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 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

Jane Steventon Joins Awesome as Development Producer for UK Scripted

The Story of Tracy Beaker and Hollyoaks Later Producer joins the London- based company to work across both children’s and adult UK scripted content

London, UK – 2 July 2018: Awesome Media & Entertainment Ltd. (Awesome), the creative content company founded by writer-producer Jeff Norton, has hired Jane Steventon as Producer to work across UK scripted, focusing on both children’s and adult content.

Steventon joins Awesome with a wealth of industry experience having produced iconic kids’ television series The Story of Tracy Beaker and the film Tracy Beaker’s ‘The Movie of Me’, as well as producing popular UK dramas Hollyoaks Later and Casualty. Steventon will be working directly with Norton across the company growing development slate of both original and adapted IP.

Steventon will lead Awesome’s adaptation of the literary novel ‘The Last Wave’ together with ex-BBC Studios executive Fraser Robinson and develop television adaptations of Awesome’s best-selling book series ‘Princess Ponies’ and ‘MetaWars.’

The appointment marks Awesome’s first since taking investment from global content company Kew Media Group. With Kew’s backing, Awesome is ramping up its scripted development both in the UK and internationally.

Jeff Norton, founder of Awesome and writer-producer said: “We are thrilled to welcome Jane on board as we begin to expand our slate of scripted output. Jane’s knowledge of producing within the UK scripted landscape cross both kids and adult content will be invaluable during this next stage of growth for Awesome.”

Steventon added: “I am thrilled to be working with Jeff as Awesome continues to expand and take on exciting content in the children’s and adult scripted space.  I’m looking forward to collaborating with partners in the international arena and can’t wait to get started.”

Awesome options Gillian Best’s debut novel THE LAST WAVE from House of Anansi Press

London, UK – 20 March 2018: Awesome Media & Entertainment Ltd. (Awesome), the creative content company founded by writer-producer Jeff Norton has optioned the media rights to debut novel ‘THE LAST WAVE’.

Written by award-winning, Bristol-based Gillian Best and published by House of Anansi Press, ‘THE LAST WAVE’ won rave reviews in North America and has become a book club favourite, establishing its author as a bold new voice in literary fiction.

Awesome will immediately begin developing ‘THE LAST WAVE’ for television, with Norton and ex BBC Worldwide and ITV Studios executive Fraser Robinson attached as Executive Producers.

The deal marks Awesome’s first 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. Awesome previously optioned TV rights in Jay Gunn’s cult-hit graphic novel ‘SURFACE TENSION’ and is co-developing that franchise with Wall to Wall Television (part of Warner Bros. UK).

Executive Producer Jeff Norton says: “Awesome is an author-founded company and we want to be the home for the world’s most creative storytellers. Gillian Best’s novel is heart-breaking yet ultimately heart-warming tale that is at once a feminist story, a novel about a marriage and a narrative about one woman’s self-empowerment and liberation from domestic life.”

‘THE LAST WAVE’, set in Dover, U.K., is an intergenerational saga that revolves around the protagonist Martha, (a woman who has swum the English Channel ten times), and the complex relationships she has with her husband, her children, and her close friends. The one constant in Martha’s life is the sea, which provides an allegorical backdrop to three generations of her family.

Author Gillian Best adds: “I’m delighted that Awesome has picked up ‘THE LAST WAVE’. As an author, I’ve found it incredibly fascinating to hear how my novel has been interpreted by different readers, and I’m excited to see what new perspectives this will bring.”

House of Anansi Press, which has published authors including Margaret Atwood and Patrick De Witt, has increasingly become involved in book adaptations: Lisa Moore’s novel ‘CAUGHT’ recently aired on Canada’s CBC as a five part mini-series, and the feature length adaption of Deborah Ellis’ ‘THE BREADWINNER’ was nominated for an Academy Award.

Sarah MacLachlan, President and Publisher, House of Anansi Press, says: “‘THE LAST WAVE’ is not only beautifully written but also strikingly visual and we are delighted that Awesome will be shepherding it to the screen.”

Kew the Awesome

Hi everyone! Just a quick note from Cannes.

Today, Kew Media Group, a publicly listed media company with offices in London, Toronto, and Los Angeles announced it’s taking a stake in Awesome.

Personally, I couldn’t be more thrilled to be joining the KEW family of companies, which includes production and distribution. KEW may not be a household name, but its founders, board members and partners are some of the best in the business. And (and this is important), they are also the most professional and highly ethical in the industry.

Practically speaking, this deal means Awesome can scale up.

We plan to hire some great people (maybe it’s you…don’t hesitate to be in touch) and we’ll bring our creative development slate to screen in more impactful way. We’ll soon be in a place to help authors and writers realise their visions. Awesome grew out of the books that I wrote and co-wrote, but now, I’ll be able to work with fellow authors and creators to develop, package, and produce their best work across books and screen. I want Awesome to be the creative hub where the world’s most talented creators come to do the work that future generations will remember them by.

