Blue Ant International Unveils Its Slate of 330 Hours of New Premium Programming Ahead of MIPCOM 2019; Announces Take Over of Handel Productions’ Distribution Library

By October 1, 2019Press Releases

Blue Ant International debuts more than 330 hours of new programming at MIPCOM 2019, including high-impact documentary series “Witches of Salem.”

(Toronto, ON – Oct. 1, 2019) Blue Ant International packs its diverse MIPCOM slate with over 330 hours of new high-end programming that includes thought-provoking documentaries like Witches of Salem (4×60’, HD) and Cheating Hitler: Surviving the Holocaust (1×90’, 2×60’, 4K & HD), breathtaking specialist factual programmes including Big Cat Country (6×60’ HDR & 4K), the hilarious scripted adult animation series Bigfoot (6 x 22’ HD and 12 x 11′ HD), and more, all available for the first time at MIPCOM this October. The distributor also highlights four Handel co-productions at MIPCOM as Blue Ant International has recently taken over all distribution activities for Handel’s more than 30 productions strong library. Blue Ant International will be at MIPCOM booth R8.D7. View the new catalogue here

“Blue Ant International takes great care to work with production partners around the world to curate a diverse slate of some of the best premium content available so buyers get the most watchable series around,” says Solange Attwood, EVP, Blue Ant International. “Our new slate of 330 hours of programmes, plus our recent acquisition of Handel Productions library, reflects our continued commitment to growing our offering of strong storytelling across key tentpole categories.”

Blue Ant International’s 330 plus hours of new content adds more titles to the distributor’s key tent pole categories including seven new high-impact documentaries, seven new factual entertainment programmes, seven new specialist factual series, one adult animation scripted series, and three new kids programmes.  

The Handel Productions deal, which sees Blue Ant International take over the distribution activities for Handel’s entire content library, includes four of the high-impact documentaries that Blue Ant International will shop at MIPCOM. These include Who Sank the Titanic (1×90’, HD), that uses CGI to explore the engineering flaws and unlucky circumstances that lead to the ship’s demise; Inside the Titanic (1×90’, HD), which tells the Titanic’s chilling story from a unique point of view – that of the icy waters; Naked Science (20×60’, HD) that digs deep into scientific subjects and mysteries; and Last Day of the Dinosaurs (1×68’, HD) which gives viewers a fully-immersive look at the dinosaur apocalypse, from mega-tsunamis to nuclear winters. 

Other high-impact documentary highlights include the previously mentioned Witches of Salem (4×60’, HD), a four-part series that tells the tale of history’s most terrifying real-life witch hunt and Cheating Hitler: Surviving the Holocaust (1×90’, 2×60’, 4K & HD), which features the moving narrative of three Holocaust survivors who travel back to the killing sites and hiding places of their childhood in search of clues to their past.

The seven new series strong factual entertainment category includes three chilling crime series such as The Killer in My Family (6×60’,HD), a gripping series that explores the lives of killers through the lens of their family members; Our Toughest Cases (6×60’, HD) that explores criminal cases that devastated communities, defined careers, and took their toll on even the most experienced officers; and Fraud Squad: The Hunt (15×60’, HD), a series that follows investigators trying to nab criminals who steal from the UK’s public purse. All three titles highlight the distributor’s growing partnerships with premium UK production companies such as Woodcut Media and Brown Bob Productions. 

Other factual highlights include Unboxed (8×30’), which sees celebrity designer Nikki Chu transform homeowners dated digs from drab to fab; Expat (10×60’, HD), an insider look at the highs and lows of living abroad; Old School for Lazy Kids (4×60’), a social experiment in which several teens live with senior citizens; and season two of Sarah Off the Grid (12×60’, HD), which sees celebrity designer Sarah Richardson build an eco-friendly dream home with her family. 

Blue Ant International’s specialist factual category also roars to life with several new blue-chip series. Animal behaviour is the focus of three series, including Big Cat Country (6×60’ HDR & 4K), which shows the real drama and real stories of three lion prides that collide in their quest for power and survival; Gangs of Lemur Island (5×60’, 4K & HDR), that follows four warring troops of ring-tailed lemurs in the fast-changing, unique world of Madagascar; and Animals at Play (2×60’, 4K & HDR), a series that uncovers the fun secrets to why animals play. 

