian Cardwell, Susan Hill’sThe Small Hand:(w/t, 1x 120’) is a co-production between Alan Clements’ new Glasgow-based indie Two Rivers Mediaand Jeff Norton’s IP and production company Awesome Media & Entertainment, both backed by Kew Media Group, and receives major support from Screen Scotland. Kew Media Distributionis handling worldwide sales and will showcase the project at MIPCOM in Cannes in October under the title Susan Hill’s The Small Hand: A Ghost Story.

Filming commences today in Glasgow.

KEW MEDIA BACKED AWESOME AND TWO RIVERS MEDIA JOIN FORCES FOR CHANNEL 5 DRAMA

Toronto, ON, August 21, 2019 – KEW MEDIA GROUP INC. (“KEW MEDIA”, “KEW” or the “Company”) (TSX:KEW and KEW.WT) today announced that two of its companies, Awesome Media & Entertainmentand fast-growing Glasgow indie Two Rivers Media,have joined forces to bring Susan Hill’sThe Small Hand: A Ghost Storyto Channel 5 in the UK. This is Awesome’s first book-to-screen commission and also heralds Two Rivers’ move into drama.

Susan Hill is the best-selling ‘queen of horror’, whose titles include blockbuster, The Woman in Black, now a major film and West End stage play. Based on the bookThe Small Hand: A Ghost Story,the 2-hour single drama The Small Hand (w/t)comes to Channel 5 in a haunting, modern adaptation by writer Barbara Machin, creator of BBC’s long-running crime drama, Waking the Dead.  It will be directed by Justin Molotnikov, whose credits include: Doctor Whofor the BBC; Stan Lee’s Lucky Manfor Sky; and Merlinand Atlantis, both BBC.

Jeff Norton, Awesome’s Founder,optionedSusan Hill’sThe Small Hand: A Ghost Story andhas partnered with Two Rivers Media to mount production in Scotland. Once completed KEW Media Distribution will distribute the drama internationally. In addition to backing from Channel 5, the project has secured major investment from Screen Scotland.  

Jeff Norton, Founder, Awesome, says: “Susan Hill’sThe Small Hand: A Ghost Storyexemplifies our book-to-screen creative strategy; a perfect alchemy of brilliant source material, inspired adaptation, and great production partners. Between Susan Hill’s iconic novel and Barbara Machin’s inspired screenplay, we have developed a haunting, nuanced ghost story that is destined to become a future classic.” 

Alan Clements, CEO of Two Rivers Media, adds: “Drama is very important to the development of Two Rivers. We are delighted to be partnering with Awesome on this, our first drama project. Bringing such a high-profile project to Glasgow, one which should not only excite UK audiences but those around the world, reflects our vision for Two Rivers’ drama. This is a fantastic project and one we cannot wait to start work on.”

Steven Silver, Co-Founder and CEO of KEW MEDIA GROUP said “This is exactly the kind of cross-company collaboration we envisioned when building Kew. With three of our companies working together on a new scripted project, we are seeing creative, international, and strategic partnership at its best.”

The Small Hand (w/t)has been commissioned by Sebastian Cardwell, Commissioning Editor at Channel 5. It tells the story of Adam Snow, an antique book dealer who finds himself haunted by the ghost of a young boy. As Adam investigates the strange occurrences, he suffers nightmares as he receives further, increasingly sinister visits from the ghost, ultimately revealing a haunting secret from his own childhood.

This is the first adaptation of a Susan Hill book since her iconic ghost story, The Woman In Black, was adapted into a huge feature film in 2012 starring Daniel Radcliffe. The stage adaption of that title continues to run in the West End.

Mark Thomas from Screen Scotlandadds: “This project presents a great opportunity for Scotland, not only for Two Rivers but also for the wider crew and talent base who will benefit from this exciting production. As a new company, Two Rivers have already shown their drive and ambition to work across genres to create high-quality content for international markets and this co-production underlines that. Screen Scotland’s support through the Broadcast Content Fund recognises the importance of creating Scottish IP and supporting our sector to develop productions of scale.”

The Small Hand (w/t) is written by Barbara Machin, directed by Justin Molotnikov and produced by Jane Steventon. It is Executive Produced by Jeff Norton for Awesome, Alan Clements for Two Rivers Media, and Mark Thomas for Screen Scotland, with author Susan Hill and writer Barbara Machin also serving as executive producers. KEW Media Distribution is handling international distribution, under the title Susan Hill’s The Small Hand: A Ghost Story.

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NOTES TO EDITORS

About Awesome

Awesome Media & Entertainment (‘Awesome’) was founded by writer-producer Jeff Norton (former SVP at Chorion Ltd (Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie estates). 

