Scripted Series

Close to the Flame

Close to the Flame

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Espionage Drama, 12 x 1 hour TV series

A dying spy is released in a prisoner exchange after her captors break her, but the one secret she held onto makes her the most valuable intelligence asset in the world. Operatives from China, America and Russia must race to Korea to ccttf-girlapture her before the secret dies with her.

CIA AGENT Finn Douglas, 35 was jailed without trial when a Korean woman, with whom he conducted a three year extramarital affair, pulled off the single greatest act of governmental data theft in the history of global espionage.

Two years later, released into the custody of  Homeland Security, Finn has a chance for redemption when Intelligence officers finally reveal to him the location of the woman known to him as ‘Wendi Yun’.

Wendi 32, has spent much of that time in a Russian prison. After almost two years of interrogation, her body has given out. She’s dying of heart failure and the Russians want to trade her with the Chinese for a high value Russian asset.

The trade goes ahead and Wendi is returned to the custody of the Chinese State, but upon learning of her impending trial for treason, she reveals that her mission in Russia, assumed a failure, was in fact a success. She has hidden the data from another huge file downlseoul-at-nightoad in an unknown location.

Wendi escapes the Chinese officers holding her and makes it out of China, going into hiding in the country of her birth, Korea.

This sparks a global asset hunt, in which the intelligence agencies of every major world power compete to find Wendi, before her heart gives out.

Finn’s three years as Wendi’s lover make him the best qualified agent to track Wendi down, but his job to bring her in is clouded, both by his desire for revenge, and a nagging belief that even after going through hell because of her, he never stopped loving her.

Written by Nick Bain

Production partners XO Squared and FCCE Productions

Fallen Angels

Fallen Angels

fallen-angels-girl Fallen Angels – Fashion/Drama series 13 x 1 hour

The global fashion industry has evolved. Bloggers, social media and online retailers have placed the power to sell in new, unfamiliar hands. The lines between fashion, entertainment and music have blurred an the old order is fighting for its very survival. The icons of the catwalk are no longer created by the industry, they are raised up and pulled down by hits, likes and retweets.

Former athlete/model Remie Lewis and her business partner, Russian ex supermodel Margo Goldsmith set up the “LEGS” agency to reach out for the girls high fashion missed. Now retired from the catwalk, both women fought the industry their whole careers, striving to overcome the prejudices of the fashion world and the demons it unleashed.

The agency is fractured. Margo’s unpredictable behavior has seen the company driven out of the US by powerful competition and forced Remie to buy her estranged partner out, relaunching the company alone in Amsterdam, Europe.

Abandoned in the rats’ nest of LA, Margo has a lead on the greatest prize of all. Laurfallen-angels-roomin Cantu is 20, quirky and the Instagram queen. She has an online social following in the tens of millions and is the most powerful face in fashion. When Laurin publicly attacks her management and runs to France Margo senses an opportunity to steal a top client and make things right with Remie.

Margo convinces Laurin she needs protection, but as forces gather to battle for Laurin’s image, Margo and Remie must reunite, overcome their own battle scars and relaunch in Amsterdam. They may win Laurin as a client, but doing will gain them the most powerful enemy in fashion and entertainment, one that will stop at nothing to rip Laurin down and crown the next angel of fashion.

An angel they control.

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Written by Nick Bain

Production partners XO Squared and FCCE Productions

Behind the Faces

Behind the Faces

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Behind the Faces – Series by Alan Duff

A 13 x 1 hour, 3 Seasons television drama series.

Three stories gradually converge: From America to New Zealand, the World War II battlegrounds of Crete and the Pacific, to a German P.O.W camp, a Japanese P.O.W camp.

Unlikely friendships and unions in war and peace.

New York, June 1938, heavyweight German boxer Max Schmeling challenges Joe Louis for his title. American media dub it: “Freedom versus Fascism,” call Max “Hitler’s stooge.” Some black Americans dare to hope a Louis victory might bring an end to segregation. Sparring partner, Karl Engel, has strong Aryan super-race views, not shared by Schmeling, whose loss upsets the Nazis.

