FremantleMedia has acquired a majority stake in French production company Kwai, which specialises in TV movies and series. Paris-based former film critic Thomas Bourguignon, creator of French detective series Femmes de Loi, founded the company. FremantleMedia France chief exec Monica Galer will become CEO of Kwai. She also brokered the deal. Kwai has produced and had broadcast three shows this year alone: two TV movies, Un Fils and Meurtre a Carcassonne, as well as pilot Le Zebre. Kwai also has Republican Gangsters for Canal Plus and Godzilla for Arte in the pipelines.
“Thomas Bourguignon is a brilliant writer and producer and we look forward to creating some really exciting scripted projects with him, in France and beyond,” said Galer.
Before founding Kwai, Bourguigon worked for influential French publication Positif and also served as a member of Cannes Film Festival’s selection committee for five years. He also worked as a TV program consultant for M6. He created and produced the series Femmes de Loi while at Alizes Film. In 2002, Bourguignon set up BB Films with Patrick Benedek.
In a separate development, FremantleMedia International has acquired global distribution rights, excluding North America and the UK, from UK indie Arrow Media for their upcoming docu series Hitler: The Biography (working title). Chronicling Adolf Hitler from childhood to his downfall, the six-part series features newly unearthed archive materials, declassified documents, and new CGI techniques. The series has been commissioned by the Discovery-owned American Heroes Channel. The series will include never-before-seen interviews to provide an insight into the character, behavior, habits and beliefs of Germany’s Führer, who would go from being named Time magazine’s Man of the Year in 1938 to becoming one of history’s most reviled mass murderers. Hitler: The Biography was commissioned by Winona Meringolo and Brent Hatherill for American Heroes Channel. Ash Potterton is exec producer for Arrow Media.