Reliance Big Pictures & BBC ink three film co-production deal

MUMBAI: BBC Earth, the global natural history brand for BBC Worldwide, and Anil Ambani’s Reliance Big Entertainment have inked a co-production deal for three movies. All three films will be distributed by Reliance’s international film sales and financing subsidiary, IM Global.

The deal was jointly announced by BBC Worldwide managing director of global brands Marcus Arthur and IM Global founder and CEO Stuart Ford.

The first theatrical feature to be co-produced under the relationship will be the $65 million 3D live action feature Walking With Dinosaurs 3D inspired by the BBC’s landmark Walking With Dinosaurs brand. The film will be co-directed by Pierre De Lespinois of Los Angeles and Alaska based 3D studio Evergreen Films and BBC Earth’s Neil Nightingale (formerly the Head of the BBC Natural History Unit). BBC Earth and Evergreen Films will be working with Academy Award winning animation house Animal Logic and animation producer Jinko Gotoh on the film.

The second co-production between the parties will be the $25 million documentary feature Africa 3D, which will be filmed alongside Africa, BBC’s forthcoming major landmark television series. Africa 3D will also be in partnership with Evergreen Films.

Global distribution for both films will be handled by IM Global, which will begin international sales on Walking With Dinosaurs 3D at the forthcoming American Film Market in Santa Monica. At AFM, IM Global will also launch worldwide sales of BBC Earth’s documentary feature Life, which is in post-production and will be released theatrically during 2011.

Life is an imaginative and vividly captured series of stories from the animal kingdom that follows the full cycle of animal life to the birth of the next generation. Co-Directed by Mike Gunton and Martha Holmes and produced by Magic Light Pictures’ Martin Pope and Michael Rose. The film is inspired by the award winning TV series of the same name, which has been broadcast in 50 countries and in the US garnered more than 75 million viewers. BBC Earth’s previous feature film Earth grossed $119 million worldwide when it was released theatrically in 2007.

Walking With Dinosaurs 3D will use groundbreaking LIDAR (Light, Detection and Ranging) technology to combine live action and animation in new ways, as well as groundbreaking 3D camera and pre-vis systems to create never before seen levels of invisibility between the live action and CGI worlds.

Arthur said, "By partnering with Reliance BIG Entertainment we have the opportunity to realise a long held ambition of making BBC Earth 3D feature films. ‘Earth’ demonstrated the huge appetite of audiences for quality natural history filmmaking and the 3D experience of ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’ and ‘Africa’ will allow audiences to immerse themselves in our incredible content as never before."