In Mississippi, teenage Negro siblings Jess & Betty Hines witness a white mob tar and feather, thence lynch and burn a fellow Negro. Louis’ victory didn’t change a thing. Across the world in New Zealand, a couple walk through their thermally active village of Whaka in Rotorua, with their toddler daughter. Henry Takahe tells his wife he’s signed up for the war in Europe against Hitler.

At army training camp a white guy, Sam Hooper, becomes Henry’s best friend. In Egypt, their special stealth unit create minor havoc amongst Rommel’s troops. Crete the next battle ground. The Nazis conscript Max to humble paratrooper duty; a bad parachute landing on Crete breaks a leg. A large number of Kiwi soldiers are captured. Henry and Sam escape, on the run for months on a German killing spree. But they cannot kill teenage soldiers.

Jess, conscripted into the U.S. Marines, finds himself in New Zealand, a training camp for the Pacific btfCampaign against the Japanese. Marines visit Whaka to see the thermal sights, showering locals with gifts and charm; show the women different dance steps. Jess meets Lena, wife of war-absent Henry Takahe. He’s sent off to fight in the steaming jungles of Burma. A child grows in Lena’s belly.

Eventually rbcdpow1ecaptured, the Kiwi duo arrive to a POW camp lorded over by a bunch of London Cockneys led by a former boxer and criminal, Terry Hatton. Karl’s punishment for association with Schmeling is guard duty at the POW camp in Austria. Henry tries to bust up Terry’s rule and gets soundly whipped. Sam is next. Karl sets aside his racial views and teaches Henry how to box.

A new commandant shows a humane side. Most his staff do not like it, including Karl. The Inspector of Prisons is out to get Commandant Hauer fired. The regional Gestapo commander, Dieter Koch, wants him executed, the camp on minimal rations and under severe discipline. It will be revealed why Walter Hauer is so liberal.

In the jungles of Asia, Jess and his fellow black marines have two enemies: The Japs and their white compatriots. A bunch are taken captive.

It’s Hebtf3ll on earth. Whites still despise blacks. Jess’s extraordinary dance and song routine so often saves his fellow POWs from certain death he wins the whites’ respect. His child back in Whaka, New Zealand, has his 1st birthday. His sister Betty is lynched by a white mob.

Life in the two camps are stark contrasts, along with Lena’s guilt- burdened life back in Whaka village. Three stories keep converging. Sam and Adele are in love. Koch packs Henry off to a notorious punishment prison. Three of his German captors, along with Sam, go and rescue him. First Japan then Germany surrender. Everyone goes their separate ways.

Several stories tell of two nations’ moral failings. Japanese torture of POWs contrast with Hauer’s humane regime. Between Henry & Walter, Karl rejects his super-race views. Sam opens Adele to find a hurt child still angry at her abused childhood.

Season 1 ends and Season 2 has a new young hero dubbed “Yank,” the offspring of Lena and Jess. He’s musically gifted, with the ability to travel back in time to his Maori ancestral pasto another world revealed.

Platinum Bestselling books, Duff also wrote the original screenplay for Once Were Warriors and won NZFT Best Screenplay Award for Brokenhearted.

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Once Were Warriors author’s New Series!

Once Were Warriors author’s New Series!

Set in urban Auckland (New Zealand), two original movies precede the series and tell the story of the Heke family; a family descended from Maori warriors, bedeviled by violent father Jake, and the societal problems of being treated as outcasts.

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The Series Concept

When the noise stops, silence shouts.

The story opens with the arrival of multiple gangs arriving by convoy at an inter-gang title fight. But there is a history to this gathering that features some of the Heke family, and Jake is not the least of them.

The cast from the books and the movies are ingrained in everyone’s imaginations. Some beg explanation. Why was Jake “The Muss” Heke so angry, and a disproportionate number of Maoris so dysfunctional? Were they once warriors who lost all sense of meaning when European culture took over? With land confiscation, a culture subsumed, was there nothing to replace the lost pride?

A few characters from Once Were Warriors need some explaining. Firstly: Jake Heke. Why the anger and violence? What makes a disproportionate number of Maoris angry? Was it a wrong never healed? Or, was it a culture, a way of life that was brought to an abrupt end with nothing to replace it?

