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.
NOTES TO EDITORS
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.
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.
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.
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.