All3media secures co-production deal with FabFiction and first-look deal with Freedom Scripted

The company announced that Lingo Pictures has agreed to coproduce its drama series "The Messenger," based on Markus Zusak’s best-selling novel of the same name with the German producer.

9 FEB 2023

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All3Media International today announced the selected co-producer for Lingo Pictures’ (part of ITV Studios) uplifting drama series "The Messenger," based on Markus Zusak’s best-selling novel of the same name, to be German producer, FabFiction. The title is a scripted co-production initiative between ARD’s public broadcasters NDR, SWR and WDR. “'The Messenger' fits perfectly into our needs for non-linear content” Frank Tönsmann (WDR / FabFiction) said. “It tells the ageless story about young adults and their struggle for coming of age. Furthermore, it takes our audience to different places around the globe and it is a step into the future where we will collaborate more and more with partners all around the world.” 

Produced by Lingo Pictures, "The Messenger" was created by writer Sarah Lambert and producers Jason Stephens (Upright) and Elisa Argenzio (New Gold Mountain). Helen Bowden, Markus Zusak, Mika Zusak, Sarah Lambert and Daniel Nettheim are Executive Producers, along with Sally Riley and Rebecca Anderson from ABC. Directors are Daniel Nettheim (The Tourist), Helena Brooks (The Brokenwood Mysteries) and Jennifer Leacey (The Secrets She Keeps). 

Commissioned by Australian pubcaster ABC, and produced in association with All3Media International, this deal marks the first partnership between All3Media International and FabFiction in a deal negotiated by All3Media International’s VP for Germany, Benelux, Austria & Switzerland Jonathan Hughes and Frank Tönsmann (WDR) for the FabFiction-Initiative. The Messenger will be one of the first titles to join FabFiction’s slate, which is dedicated to investing in quality scripted content telling unique and innovative stories with the goal of supporting creative talent. The eight-part series received major production investment from Screen Australia in association with the ABC and was financed with support from Screen NSW. All3Media International is managing international sales.  

In "The Messenger," Ed Kennedy is just another stupid human, until one day he isn’t. That day, he stops an armed robbery and becomes an accidental hero. The next day, he starts getting messages. Four playing cards – the ace of diamonds, clubs, spades and hearts. Each with their own set of tasks. Ed has been chosen to care. He stumbles this mysterious path, helping and hurting, completing the cards, until he comes to see the real message has been for him. Being the Messenger has brought Ed back to life. Featuring a cast of emerging Australian talent who are backed by an award-winning creative team, the series will star Helpmann Award winner William McKenna (Nowhere Boys), alongside Australian icon Maggie Dence, Alexandra Jensen, Chris Alosio and actor, singer and songwriter Kartanya Maynard.Sally Riley, Head Drama, Entertainment and Indigenous adds, “From the moment we first read this we knew it was something we had to make.  We fell in love with these characters, the world and its thematic beating heart.  There’s a reason Markus Zusak’s novel is an international best-seller and Lingo Pictures handled the material with so much care and respect.  It is a rare joy to find a series like this and it’s one we feel our audiences are desperately craving given the state of the world today.” 

In addition to the co-production deal, the company has also signed a first look distribution deal with Scottish indie Freedom Scripted. Following a secured investment from C4 Indie Growth Fund last summer, the deal will see the Glasgow based copmany  partnering with All3Media International on its varied scripted slate. The focus of which is on thought provoking, character-led drama. Further slate announcements will be released in the coming months. "Freedom are super excited to be working with the mighty All3Media International," Freedom Scripted MD Mike Ellen said. "With the line between commissioning and acquisition blurring at both ends of the market it’s never been so important to think about global distribution and finance from a project’s inception, however local it may be. All3Media International have a stellar track record and team second to none. They understand the UK scripted model, how that plugs in internationally and have a proven commitment to ambitious Nations and Regions producers."