EXCLUSIVE: The trio of investor-philanthropist Vicky L. Patel, producer Steve Barnett and singer-actor-writer Alan Powell have teamed to launch Monarch Media, a new film and TV production company. The plan is to develop and produce 2-3 feature films a year in all genres and budget levels, as well as make a push into developing TV series and live event/theatrical properties.
Among the first projects in the Monarch pipeline is Deathrow-mance, a film written by Nick Ball and John Niven and based on an original concept from Tommy Wirkola (Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters) and Benedicte Westbye. Monarch optioned the script via its film fund and is now packaging the project, which will be directed by Wirkola.
Deathrow-mance centers on a British media executive who hastily marries an American death row inmate as a loophole to avoid being deported and losing a huge buyout of her company. After new evidence is found exonerating her “new” husband, he is released from prison and the two are forced on the run to save their lives and work through their unique marital issues. Stephen L’Heureux (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For) is producing along with Westbye and Trollbund’s Dave Spilde and Daniel Berge Halvorsen.
Monarch also is producing an English-language remake of La Lista (The List), a drama-comedy road-trip movie about two women dealing with breast cancer that hails from Spanish filmmaker Álvaro Díaz Lorenzo. Díaz Lorenzo’s first film, La Despendida is also eyeing an English-language remake via at Paramount and The Montecito Picture Company. La Lista hits theaters in Spain in May.
Patel, Barnett and Powell connected during the production of A Week Away, a faith-friendly musical that is produced by Barnett and Powell, with Powell, whose acting credits include The Song and ABC’s Quantico, also co-writing the screenplay and the music. The film, starring Bailee Madison and Kevin Quinn and now in postproduction, was financed and executive produced by Patel, who enjoyed the collaboration and wanted to expand it.
“I’m so thankful to have found partners in Steve and Alan, who share my vision for building a collaborative and creative home for filmmakers and musicians,” said Patel, an early Google investor who also owns a Nashville-based record label.
Powell co-founded and fronted the Christian pop band Anthem Lights, which led to TV and movie roles including the 2014 drama The Song. Barnett’s producing credits include The Spiderwick Chronicles and Priceless, and most recently the Sundance-debuting Come Away starring Angelina Jolie and David Oyelowo, and directed by Brenda Chapman.
“Vicky, Steve and I come from tech, film, television and music, very different yet complimentary worlds,” Powell said. “As those worlds continue to collide, Monarch could not be better positioned to create content across all forms, genres and platforms.”
Said Barnett: “I am very excited about Monarch and our shared goal of combining our experiences, relationships and financial resources with creative and healthy partnerships in all areas of entertainment.”