No matter the explanation, if their individual stories were told, surely some redemption would follow? You may finally discover just how awful Jake’s childhood was, and in this story, maybe he is forgiven …

The Story

At high school, a young Jake protects a white boy from Maori bullies and a close bond develops. Jake left school at 16, became a labourer, and spent a good part of his early adulthood on unemployment benefits. His white friend, on the other hand, went to university and became a successful barrister.

The Jake of today sees domestic violence, the drinking culture, as a mirror of his old self. He wants to make amends – but how? As for drugs, he knows nothing until it stumbles into his life in the form of his addicted son, Abe. When Abe dies from an overdose, the Jake of old re-emerges and he seeks out the dealers, bringing him into contact with the gangs that control the drug trade. An immovable object meets the same but in multiple forms.

Since Grace Heke took her own life twenty five years ago, and their son Nig was shot dead in a gang clash, what of the surviving Heke children? Another son, Huata, put his father’s violent ways to positive use and is now a major in the elite army S.A.S.. Forty year old Mark “Boogie” is an administrator for a tribal trust – and gay. Thirty eight year old property investor millionaire Polly still blames her father for causing her beloved sister Grace’s death by suicide.

Out of Jake’s dim schoolboy past comes an encounter with George Trambert. As if fifty years had not passed, they’re close friends again, but both are now mid-sixties wiser. Despite their career and intellectual differences, they learn from each other.

Jake doesn’t know he has a grandson, born of his late son Nig’s loins, brought up by the murdered mother’s sister, Shayla, in a gang house. Butch has his grandad’s fighting genes and wins the inter-gang Top Dog title. The seed hasn’t fallen far from the tree. Jake ends up in Butch’s fight corner. Just part of the process of a man finding himself.

Shayla is significant. From an abused childhood – like so many – she’s raw, loving, dangerous and smart. Another aching heart yearning to have a voice.

A contradiction to the ‘clean & green’ image of New Zealand, it also ranks as the highest rate for gang membership
in the developed world. Jake has seen the gangs’ wild, untamed behaviour; he even clashed with a gang leader in a pub many years ago. Things are different now. The gangs are better organised. They share a drug supply network throughout the country, and have become more influential. The all-white gang, The Devil’s Disciples, have run the drug game in NZ for years, supplying the other gangs.

But New Zealand has changed demographically: Asians, not least Chinese, have become a dominant force in residential and business New Zealand. Madame Guan-yin is ruthless, savvy, and brings cooked meth directly from China. She even flies her new handbag first-class from Hong Kong. Choc Naera, leader of The Cannibals, is not what he seems. He suffers from depression, and despite his violent ways has a soft side, as well as intelligence in need of an outlet. Maybe some moral values are wanting out, too?

There’s the president of the Fist’s Nation gang, aptly named Pitbull, a total arsehole. Shayla, the aunt who raised Butch, is his lover if you’re willing to call it that. Shayla’s had enough of being beaten, of being a woman in a macho society. She forms her own, predominantly female gang.

Nigel Trambert is the son of George, Jake’s lawyer friend. Nigel is a zealous cop out to get as many gang members as he can, by hook or by crook. Nigel eventually has reason to hate Jake Heke. Why is Nigel so angry when he has such nice parents?

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Out of Jake’s high school past comes a windfall: a block of residential land gifted in George’s father’s will. He never forgot young Jake protecting his son. Nigel intends challenging the will in court which draws a strong, distinct line within the Trambert family.

Beth Heke has moved on from her violent husband, living a seemingly happy and quite affluent life married to a senior bureaucrat, Charlie Bennett. However, behind closed doors Charlie is a self-obsessed, pompous bore and hopeless in bed. Though he does love her. Beth yearns for a challenge, some kind of distraction. She gets it when her daughter Polly rents out one of her houses to Shayla, who has turned her back on the Fists gang.

The former Heke couple, Jake and Beth, having lost a daughter to suicide, a son in a gang war, and another to drugs, both find themselves unexpectedly involved in lives that they want to protect more than ever. Family means something more now. Life has come full circle. Except Jake has become rich overnight, and outcome that could never have been predicted, and it stirs everything up.

Ultimately, Jake grows as a man. So does his realization that since he was once the problem, now he must be part of the solution to this situation of a people “lost in the wilderness.” Now, he actually has the financial means to do something, as well as having his lawyer friend and access to George’s social network to make things happen.