Animal rescue is the predominant theme in two new specialist factual series including returning fan-favorite Orangutan Jungle School (20×60’ 4K & HD | 6×60′ HD), that follows the antics, triumphs, and tragedies of a group of orphaned orangutans as they progress through a unique forest school and Wildlife Rescue New Zealand (5×60’, 4K), which goes behind-the-scenes of a wildlife rescue hospital in New Zealand. 

Two series in the specialist factual category focus on the planet earth and its inhabitants including America’s Wild Seasons (4×60’, 4K &HD), that tells the dramatic stories of survival amid the spectacular tapestry of North America’s four seasons and Deep Atlantic (2×60’, 4K & HD) which reveals never-before-filmed life 3,000 meters below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. 

Blue Ant International has also added a new scripted, adult animated series, based on a humorous illustrated book series of the same name, Bigfoot (6 x 22’ HD and 12 x 11′ HD). The series – which stars comedian K. Trevor Wilson – follows the exploits of the self-proclaimed ‘King of the Forest’ as he negotiates difficult relationships with the human and animal world, his complicated past, and his ongoing struggles with self-identity. 

Blue Ant International also adds three new kids series like News of the Wild II (71×30’; HD), the kid-hosted, laugh-a-minute current events program; Kids Cookout (8×7’; HD), in which kids cook dishes that are important to their heritage; and the animated series Jelly Jamm (76×11 and 1×22’), that follows Bello and friends on musical journeys.

Blue Ant International’s MIPCOM 2019 full slate

High-Impact Documentaries:

Witches of Salem (4×60’; HD; Saloon Media, a Blue Ant Studios company, in association with Talos Films) – The Salem Witch Trials is one of the most gripping real-life dramas in history. It began in February 1692 when a group of young girls in Salem Village, Massachusetts, claimed to be possessed by the devil. Then, they started accusing local women of witchcraft. In just 220 days, 200 were accused and 20 were executed. It was a period of mass hysteria that opens a window into the darkest side of human nature. This four-part documentary series draws on historical documents and court records to bring this gripping drama to life. Sociologists, psychologists, and cultural historians also illustrate how communities are susceptible to the same hysteria today. 

Cheating Hitler: Surviving the Holocaust (1 x 90’ 4K & HD; 2 x 60 4K & HD; Saloon Media, a Blue Ant Studios company) – Three Holocaust survivors journey back to hometowns, killing sites, and hiding places in search of clues to the unanswered questions from their pasts, knowing they are the last living links to history. Maxwell wonders what happened to a baby he saved in a forest in 1943. Helen wants to know more about the fate of her brother. Rose is given access to new artifacts that help shed light on the fate of her parents. This film delivers a powerful warning from history, inspiring stories of survival, and a last chance to solve lingering mysteries.

Who Sank the Titanic? (1×90’, HD; Handel Productions and Pioneer Productions) – This series explores how engineering flaws and unlucky circumstances led to the Titanic’s demise. Through CGI and drama reconstruction, this documentary uncovers a series of fascinating and unknown details of the ship’s construction to determine how and why the Titanic sank and who was most responsible for the tragedy. 

Inside the Titanic (1×94’, HD; Handel Productions and Dangerous Films) – What was it like to be on the only voyage of the most famous ship of all time? We’ve seen the story of the people on board. Inside the Titanic tells the story from the point of view of the icy killer that stalked the corridors of this mighty ship – the water. It’s a visually striking and radical re-telling of the sinking that brings surprise twists and turns to an iconic tale.

Last Day of the Dinosaurs (1×68’, HD; Handel Productions and Dangerous Films) – Take a seat for the story of the most dramatic event in Earth’s history; a fully immersive thrill-ride of mega-tsunamis, terrifying meteor showers, off-the-scale earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, firestorms, bitter acid rain, and a chilling nuclear winter.  For these are the last days of the dinosaurs, and this series gives viewers an eyewitness point of view to every beat.

Naked Science (20×60’, HD: Handel Productions and Pioneer Productions) – Each episode of Naked Science tackles the science of one of the biggest mysteries of our time, whether that’s looking into the anatomy of a hurricane, exploring the outbreaks of tornadoes, observing distant planets, or examining the Earth’s atmosphere. The series digs deep and below the surface of any fascinating natural phenomena.

