Fremantle has acquired a majority stake in Belgium’s A Team Productions the indie outfit behind hit drug gang drama “Patsers” by directorial duo Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah and standout short “ “Baghdad Messi.”
The company, which was founded in 2009, is headed by Kobe van Steenberghe and Hendrik Verthé and scored its first major international in 2011 with the short “Land of the Heroes” which won the International Jury Prize at the Berlinale that year.
They are also behind short “Baghdad Messi,” by Belgium-based Kurdish director Sahim Omar Kalifa, which won prizes at dozens of international fests and was shortlisted for an Academy Award in 2014.
A feature-length version of “Baghad Messi” will be released later this year.
“After intense preliminary discussions we have a very good feeling about the experienced Fremantle team including Georgette Schlick, Claud Van Gessel, Manon Van Der Hoek, Dave Heuten and Annemieke van Vliet as driving forces of the European market,” the two A Team co-chiefs said in a statement.
Said Dave Heuten, CEO, Fremantle Belgium: “I have long admired Kobe, Hendrik and the whole ATP team’s work. I am excited to be going on this journey with them, finding synergies and developing new content together – I can’t wait to work with this brilliant team and achieve great things together.”
Fremantle’s investment in A Team Productions continues its flurry of indie company acquisitions made by the production and distribution giant owned by Germany’s RTL-owned over the past 18 months which includes: U.K. production company Dancing Ledge (“The Responder”); scripted Italian production company Lux Vide (“Devils,” “Leonardo”); international development and production company Fabel (“Bosch”); Australian-American television production company Eureka Productions (“Parental Guidance,” “Finding Magic Mike”) and 12 production labels in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark from Nordic Entertainment Group (This is Nice Group); plus Irish production company Element Pictures (“Normal People,” “The Favourite”); 72 Films (“All or Nothing: Arsenal”) and most recently Silvio Productions (“Shadow of Truth”).