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Channel 4 takes equity stake in Renowned Films

CorporatePortal

Channel 4 Corporation today announced that it has made a new investment from its £20m Growth Fund, taking a minority stake in young, up-and-coming indie Renowned Films to support the scale ambitions of this thriving creative company.

Renowned Films was co-founded by Duane Jones, Max Welch and Tim Withers in 2012. Max and Tim boldly dropped out of their first year at Bournemouth University after they met BBC Radio 1Xtra presenter Duane whilst making a documentary for a major record label. The trio connected through their passion to disrupt traditional broadcast media and create innovative factual entertainment and documentaries using emerging technology and platforms to tell fresh stories to young audiences.

Duane left his Sony Gold Award winning drive time BBC show to launch Renowned Films with Max and Tim and they secured London Live’s first major commission, F2 Kicks Off (16x30’). The highest rating series for the channel to date, it followed football freestylers Billy Wingrove and Jeremy Lynch’s stunt journey across London and has since been licensed to over 14 territories worldwide.

Other highlights include Winner’s Circle (11x30’) for Sky offering behind the scenes access to top premiership football stars, licensed across 66 territories; branded content series including FCUK (5x6’) following Olympic Gold medalist Anthony Joshua; and content for online music platform Vevo featuring interviews with top music stars.

Renowned Films are currently in development with new series for BBC Three, ITV, MTV and 4Music. Last year Max was named one of Broadcast magazine’s 2014 Hot Shots, the youngest producer/director to date.

David Abraham, Channel 4’s Chief Executive said: “Renowned Films are an exciting addition to our expanding Growth Fund investment portfolio. Duane, Max and Tim are a passionate and ambitious team with an appetite to create compelling formats across both new and traditional media platforms to inspire young audiences globally. We’re looking forward to working with this talented young indie to help push them to the next level.”

Duane Jones said: “Renowned Films is thrilled to start a new chapter in our development, bolstered by the support of Channel 4. As a company built by young creatives from the ground up, we share the broadcaster's commitment to innovation, experimentation, and the development of burgeoning British talent. The Growth Fund investment allows us to continue our mission to engage and entertain today's youth audience with the forward-thinking content they deserve.”

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Channel 4 has additionally signed a development partnership with factual and arts indie Brassneck TV.

Brassneck TV was set up by executive producer John Osborne in 2008 alongside friends , Grammy award-winning filmmaker Don Letts and sports broadcaster Kelly Cates. Brassneck are the team behind three series of the photography format Exposed for Sky Arts, ad funded programming such as Fred Perry Presents Subculture for Channel 4, and documentary specials including Hillsborough Remembered for History, one of the channel's highest-rating commissions.

John Osborne, Managing Director at Brassneck TV said: "The development deal with Channel 4 is a really exciting opportunity for Brassneck. It allows us to bring some more talented personnel on board to help develop our slate and win new business."

Launched last year the Growth Fund is committed to supporting small to medium sized creative companies based in the UK by providing access to funding to grow and develop businesses outside of the normal commissioning cycle.

Channel 4’s growing portfolio of Growth Fund indie investments include: Arrow Media, Eleven, Lightbox, Popkorn and True North.

Further investments will be announced across the year.

Notes to editors

  • No output or minimum guarantees will be given to invested companies in relation to Channel 4 commissions – and the Growth Fund investments will not influence the strategy of Channel 4’s commissioning team which will continue to work with the broadest range of suppliers and in a manner consistent with the Code of Practice for Commissioning of Independent Productions and with equality of access
  • Channel 4 continues to take submissions from interested independent producers. UK based companies can register their interest to growthfund@channel4.co.uk
  • Renowned Films biographies – previously Duane presented the Sony Gold Award winning drive time show on BBC Radio 1Xtra as ‘Vis’ and has presented and produced content for BBC 5Live and MTV. Max has worked with HSI London, NBC, ARD and NDR across a broad range of music, factual, entertainment, news and current affairs content. Tim has worked with a range of companies and brands including WMR and Gillette, and talent such as Nicki Minaj and Ronaldo
  • Brassneck TV biographiesJohn began his career working in development at Darlow Smithson and IMG. He was nominated for a Banff World Television Award for his directorial debut Liverpool: One Night In May for Sky 1, before going on to produce a string of music and arts documentaries for the BBC.
    A cult figure in the arts world, Don came to notoriety in the late seventies as the DJ that turned a generation of punks on to reggae. He has directed over 300 music videos and his documentaries include PUNK: Attitude and The Clash: Westway to the World. Don also hosts his own radio show on BBC 6Music.
    Kelly presents BBC Radio 5 Lives’s football phone-in 606 and was one of the main anchors for Channel 4’s Paralympics coverage.

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