For the Love of Wood (1×60’; HD; Blue Ant Studios) – The digital revolution has really changed our world. We are logging on and tuning out. But a counter-culture revolution is on the rise. And it’s an ancient craft that’s been around since the beginning of humankind – woodworking. Spurred on by a new generation who are looking to make things with their hands, the DIY woodworking movement is coming back into the spotlight. This documentary is about the passionate people who love making things with wood and the important role that wood has played in our history, culture, and society.

Factual Entertainment:

The Killer in My Family (6 x 60’ HD; Woodcut Media) – The Killer in My Family is a gripping series that examines crimes through the lens of a killer’s family members. Mixing the horrific details of the crimes committed with the sometimes-happy memories, each episode charts the killer’s horrific descent from family member to murderer with a very personal point of view.

Our Toughest Cases (6×60’ HD; Woodcut Media) – Murder and violent sexual attacks; there are certain crimes that take their toll on even the most experienced of officers. In this series, we hear from the officers who relive the toughest cases they’ve ever faced and provide first-hand insight into cases that had seismic repercussions and shook entire communities to their core.

Fraud Squad: The Hunt (15×60’; HD; Brown Bob Productions) – The hunt is on, as we follow a team of investigators whose job is to catch and convict anyone with their hand in the UK’s public purse. The series uncovers the biggest and most shocking cases of theft from public coffers, featuring a fantasist fraudster leading a double life, a multi-million-pound scam targeting the disabled, decadent dentists with lavish lifestyles, and even a dishonest headmaster creating a sex dungeon using school funds. Viewers learn what it takes to combat what is now the biggest crime in Britain, costing over £110 billion a year.

Unboxed  (8 x 30’ HD; Our House Media) – Celebrity designer Nikki Chu surprises lucky fans with amazing transformations of their tired spaces into stunning forward trending designs. Before the makeover can begin, the fan must pick from two mystery boxes, each containing a different set of inspirational items. Once a decision is made, participants must leave their home and all the design decisions to Nikki before her original and gorgeous designs are revealed.

Expat (10×60’; HD; Authentique Productions) – Expat takes viewers to legendary locations to give a glimpse into the lives of expatriates who pick up their entire lives and move abroad to create new lives for themselves. Along with immersing themselves in new breathtaking landscapes, these modern-day explorers and long-term travellers all have fascinating stories of adversity and triumphs to tell. 

Old School for Lazy Kids (4×60’; HD; Zeppelin Films) – Ageism is rife in youth-obsessed Britain, where old age is seen as a process of decay and where under-25s hold the most negative attitudes towards aging. This series follows entitled and unambitious teenagers and 20-somethings who move in with active senior citizens, who’ve seen and done it all before. What can the younger generation learn from the older generation and will this experience propel them to think more about their futures, before it’s too late?

Sarah Off the Grid Season 2 (12×60’; HD; Alibi Entertainment) – Designer and television personality Sarah Richardson is back with her most ambitious series yet: a year-long project designing and building an off-the-grid family home in the country. Follow Sarah, her husband, and two young daughters as they build a dream home meant to last for generations. Together, they marry sustainable living with Sarah’s signature style, resulting in a forever home filled with innovative materials and beautiful designs.

Specialist Factual:

Big Cat Country (6×60’; HDR & 4K; Plimsoll Productions) – Real Drama. Real stories. Big Cat Country is the ultimate lion saga. In the heart of Zambia’s Luangwa Valley, three lion prides collide. Each is determined to fulfill its destiny one to maintain power, another to conquer and a third to save itself from collapse. A wildlife camera team gets caught up in the action as they follow the lions day and night through every twist and turn of fortune.

Gangs of Lemur Island (5×60’; HDR, 4K & HD; True to Nature)Feuding families, civil war, and lovers’ trysts. This is not Romeo and Juliet; these are four troops of ring-tailed lemurs leading extraordinary lives. In Berenty, a spiny forest reserve in southern Madagascar, the local ring-tails mix with the human world.  They are obsessed with social rank and territorial boundaries – with good reason: this tiny island of trees offers hope for the future of their species. 

Animals at Play (2×60’; HDR, 4K & HD; Offspring Films)Across the planet, young animals spend huge amounts of time playing – but it’s a behaviour that has long been overlooked by science. Now new research reveals that play is at the heart of almost everything an animal learns. In Animals at Play, we uncover why play is so much more than just having a good time.