What won’t change is our obsession for creative quality. I will still be writing, both books and original TV script. For example, I’m writing my first adult novel now, ‘Looking Glass’ and sharing the work in process chapters on wattpad) and original script ‘Expat’ is now in co-development with Monumental Television.

The other thing that won’t change is the flexible model we work with. This deal is not a ‘first look’ or ‘distribution’ deal. Awesome will still be free to match our creative projects with the most appropriate distribution partners for each project. We’re already working with ITV Studios, Warner Bros, and WME-IMG.

This is an incredibly exciting next step in the evolution of what I set out to create a few years ago with just my laptop and backpack.

I hope you’ll join me on the next leg of this journey.

On we go,

Jeff 🙂

Awesome Media & Entertainment and Cloth Cat Animation sign deal for Stomp School

BOOK PROPERTY TO BE CO-DEVELOPED FOR TELEVISION

London, U.K., 18 September 2017: London-based Awesome Media & Entertainment, the company founded by Canadian-born creator, author and screenwriter Jeff Norton, and award-winning Welsh studio Cloth Cat Animation are entering an agreement to co-develop book property Stomp School for television. The deal was brokered by Industry Media.

Stomp School is the debut picture book from award-winning author and writer-producer Jeff Norton. It is illustrated by Leo Antolini and was published in August, 2017 by Caterpillar Books (an imprint of Little Tiger Press), to rave reviews.

Jeff Norton says: “I’m thrilled that Stomp School has found a nurturing home in Cloth Cat Animation, a creatively-driven company that will bring this eccentric cast of characters to life.”

Jon Rennie, Managing Director of Cloth Cat Animation adds: “We’re delighted to work with Jeff to develop Stomp School as an animated series. The book immediately caught our imaginations when Jeff first pitched it to us and we know it will make for a fun, energetic series for both kids and their parents, who have themselves grown up with kaiju stories!”

Adam Bailey, Head of Animation Development at Cloth Cat Animation says: “When I first saw the book, I found it instantly relatable to my own kids and how they like to build and destroy! We see so much potential in the colourful and modern style of the illustrations, which builds on the high quality work that Cloth Cat has developed a reputation for.”

The book stars Rikki, a little kaiju who just loves to build things. Kaiju is a Japanese word that has come to mean “giant monster”. Find out what happens on his first day at Stomp School, where he is in for a few surprises! Inspired by Jeff’s own challenges of childcare for his son, every parent will identify with the universal themes of creativity and destruction.

Stomp School is about having fun and being yourself; it takes the conceit of the city-stomping kaiju monster and flips the expectations on its head. The first book explores the anxiety of going to school and presents a positive fatherly role model.

 

About Awesome

Awesome Media & Entertainment (‘Awesome’) is a global creative incubator dedicated to the creation of compelling characters, engaging stories, and immersive worlds. Founded by writer-producer Jeff Norton, Awesome began as a book packager, publishing over 25 titles and is now developing television adaptations of its books as family-friendly franchises and original, high-end drama. Awesome is owned by Norton and media entrepreneur Peter Sussman. Awesome operates out of London, UK and Toronto, Canada. For more information, visit: www.awesomemediaent.com

 

About Jeff Norton

Jeff is the author of the award-winning ‘MetaWars’ novels (Hachette), the new young adult thriller ‘Keeping The Beat’ (KCP Loft), and the laugh-out-loud ‘Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie’ books (Faber). He is also the creator and co-author of the best-selling ‘Princess Ponies’ franchise (Bloomsbury). Jeff is an executive producer of ‘Trucktown’ (Nelvana), based on the books by Jon Scieszka. Previously, Jeff was SVP at Chorion Ltd. where he managed the Enid Blyton Literary estate. Before moving the UK, Jeff worked in Hollywood for both indie and studio-based production companies, and produced the award-winning ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ interactive movie. Jeff is a graduate of the Harvard Business School and was previously a marketing executive for Procter & Gamble. For more information, visit: www.jeffnorton.com

 

About Cloth Cat Animation:

Cloth Cat Animation is a 2D and CG animation studio based in Cardiff Bay, UK. Experts in character animation and passionate about great design and storytelling, they’re experienced in the development, design and technical execution of content for broadcast, commercials, promos, games and web. Based in the GloWorks, the flagship Welsh Government creative industries and media centre alongside sister companies Bait Studio and Thud Media, they form the largest animation production company in Wales.

 

Cloth Cat Animation are renowned co-production partners and their recent work can be seen on CBeebies, Disney, Cartoon Network, Sprout, Netflix, S4C, RTÉjr, ABC Australia and many more channels worldwide. Our credits include: Luo Bao Bei, Shane the Chef, Olobob Top, Ethel & Ernest, Boj, Toot the Tiny Tugboat, Grandpa in my Pocket, Ha Ha Hairies, Llan-ar-goll-en and Disney’s Tales of Friendship with Winnie the Pooh. For more information, visit: www.clothcatanimation.com