9 APR 2024

MIPTV 2024: Keshet International signed co-development deal with Sandstone Global

The global producer and distributor allied with the British producer to produce two new ancient history documentaries.

9 APR 2024

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Global content producer and distributor Keshet International (KI) today announced that it has signed a co-development deal with award-winning British production company SandStone Global. The deal will see both parties co-develop two new premium ancient history documentary series together, "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World" and Vikings", both of which will be presented by award-winning historian and presenter Professor Bettany Hughes OBE.

Kelly Wright, KI’s MD of Distribution, said: “Like our Greenlight: Factual & Formats commissioning initiative, this co-development deal with SandStone is another exciting example of how we’re working more collaboratively with independent producers. By coming on board at an earlier stage to co-develop premium docuseries like ‘Seven Wonders of the Ancient World’ and ‘Vikings’, we not only help producers get their best ideas commissioned and on-air, we’re also curating an ongoing pipeline of high-quality factual content for our international buyers.”

Dixi Stewart, SandStone’s MD, added: “This co-development partnership with Keshet International is perfectly timed. Released in January, Bettany’s accompanying book ‘The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World’ is already a Sunday times bestseller, and selling phenomenally well, confirming the mainstream appeal of this amazing history. We’re delighted there’s already interest from our brilliant broadcast partners and we’re looking forward to working with Anke, Kelly and the wider team at KI to develop these projects.”

Anke Stoll, KI’s SVP of Acquisitions and Co-productions, mentioned: “Bettany Hughes and the team at SandStone are synonymous with producing high-quality shows about ancient history in an entertaining and enlightening way, so we are really delighted to be working with them on developing these two internationally appealing shows.”

In the 4x60’ travelog “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World”, Professor Bettany Hughes follows in the footsteps of the very first tourists, traveling between these marvels of human ingenuity as the ancients once did. Bringing together unparalleled archaeological access and research with ground-breaking technologies and captivating storytelling, Bettany’s epic road trip unravels the seven wonders’ secrets while also providing a thrilling adventure into the past. At each site, Bettany’s exclusive access and detailed research reveals information that she analyzes with experts using the very latest techniques – enabling her to create a state-of-the-art digital reconstruction and visualize that digital replica in the very spot where the wonder once stood.

In the 4x60’ historical docuseries “Vikings”, Professor Bettany Hughes sets out to discover more about the greatest warriors in human history: the Vikings. Using state-of-the-art graphics to bring ancient Viking maps to life, Bettany heads off on an extraordinary 3000-mile road trip to show how they started raiding and trading much earlier and more extensively than previously thought. She’ll reveal the vital clues they left behind in Sweden, Britain, Estonia, and Turkey and will work with digital experts on lifelike reconstructions of Vikings to allow Bettany to come face to face with the wild warriors who tamed the seas and left a lasting impression on the world as we know it today.

Since officially launching its Greenlight: Factual & Formats commissioning initiative last year, KI has greenlit two straight-to-series factual orders for distribution: Perpetual Entertainment’s "Hitler’s Treasure Hunters", a 6x60’ historical docuseries ordered to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the end of WW2 and Hitler’s death that tells the story of the special branch of the Nazi SS tasked with stealing treasures and religious relics to help win the war and prove Aryan supremacy; and Woodcut Media’s "Catch Me If You Can", a 10x60’ true crime docuseries that delves into the chilling world of murderers who evaded capture while taunting those tasked with bringing them to justice. The global content producer and distributor is expected to announce additional co-commissions in the coming months.

For its unscripted Spring 2024 slate, KI has recently acquired a raft of factual content, including: "Ritual Arts and Amazing Owl’s Earthbound", a 6x60’ premium documentary series narrated by actor and environmentalist Orlando Bloom; Double Act Productions’ "SAS: Catching the Criminals", a 10x60’ social crime series presented by ex-SAS leader Billy Billingham for BBC One; and Matila Röhr Productions’ "Arctic Wildlife in Lapland", a stunningly shot 3x30’ natural history docuseries celebrating the northernmost part of Fennoscandia’s uniquely rugged yet barren arctic landscape.