Just getting there is a long, fraught journey.

Darryl – An Outward Bound Story

Darryl – An Outward Bound Story

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Darryl 
Darryl, a failed marathon runner plagued with self-doubt, travels the Cook Strait on a ferry to get to Picton to begin an 8 day Adult Discovery Course at Outward Bound with a rag-tag bunch of other adults all on a quest for self-discovery.

Darryl Walker is a lost soul with a handlebar moustache.  An aspiring long distance runner, he recently missed out on finishing the 2014 Taranaki Mountain to Surf marathon after his pencil thin body succumbed to dehydration and he flailed around like a newborn foal before collapsing on the ground and into a long depression.  The YouTube video of his humiliating efforts has garnered almost 2 million hits and Darryl’s now a hit in his own right but for all the wrong reasons.  Ever since that fateful day, he has surrounded himself with lofty self-help books and videos in a frantic effort to return his mindset back to it’s former winning self.  Unfortunately, the results have been less than effective.  Now Darryl has heard about the iconic Outward Bound organisation, which has changed the lives and minds of over 70,000 Kiwis.  In a desperate bid to ‘sharpen the saw’, he has enrolled in an 8 day Adult Discovery course which he believes will help him acquire the necessary mindset to win the 2015 Taranaki Mountain to Surf marathon.

Attila – The Making of a Gangster

Attila – The Making of a Gangster

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Attila – The Making of a Gangster is based on the novel, Szabad, written by Alan Duff, the author and screenwriter of Once Were Warriors.

The story begins in Budapest in 1956 where young Attila Szabo is a 20 year old university student. He wants to believe in the ideals of communism despite the constant propaganda, food rations, suffocating bureaucracy, and  secret police known as AVO.  When he witnesses the brutal death of his father, something in him breaks and he turns to a different way of being. He learns to be violent and cunning. Driven by necessity, he moves to London in 1963 and carves out a place for himself in a world populated by hardened criminals.

It’s 1956 in Budapest, Hungary. Attila Szabo, a 20 year old university student, faces constant communist propaganda, food rations, suffocating bureaucracy, and the secret police known as AVO. He wants to believe in communism, yet his instincts don’t. His beloved father, unjustly imprisoned, comes home a broken man. Witnessing his father shot dead in the street defiant to the end, something breaks in Attila. Not his will, but innocence. He sees the officials at exclusive restaurants and shops, wining and dining, citizens violently arrested by AVO, the bread queues, and he realizes it’s all a lie.

With his three close friends, Janos, Milan and Klaudia, they break into the homes of officials, mainly to steal decent food. A security guard, Tibor, sees Attila in the street, remembers stopping him in the upper-class neighbourhood. They come to an arrangement.

A beautiful woman, Aranka, her husband and child, move into the flat above the Szabos. Attila instantly smitten by the wife, and a mutual like of her five year old son, Stefan.

If only she wasn’t married. There are signs it’s not a happy marriage. Enter AVO colonel, Zoltan Friss, who’s soon had the husband arrested and regularly forces himself on her. Attila yearns to love her, but in a proper way. Doesn’t notice Klaudia’s jealousy of Aranka.

Friss shoots Attila’s father dead before his eyes. More reason to hate the man.

He acquires a gun, but who to use it on without putting his family and friends at risk? Aranka tells of her anger at Friss’ visits, of her unhappy marriage to an emotionless man. Friss nonchalantattila-hungarian-ffly informs Aranka that her husband was shot dead in prison when involved in a riot. She and Attila become lovers. She starts turning Friss away and he does not like it.

Tibor puts the burgling quartet onto a money trader’s house where they find a large sum of cash in U.S. dollars. A students protest march turns into the Revolution, a full-scale street war starting October 23rd, 1956. All of Attila’s anger – and Aranka’s – comes pouring out in an orgy of – justified – violence. He plays her pimp to lure Russian soldiers to their deaths. They sniper AVO from the rooftops, attack tanks with Molotov cocktails.

timecvrIn London 1963, the stolen money buys Attila first one pub then another. Business booms. Stefan gets into trouble at school, fighting. That brings in a cop, Des Stanford, who is corrupt and greedy. Attila’s Cockney girlfriend introduces him to criminal veteran, Freddie Holman, who sees off some shakedown thugs in violent fashion. A cop on the take gets hungrier. Attila and Freddie set up a card school in the basement of the city pub. It takes off.

