The company, which Barmack, who was VP International Originals for Latin America, EMEA and India, set up earlier this year after leaving the SVOD service, is working with Germany’s ZDF Enterprises and Australia’s Werner Film Productions, on the young adult drama series.
The book, written by Australian author Melina Marchetta, was first published in Australia in 2006 and in the U.S. in 2008. It centers around 17-year-old Taylor Markham, leader of the boarding school underground community on Jellicoe Road. Taylor was abandoned by her mother when she was 11, and her only recollection of her father is a brief memory of standing on her father’s shoulders. The only adult influence in her life is her mentor and guardian Hannah, who lives in the unfinished house by the river, and writes stories about five kids who lived there in the 1980s and who has suddenly vanished into thin air at a time when Taylor really needs her.
To top all of Taylor’s problems off, there is a territory war going on between the Boarders, the Townies (kids from Jellicoe Town) and the Cadets (Sydney boys who come to Jellicoe for a six-week training exercise every year). The leader of the cadets this year happens to be the very boy who Taylor ran away with when she was 14 in search of her mother. The one who betrayed her trust and she never wanted to see again.
Dance Academy writer Samantha Strauss and Secret City writer Angela Betzien are on board to help adapt.
Erik Barmack, CEO and Founder of Wild Sheep Content, said, “Young adult series have become truly global, and we are thrilled to be working on bringing this seminal Australian work to a global audience with Werner Film Productions and ZDF Enterprises.”
Joanna Werner, Executive Producer at Werner Film Productions, said, “On The Jellicoe Road is one of my favorite books of all time and I am so thrilled to be developing this with Melina, Erik, Fred and all at ZDF Enterprises. It is an enthralling, sophisticated, complex and gripping teen story which I can’t wait to see on the screen.”
Fred Burcksen, President and CEO, ZDF Enterprises, added, “We are very proud of our long-standing and successful partnerships with both Joanna Werner and Erik Barmack and are really excited to be partnering with them on this outstanding new project. My team is very much looking forward to work with these experienced partners on the development of this amazing story.”