Idris Elba partnered former BBC and Pulse Films Diene Petterle to launch 22 Summers

The label will be focused on delivering premium factual content.

11 JUN 2024

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Actor Idris Elba has joined forces with former BBC and Pulse Films executive Diene Petterle to create the new production company 22 Summers. The duo will develop unscripted content with a social purpose. The label’s first project, “Erased: WWII Heroes of Colour” , has already TX-ed on Nat Geo and debuted on Disney+ on June 10.

Elba’s former production label Green Door has been subsumed into 22 Summers, including its development slate and personnel. Petterle also previously had her own label with an active development slate (Drumroll Films), meaning 22 Summers has hit the ground running in terms of potential projects. The label’s premium factual output is likely to encompass topics such as music, sport, fashion, true crime and social justice. The strategy is to find well-known or mainstream entry points into surprising and complex subjects.

Elba told Deadline: “Both Diene and I always look for the hidden layers in a story, the surprising ways in. In her EMMY and BAFTA winning work, she is always using humor and emotion to get under the viewer’s skin. I’m excited by the idea that together we can create a home for best-in-class filmmakers and make cinematic films that inspire and entertain.”

Petterle added: “I’m incredibly excited to be working with Idris, I’m a huge fan of his screen work but also his work as a filmmaker. There is such honesty and integrity in everything he does. The sky is the limit with him and that feels genuinely exciting. I could not ask for a better partner in this new venture.”

Petterle also pointed to the role of diversity of thought and lived-experience in 22 Summers’ plan to craft distinctive stories. She said to Broadcast: “We’re keen to nurture relationships with the people making the very best films out there. We want to tell big, important stories with heart and honesty.”

Jess Watts, former Senior Development Executive at Dorothy Street Pictures, has been drafted in as 22 Summers head of development for unscripted. Projects she developed in her previous role include “Coleen Rooney”, “The Real Wagatha Story” (Disney+) and “Escaping Twin Flames Universe” (Amazon). More appointments are expected in the future and Jamilla Dumbya has moved across to the new company as a development exec, having been a key part of Green Door.