His old friends from the past turn up, first Janos then Klaudia. She’s now a stunning, impressive woman.

His businesses drag him deeper into the underworld. At the end of Season 1, the notorious Kray twins pay a visit to his city gambling joint.

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Blockbusters

Blockbusters

Blockbusters – By Andrew MacDonald

Blockbusters is a sweeping, one-hour crime drama series set in 1950s Chicago that mixes the urban grit of The Wire with the historical glaze of Boardwalk Empire.blockbusters2

The show’s two protagonists, Alex Drozda and Betsy Hughes, are from warring factions. Alex is the youngest son in a working class Polish family. Prior to finding a home in America, his family escaped from Poland during the turbulence of the Second World War. From there, the Drozdas completed a hardscrabble crawl to a blue collar, lower middle class lifestyle among other immigrants looking to make a home in Chicago. Betsy Hughes grew up in a primarily African American neighborhood, to a family that’s worked just as hard as Alex’s. The Hughes family came north during the depression looking for work, and though finding it, carried with them religious sensibilities of the south. Clarence Hughes, Betsy’s father, raised her and her brother Gabe as a single parent working full-time in the 1920s. Gabe, a veteran of combat in Italy, admires his father for keeping it together, seeing him as the embodiment of family-manhood. Betsy’s feelings about her father are dominated by the violence of his religiously informed “spare the rod and spoil the child” method of parenting.

Manipulating the action is sleeze bag real estate investor Jed Wilson (think Saul Goodman), whose ties to corrupt city alderman, Rudy “Ruddy” Thompkin, facilitates the breaking up of tight knit communities of whites by fanning flames of racist hysteria. Wilson’s game is blockbusting, the practice of introducing African American homeowners into previously all white neighborhoods in order to spark rapid white flight and housing price decline. The Hughes are one of the first families introduced in the predominately white neighborhood; the youngest Hughes, Roy, falls in with a group of thugs hired by Wilson’s capo, Oz Slopesy, who manipulates them into behavior that threatens the neighborhood. After the local orthodox church is torched, priest Garek Witek has decided to move his church to the suburbs – something Alderman Thompkin has the power to speed along, provided Witek to hastens the white flight. Witek’s grandfatherly exterior hides a wartime secret as a fascist sympathizer in Warsaw.

blockbustersThe story begins as the Drozdas resign themselves to living in a suburban house and running from the neighborhood. Things change, however, when Wilson’s network of thugs and intimidation goes too far and a much-beloved, tough-as-nails older neighborhood eccentric gets killed by Roy in a panicked moment of self-defense during an attempt at intimidation. The Drozdas garner support from other families, among them the volatile Bukowskis, to wage war on the looming “black menace”. Complicating matters is the secret relationship that develops between Alex Drozda and Betsy Hughes, who find themselves torn between their love for each other and their loyalty to their families. As the tension between blacks and whites escalates, the secret meetings between Alex and Betsy become more dangerous.

The two families caught up in the story are probably more alike than they’d like to admit. At it’s heart, Blockbusters is a love story between central characters Alex and Betsy, who must overcome cultural divides if their love shall prevail.

Blockbusters also interrogates the same themes America finds itself grappling with today: racial tensions, income inequality, the American dream of homeownership in a what feels like a rigged economy, and the manipulation of a city’s political climate for the profit of its elite, which in turn comes at the cost of the working class.

Finally, the show is about fear: how groups of people can be moved to do dangerous things when gripped by hysteria.

 

Find Me a Māori Bride

Find Me a Māori Bride

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Comedy series from New Zealand, now available as a scripted format

Find me a Māori Bride follows the comic misadventures of Tama Bradley (Cohen Holloway), and his cousin George Alpert (Matariki Whatarau), a pair of successful, metrosexual Māori men, whose lives are turned upside down, when presented with a wero (challenge), by their late grandmother – find a Māori wife within 6 months, or lose out on inheriting the whānau farm, worth a whopping $47,000,000!