Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios has acquired the pilot of gritty drama Up North for global distribution on its streaming services, including TheGrio and Local Now. The company will finance and distribute eight episodes of the series to launch the first season.
Written by Emil Pinnock and Ian Robertson, the Up North pilot digs into the brutal reality of the New York prison system, as an innocent teenager gets arrested for a crime he did not commit. Up North looks at incarceration and inner-city life from various points of view, taking a deep look at New York’s flawed and corrupt prison system and the violent life that feeds it. The series features an ensemble cast of Eugene Clark, Gabriel Ellis, Robert Lewis, Ian Duff and Kris Lofton.
Pinnock and Robertson will continue to write and executive produce the series, filmed by DP Eric Branco, along with Keith Patterson and Barry Tatelman. Allen and Carolyn Folks will executive produce for Entertainment Studios, with Unleashing Giants Studios & Filmbank Entertainment producing.
Up North picked up four awards at the 2017 SeriesFest television festival, including best actor, best director, best pilot, and the Audience Award, voted on by festival attendees.
“The Up North pilot episode is one of the strongest I’ve ever seen and the perfect scripted content to launch on our streaming platforms, including TheGrio and Local Now,” said Entertainment Studios Executive Producer Carolyn Folks. “After bringing Emil Pinnock and his team in to meet with us, I was immediately impressed with his unwavering commitment to authenticity – which makes Up North truly special.”
Pinnock, who recently signed a blind script deal at Blumhouse Television, has also been tapped to pen the Untitled Daymond John Project.