Sheldon Wiseman, president of Amberwood Entertainment, and Leslie Nielsen, actor and president of Longboat Productions, have launched Amberwood International, the new distribution arm of their US$100-million joint production venture.
Headquartered at Amberwood’s executive offices in Ottawa, the new entity seeks to acquire existing family and children’s programming, as well as co-financing and co-producing on some projects. ‘We’ve set up the distribution arm in order to control exploitation of product we’re going to be producing under the joint venture and [for] stuff we’re not producing,’ says Wiseman. However, Amberwood appointed U.K.-based Entertainment Rights to handle worldwide distribution (except Canada) for its 39-ep half-hour animated series Katie and Orbie (narrated by Nielsen) in a 10-year deal. With 26 more eps in production, Katie is poised to hit the 65-show mark.
This June, Wiseman and Nielsen announced the partnership and the investment commitment to produce 390 half hours of animated programming for TV, three animated features and one live-action film starring Nielsen over the next five years.
Managed by Amberwood, the new venture was set up, in part, to eventually buy back Wiseman’s former Lacewood library from PricewaterhouseCoopers, including Katie and Orbie. The buy-back is slated to close October 30. In the meantime, a Toronto sales and acquisition office will be helmed by Andre Cauchi, director of sales and marketing. Also, an Internet strategy will be implemented through Amberwood International. SY