Awesome is a creative content company dedicated to the creation of compelling characters, engaging stories, and immersive worlds. Awesome began as the intellectual property vehicle for author Jeff Norton’s novels and creations, publishing over 25 novels with major publishers, and is now developing television adaptations of its books, novels by acclaimed authors, and original high-end drama.  Awesome partners with best-in-class production partners including Two Rivers Media, the Jim Henson Company, OmniFilm Entertainment, and Monumental Television.  Awesome recently launched its successful Awesome Reads fiction imprint and graphic novels studio. The company is backed by Kew Media Group and Tricycle Media. 

www.awesomemediaent.com

About Screen Scotland

Screen Scotland is the dedicated partnership for screen in Scotland.  With funding from Scottish Government and the National Lottery, Screen Scotland is driving the cultural, social and economic development of all aspects of the sector in Scotland, through enhanced funding, services and support. Screen Scotland sits within Creative Scotland and is a partnership with Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Funding Council, working in close collaboration with the sector to ensure its success.

www.screen.scot@screenscots

About Two Rivers Media

Two Rivers Media is one of the most ambitious new indies to launch onto the market in recent years.  Founded by CEO Alan Clements, former Director of Content at STV Productions, and headquartered in Glasgow, Two Rivers aims to create compelling content in factual, factual entertainment, entertainment and scripted.  This multi-genre company of scale to serve the Scottish, UK and international markets. Its creative team is lead by:

  • Mick McAvoy, Head of Factual– former Head of Factual at STV Productions whose credits include the award-winning Piper Alpha–Fire In The Night (BBC Two/theatrical release); Dunblane: Our Story(BBC One); Inside Barlinnie with Ross Kemp(ITV1);  Prison: First and Last 24 Hoursfor Sky One and Walking the Amazonfor Channel Five and Discovery. 
  • Mirella Breda, Head of Entertainment-most recently Managing Director of Initial and formerly Executive editor of BBC Entertainment commissioning. Her credits include developing and exec producing Masterchef (BBC One), Dragons Den (BBC Two), Comic Relief(BBC One) and Initial’s Total Wipeout(BBC One). 
  • Lizi Wootton, Head of Popular Factual – most recently Acting Head of Features and senior Commissioning Editor, Features, at Channel 4, where she commissioned ratings winnerMy Family and the Galapagos, festive schedule stalwartWhat Britain Bought,Penelope Keith’s Hidden Villages and Channel 4’s highest-rating 8pm origination,Escape to the Chateau.
  • Lucy Bacon, Director of Unscripted Development– latterly Head of UK Factual Development at Warner Bros. Television Production UK’s Wall to Wall Media, where  she oversaw the development of many high-profile projects including The Twinstitute (BBC Two); Danny Dyer’s Right Royal Family (BBC One); and The 100 Years Younger Experiment(ITV).  She takes up her position at Two Rivers Media on 19 August. 
  • Two Rivers is currently in the process of recruiting a Head of Drama

The company was launched in January 2019, its creation coinciding with Channel 4’s committed spend 50% of its programme budget outside London by 2023 and its plans to establish a Creative Cluster in Glasgow; the BBC’s commitment to spending 9% of its network budget in Scotland; and the ambitions of the Scottish Government and new agency Screen Scotland which has just been given additional funds of £10m to boost the sector. The company is backed by Kew Media, Noble Grossart and the Channel 4 Growth Fund.

www.tworiversmedia.co.uk

About KEW MEDIA GROUP

KEW MEDIA GROUP is a leading publicly-listed content company that produces and distributes multi-genre content worldwide. Companies included in the KEW family are the production companies: 4East Media, Architect Films, Awesome Media & Entertainment, Bristow Global Media, Collins Avenue Productions, Essential Media Group, Frantic Films, Jigsaw Productions, Media Headquarters, Our House Media, Sienna Films, Spirit Digital Media and Two Rivers Media; and the distribution companies: KEW MEDIA Distribution and TCB Media Rights.

With primary offices in London, Los Angeles, New York, Sydney and Toronto, the KEW MEDIA GROUP companies develop, produce and distribute more than 2,000 new hours of content every year, as well as distribute a library of more than 14,000 hours, to almost every available viewing platform worldwide. KEW aspires to offer great content from all over the world to viewers of all ages and tastes. The Company promotes transparency, equality, respect, and inclusiveness and plans to grow with the benefit of people from a wide range of perspectives and backgrounds.

AWESOME LAUNCHES GRAPHIC NOVEL STUDIO

First Title, RETROGRADE, Debuts at San Diego Comic Con

New Titles to be Developed for the Screen

San Diego, CA – July 16th, 2019:Awesome Media & Entertainment Ltd. (Awesome), the IP and production company founded by writer-producer Jeff Norton, is launching a new graphic novel studio after the successful launch of its fiction publishing imprint Awesome Reads in 2018. Prolific comic book writer Richard Dinnick joins as Publisher. 

Awesome Reads will develop high-concept, character-driven comics for a broad, adult readership which will also be developed for the screen. The studio will launch with Retrograde,a post-apocalyptic love story about the survivors of a retro-virus that has dialled back the evolutionary clock on most of the planet’s DNA. Retrogradeis written by Richard Dinnick (Doctor WhoLost In Space), with art by Pasquale Qualano, colors by Charlie Kirchoff, and lettering by Comicraft’s Richard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt. 

Retrogradelaunches today with a SDCC exclusive. It will be followed in December by #Guardian, written by Erika Lewis, a modern western about a former CIA agent named Sera Renteria who becomes a self-fashioned vigilante who responds to cries for help over social media.

