Sonia Fleck’s Asia-based distribution and production house, Bomanbridge Media, is upsizing its slate with original production, development and investment in global properties, taking bigger and more ambitious Asian stories to audiences everywhere and bringing international stories home.
Bomanbridge Media has delved into a variety of new activities in the content space as part of its ongoing global growth. Distribution activities have reached far beyond our home market in Asia and now involves meaningful sales across Europe, Middle East, Lat Am and North America.
Licensing deals such as "Paul Goes to Hollywood" to Food Network in the U.S., Bafta award-winning "My Childhood My Country" to ITV in the U.K., "China Through the Seasons" to RTL Germany and "Earth Emergency" to Disney+ Lat Am, are “all great signs that our distinctive content travels well, offering an upside in revenue opportunities for both our rights owners as well as ourselves,” says Bomanbridge Media CEO, Sonia Fleck.
“We are making a concerted effort to further cement our company’s brand as a quality Singapore indie shop with a curated slate of global programming,” she adds.
“In addition to our distribution, we are committed to scaling our pipeline offering by increasing our IP development slate, co-productions and pre-sale capacity. The intention is to supercharge our collaborative production efforts with other talented and experienced partners,” Fleck says.
Original IP highlights include the US$2-million factual entertainment series, "The Great Wall with Ash Dykes" (6x60 mins), co-produced with CICC (China), Zig Zag Productions (U.K.) and Netherlands-based global programmer, Insight TV. The accompanying VR experience is produced by China’s VR giant, Pico.
“This has been an incredibly difficult production to pull together due to the complexities of Covid and the hard-to-access locations of the Great Wall,” Fleck says.
The epic six-part historical expedition follows Ash Dykes, an accomplished world traveller and adventurer, on an authentic discovery of hidden parts of the Great Wall of China. Production is scheduled to wrap on 20 December 2022 with delivery in Q1 2023.
Fleck says the decision to up the ante with a VR experience was driven “by the realisation of how rare the access was on the Great Wall. Many of our locations have never been captured in this way for a larger global audience”.
“We wanted to share the experiences of kung fu training at the temple, surrounded by Shao Lin Monks at dawn, or better, diving underwater where entire sections of the Wall still stand with statues. It feels other-worldly. We also wanted to share the energy of this show – imagine riding on the mountain bike with Ash as he goes at top speeds down very steep and totally inaccessible areas with breathtaking views. VR was our solution to share this.”
“Pico is the leading innovator in VR, and their R&D has created a pioneering all-in-one VR headset PICO 4, which is poised to become market leader. It’s very exciting considering the magnitude of this production; the VR product, "Ash Dykes’ Journey to the Great Wall", will give incredible access to a mind-blowing visual experience in a personal way,” she says.
Another upcoming highlight is "Ric Freeing Flipper" (1x60 mins), featuring adventurer, animal activist and unlikely celebrity, Ric O’Barry, who was originally the trainer of the famous dolphin, Flipper, and the person behind Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove". The partnership with Bomanbridge is led by Ric’s son Lincoln (Bayrock Entertainment) and Canadian production house, Two Wise Monkeys.
"Ric Freeing Flipper" is about the rehabilitation and release of dolphins through O’Barry’s Dolphin Project working through the Umah Lumba Rehabilitation, Release and Retirement Center in Banyuwedang Bay, West Bali, Indonesia (Umah Lumba means “dolphins” in Balinese). The centre is the first and only permanent dolphin rehabilitation, release and retirement facility for former performing dolphins.
Most of the footage is in, including film of “the incredibly emotional release of the first three dolphins into open sea after three years of rehabilitation,” Fleck says, adding: “We are now looking for further pre-sales on this premium docufeature, to finance the post-production work”.
The third new premium project on Bomanbridge’s current agenda is new doc, "Reuniting Bonnie & Clyde" (1×60 mins), which revisits this notorious couple. Bomanbridge Media has signed the life rights to Bonnie Parker’s story through a first look deal with veteran factual producer, Phil Fairclough, of Two Wise Monkeys.
The legendary outlaws and lovers were buried in separate graves because Bonnie’s angry mother said: “He had her in life but he won’t have her in death.” Now Bonnie Parker’s niece and Clyde Barrow’s nephew are going to exhume the body of Bonnie and re-bury her next to her sweetheart, so they can be together again. The production will follow Bonnie and Clyde’s closest relatives and the past story through this emotional process of moving her grave to be next to his, revealing astounding new details about the intimate lives of the world’s most famous outlaw lovers.
Bomanbridge and Two Wise Monkeys are also in development on a scripted series, "Bonnie", about the life of Bonnie Parker, told from Bonnie’s first-person perspective, starting before she met Clyde.
“For the first time, we bring to life the story of the real Bonnie, a driven, very intelligent and sensitive woman, clear on where she was heading with Clyde, even when she knew she wouldn’t likely return. Her story could be understood differently today, with much deeper emotions, desires and a yearning for freedoms which women weren’t necessarily able to appropriately express,” Fleck says. Co-production discussions are underway. “This is,” Fleck says, “one of our passion projects for 2023”.
Sponsored content brought to you by Bomanbridge Media. Published in ContentAsia's December 2022 print magazine