Viacom International Media Networks exec, William Tan, has been appointed Managing Director of Endemol Shine China. He will oversee Endemol Shine Group’s operations in the Middle Kingdom with offices in Beijing and Shanghai. In China, the newly-formed behemoth is developing and co-developing formats, providing production services, exploiting IP and promoting Chinese content abroad. Endemol Shine Group’s local credits include five series of celebrity talent format Your Face Sounds Familiar for Hunan TV, and The Brain for Jiangsu TV. It’s also partnered with digital video platform Youku Tudou to launch the first-ever Chinese version of Big Brother. Tan has 12 years experience in the Chinese market, having played a central role in shaping the strategic direction of Viacom’s business there.
Luke Evans is lending his voice to docudrama Bonobos: Back To The Wild. Evans plays the role of Beni, an orphaned bonobo ape who is rescued and rehabilitated by Claudine André and her Lola Ya Bonobo Rescue Center in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The film is based on a true story and is primarily documentary in structure, with limited reenactments to chronicle events that actually happened. Bonobos: Back To The Wild will be released in North America by Hannover House later this year with major natural history museums as the primary theatrical venues before a late summer home video release. Net proceeds will be splitbetween the World Wildlife Fund and the Lola Ya Bonobo Rescue Center to help the endangered species. Alain Tixier directs.
In a further example of majors snapping up stakes in UK indies, FremantleMedia is taking a 25% share in Corona TV, the newly-formed sister company of Corona Pictures, which was founded by Richard Johns and Rupert Jermyn in 2009. The deal gives FremantleMedia a first-look option on all Corona TV output and pushes Fremantle deeper into scripted. The partners are already teamed for a drama/adventure series project based on Wilbur Smith’s Birds Of Prey.