C21: Pure Grass closes 360-degree deals

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18 Oct 2010

Endemol backed indie Pure Grass Films (Kirill, Beyond The Rave) has signed a digital partnership with a major publishing group to produce four cross-platform projects,each featuring online video, e-book and feature film elements.to produce a 30-minute prequel video, which has been independently financed by the two companies. ContentFilm will take distribution rights for the video aspects of the project.

Pure Grass is partnering with Hodder & Stoughton, a division of Hachette Livre, which will produce novels and e-books for the projects, having acquired world publishing rights. The projects will feature interactive elements such as apps and games, along with a variety of video.

For Shadow Line, the first and most advanced of the four projects, Pure Grass has teamed up with transatlantic distributor ContentFilm

“The idea is that we’ll launch the book and e-book elements first,” Pure Grass founder and MD Ben Grass told C21, “and then follow-up with films and TV.” He added that his firm is in talks with an undisclosed major film studio about the feature film aspect of the sci-fi project.

Grass also said he is in talks with various digital platforms about hosting the prequel and online video aspects of the projects, suggesting MySpace, MSN and YouTube would be natural fits. Pure Grass’s previous projects, Beyond The Rave and Kirill, were launched on MySpace and MSN respectively.

Of the other projects, two – Glow and Shape Shifters – are supernatural thrillers, while the fourth, The Lost Gate, is billed as a fantasy action-adventure.

Pure Grass will hold back the online video aspects of the projects until the films are near completion. The indie is working with Bafta-winning video games producer Alan Raistrick on Glow and writer-producer Adam Sigel on The Lost Gate.

Grass said Endemol – which owns 40% of the indie after signing a £1m (US$1.59m) deal in 2008 – still supported the firm but was not directly involved in the projects or the Hachette deal. “They are supportive in terms of investment in the company, rather than in individual projects,” Grass explained.

He added that the projects were not going through Endemol’s recently launched gaming division, but said he hoped to have discussions with the division when the projects were more advanced. In addition to the launch of the gaming arm, Endemol has seen a number of changes to its digital set-up over the past year, including the departure of high-ranking digital execs Peter Cowley and Adam Valkin.

Luigi Bonomi Associates represented Pure Grass in the Hachette deal. Hodder & Stoughton senior editor Kate Howard said: “We were deeply impressed by the potential to create immersive experiences for each of them involving gaming, social media, and video.

“We see Pure Grass as a leader in transmedia storytelling and we intend to continue our commitment to be at the forefront of changes in the publishing landscape with this kind of partnership.”