Orangutan Jungle School Seasons one and two (20×60’ 4K & HD | 6×60′ HD; NHNZ, a Blue Ant Studios company) – Season two continues to follow the triumphs, drama and hilarious antics of displaced orphan orangutans in a unique forest school system in Borneo. The facility, run by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, is the largest primate rescue and rehabilitation project in the world.  It takes in students from tender infancy, through mischievous middle school, to graduation when they get the chance to live free in the wild.

Wildlife Rescue New Zealand (5×60’; 4K & HD; NHNZ, a Blue Ant Studios company) – This series takes viewers to the wilds of New Zealand, where local heroes face the trials and tribulations of rescuing and rehabilitating this country’s unique injured wildlife including the iconic kiwi, the flightless kakapo parrot, plucky penguins and aggressive sea lions, injured wild animals, with the hopes of releasing them back into the wild.

America’s Wild Seasons (4×60’; 4K & HD; MBM TV & Tamarin Productions) – This landmark four-part documentary series celebrates the drama and spectacle of the American wilderness over four breathtaking seasons. Captured over the course of a full year, on the ground, in the air, and beneath the waves, the series weaves a tale of survival for the diverse creatures that thrive in the iconic American landscape.

Deep Atlantic (2×60’; 4K & HD; Sea Fever Productions) Three thousand meters below the surface in the dark, cold Atlantic waters, cameraman Ken O’Sullivan captures stunning images of some of the largest animals on Earth, beautiful coral reefs, and never-before-filmed animal behaviours. Once regarded as the place of the devil, the deep waters of the Atlantic ocean are just as fascinating as they are dangerous.

Scripted

Bigfoot (6 x 22’ HD and 12 x 11′ HD; Look Mom! Productions, a Blue Ant Studios company) – In this adult animated series, based on an illustrated book series of the same name, America’s favorite crypto-zoological hominid is recast as the modern-day everyman, struggling with eating disorders, casual cannibalism, pop culture, and philosophical quandaries.

Kids & Family

News of the Wild II (71×30’; HD; Northern Pictures Kids, a Blue Ant Studios company) – This animal-focused, light-hearted news show aimed at seven- to 12-year-olds is anchored in the studio by two squabbling kid co-hosts, Maya and Finn, who introduce stories from a number of different locations and reporters. Sometimes the segments are factual and other times a parody on news-style bulletins or current affair programs, but News of the Wild is always bursting at the seams with animals, laughter, and enthusiasm.

Kids Cookout (8×7’; HD; Riverbank Pictures & CAB Productions) – This series explores food, family, and cultural heritage, while providing a snapshot of a variety of cultures from all around the world. Each episode features one enthusiastic kid cook who prepares and explains a dish that is important to their heritage.

Jelly Jamm (76×11 and 1×22’; HD; Vodka Capital & Shaker Band) – Each eleven-minute episode of this animated series, aimed at kids aged four to seven, celebrates music, fun, and friendship. The show tells the story of Bello and his four friends as they figure out how to live in harmony on the magical Planet Jammbo, where all the music in the universe originates from.

Blue Ant International is a leading worldwide distributor of high-quality, creative content that engages audiences worldwide and across multiple platforms. The company offers a full-service approach to production partners with sales operations in London, Toronto, and Los Angeles. Blue Ant International has a growing slate of over 3,500 hours of premium content, including distinctive series and formats in five key genres including factual entertainment, specialist factual, high-impact documentaries, kids and family, and scripted. Blue Ant International also has one of the world’s largest offerings of 4K natural history content.

Handel Productions is one of Canada’s leading and award-winning producers of factual content, drama-documentaries and animated CGI specials. The company is active in international co-productions and works with top-tier production companies and the UK as well as broadcasters around the world, including Discovery Channel, CTV, CBC, National Geographic, Bravo US, The History Channel, BBC, PBS, Channel 5, ZDF and more. Its catalogue includes Scam City, Rise of the Machine, Strip the City, Meet the Sloths, Bermuda Triangle: The Definitive Guide, Sea Monsters: The Definitive Guide, Brazil Untamed: The Pantanal, and Pearl Harbour: the Untold Story.

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