Titles for 2020 include Brexodus, a political thriller set in an alternative modern-day Britain as it attempts to secede from the Roman Empire, and Cortex, a high-tech mystery about hacking human memory to solve crimes.

Publisher and writer Richard Dinnick says: “I’m thrilled to bring Awesome Reads into the realm of graphic novels as we’re truly in a golden age of graphic storytelling and Awesome has incredibly creative content to delight readers around the world.”

Founder of Awesome, Jeff Norton adds: “The graphic novel studio completes the creative circle we’ve been building: from book to screen and back again. We are thrilled to be on the ground floor with top talent and we’ll be partnering with best-in-class production partners to develop these visually arresting stories for the screen.”

This initiative comes on the heels of Awesome’s development of its Dino Knightsnovel for television with OmniFilm Entertainment and The Jim Henson Company into a live-action show Knigths Of Panterrawith showrunner Simon Barry.

Awesome Reads can be found at: www.AwesomeReads.com

Awesome options YA novel THE LAST WISH OF SASHA CADE from KCP Loft

Jeff Norton’s London-based company to develop book for television

Los Angeles, CA — 17 May 2019:At C21 LA, Awesome Media & Entertainment Ltd. (Awesome), the creative content company founded by writer-producer Jeff Norton, has optioned the media rights to THE LAST WISH OF SASHA CADE, by Texas-based YA author Cheyanne Young.

Cheyanne Young’s novel

Published by KCP Loft, the YA imprint of award-winning children’s book publisher Kids Can Press, THE LAST WISH OF SASHA CADE was adored by reviewers when it was published last year, with comparisons to YA superstars John Green and Sarah Dessen among the accolades.

Awesome will immediately begin developing THE LAST WISH OF SASHA CADE for television. The deal marks Awesome’s second major literary acquisition since taking investment from global content company Kew Media Group. With Kew’s backing, Awesome is ramping up its scripted development of book-based IP.

Executive Producer Jeff Norton says: “I immediately fell in love with Cheyanne Young’s incredible cast of characters and the book’s poignant, down-the-rabbit-hole mystery. This is the heartbreaking yet hopeful and uplifting story that we all need right now. Sasha Cade restores one’s faith in the goodness of humanity and exemplifies the courage and kindness within today’s teenagers.”

In THE LAST WISH OF SASHA CADE, high school senior Raquel is overcome with grief following the death of her very best friend, Sasha, who had been battling cancer. Soon Raquel receives a letter from her late friend that sends her on a series of scavenger hunts and adventures with a handsome stranger — all leading Raquel to wonder if she knew the real Sasha at all.

“I am humbled and thrilled to see my characters brought to life on screen,”said author Cheyanne Young.“I hope the message of friendship will leave a lasting impression on everyone who sees it.”

Kids Can Press, a leading children’s book publisher based in Toronto, has enjoyed a long history of shepherding books to screen, most recently with Nelvana’s animated short film adaptation of Ashley Spires’s bestselling picture book The Most Magnificent Thing, narrated by Whoopi Goldberg.

Lisa Lyons Johnston, President and Publisher, Kids Can Press, says: “The moment I finished reading the manuscript for THE LAST WISH OF SASHA CADE, I knew it would make a brilliant transition from page to screen with all the elements of heartbreak, intrigue and romance beautifully woven through Cheyanne’s story. We’re delighted that Awesome recognized that potential, too.”

AWESOME MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT LAUNCHES PUBLISHING IMPRINT ‘AWESOME READS’

Ingrid Selberg joins as Director of Publishing

London, UK – 24 September 2018: Awesome Media & Entertainment Ltd. (Awesome), the I.P. and production company founded by writer-producer Jeff Norton, is launching a new publishing imprint Awesome Reads.

Former Managing Director of Simon & Schuster Children’s UK Ingrid Selberg is joining to oversee the company as Director of Publishing.

Awesome Reads will publish 3-4 books a year with a focus on high concept, commercial stories that capture the imagination. The imprint will launch with Alienated: Grounded at Groom Lake, a comedy adventure about the only human boy at the school for aliens at the infamous Area 51.

Alienated will publish on 1 November, closely followed in January 2019 by a second title – Dino Knights: Knights of Panterra, the first instalment in a book series about a team of teenage, medieval knights who ride into adventure. The first two books written by Jeff Norton, but Awesome Reads is already working with a raft of other authors.

Awesome Media & Entertainment will be looking at ways to exploit the IP of the books published by Awesome Reads across multiple platforms globally, primarily developing the content for television.

Director of Publishing Ingrid Selberg says: “I’m delighted to be working with Jeff Norton to launch Awesome Reads and bring these stories which are exciting and emotionally engaging to a wide readership.”

Founder of Awesome, Jeff Norton adds: “As both an author and a producer, it’s been my mission to create a virtuous circle from books to screen and back again to inspire young people to become lifelong readers. Awesome Reads closes that circle.”

Awesome Reads can be found at: www.AwesomeReads.com