Banijay Group’s Bunim/Murray Productions (BMP) and Yellow Bird Sweden, today announce the launch of Yellow Bird U.S.. Led by Marianne Gray, the new joint venture follows the award-winning Scandinavian brand’s extensive success worldwide and launch in the UK earlier in 2018.
A Producer for Yellow Bird Sweden, Gray has been pivotal to a number of the label’s leading high-quality brands including Headhunters and Occupied. She is also currently leading production on a new, yet-to-be-announced title shooting in Italy.
Established in Sweden in 2003, Yellow Bird has gone on to become a prolific, internationally-recognised production company. Building its reputation initially by taking Henning Mankell’s renowned fictional detective, Kurt Wallander to screen, the business has rapidly built a reputation as a leading film and television production entity. Led by CEO, Johannes Jensen, it has been responsible for a number of global hits including Occupied, Asa Larsson’s Rebecka Martinsson, and Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy.
Yellow Bird U.S. is a close joint venture with BMP and its existing Swedish counterpart, which sits as part of Jacob Houlind-led Banijay Nordics. Based in BMP’s LA offices, Gray will partner closely with its Chairman and CEO, Gil Goldschein in building and executing the new entity’s creative strategy.
The new business is tasked with developing and producing original, English-language Scripted content for both American and international audiences. Utilising BMP’s established relationships with both traditional and SVOD players across the market, Gray will also look to exploit Banijay Group’s existing formats.
Gray has already optioned bestselling novel, The 7 Keys, from leading Swedish author Åsa Schwartz, and most recently, I Found You from Lisa Jewell.
Marco Bassetti, CEO, Banijay Group comments: “Yellow Bird U.S. is the result of two of the Group’s leading brands coming together in one of the world’s biggest markets. The original Swedish label has long built a strong reputation for high-quality, award-winning drama, and we look forward to seeing this success replicated via the partnership with fellow market-leader, BMP.”
Goldschein comments: “Jacob Houlind and I have wanted to collaborate for some time following a long-standing working relationship within the wider Group. In light of BMP’s own scripted aspirations, the current appetite for global, quality dramas, and Yellowbird’s stellar reputation, we both felt that a partnership in the U.S. would be key to taking the brand to the next level worldwide.”
Gray comments: “The partnership with Bunim/Murray provides the perfect opportunity to transport Yellow Bird into the U.S. and I look forward to bringing a Scandi edge to the American Scripted market. While the set-up is in its early stages, we already have two of our formats in the works and a couple of new book titles we are looking to introduce to the market.”
Houlind comments: “Following the Banijay Zodiak merger, Johannes and I decided that we should find more ways to tap into the growing global market for quality drama. Soon it became clear we could exploit our IP, creative talent and production know-how even better, by building a presence in the U.S.. With a truly gifted award-winning producer such as Marianne, who has also worked in the U.S. scripted business before, and knows the YellowBird DNA inside-out, as well as with BMP and Gil Goldschein, whom I have enjoyed working with and admired within the wider Banijay group for many years, we have the perfect combination to take the brand into a new and exciting era.”