FremantleMedia today announced that it has acquired a majority stake in the brand new Australian drama company Easy Tiger Productions. The high-end scripted indie will be led by the globally-respected producer Ian Collie, who will take up the position of Managing Director.
Collie co-founded Essential Media in 2006 and rapidly built its drama division into one of Australia’s foremost creators and producers of scripted content, attracting some of the best writing, directing and acting talent in the country. Collie will be joined in the new company by the hugely talented development executives Rachael Turk and Tanya Phegan, formerly of Essential Media. In addition to the creation of new drama content, Collie’s scripted projects currently in development at Essential Media will be transferred into Easy Tiger Productions, as will its slate of past drama series such as Rake, Doctor Doctor, Jack Irish and the four-part drama The Sunshine Kings, recently commissioned by SBS.
Easy Tiger Productions Board will include FremantleMedia’s Sangeeta Desai, COO and CEO Emerging Markets; Sarah Doole, Director of Global Drama and Ian Hogg, Regional Chief Executive Officer, Australia & Asia Pacific.
Sarah Doole said: “Our ambition is to work with the best scripted talent in the world to tell bold and impactful stories, and Easy Tiger ticks all of those boxes. Ian and his team have been responsible for a number of ambitious titles with global success, and their upcoming slate includes a range of storylines on the forefront of originality that will perfectly complement the series coming from FremantleMedia’s growing family of prime-time drama producers.”
Ian Collie said: “The team at Easy Tiger is renowned for it’s high production values, creative rigour and talent friendliness. Joining the vastly experienced FremantleMedia group provides Easy Tiger with the opportunity to build on its reputation as a boutique yet high-end production company, from the development phase right through to distribution.”
“This means we can continue to do what we love: fresh stories done well and for an increasingly global market.”
Ian Collie’s production credits include the award-winning Rake, the comedy drama series for ABC TV starring Richard Roxburgh and guest starring Toni Collette, Rachel Griffiths, Hugo Weaving and Sam Neill. The fifth season of Rake will go into production this year. In addition, Collie served as Executive Producer on the United States version of Rake for Fox.
Collie also produces the popular series Doctor Doctor (aka The Heart Guy) for Australia’s Nine Network, which is distributed internationally by FremantleMedia International (FMI). A second season recently premiered on Channel NINE to impressive ratings.
The upcoming MIPCOM will see FMI debut Collie’s latest four-part compelling crime series The Sunshine Kings to international buyers. Exploring themes of identity, belonging, class and race equality, The Sunshine Kings follows the life of Jacob, a young, aspiring South Sudanese-Australian basketball player who is on the cusp of being picked up by US scouts for the US College league. In the midst of aspiring to win at all costs, Jacob finds himself answering to Sunshine-raised lawyer Zara Skelton when he is caught up in a police investigation involving a teenage girl from one of Melbourne’s affluent suburbs. Starring Anthony LaPaglia and Melanie Lynskey, The Sunshine Kings, is produced for SBS in Australia and was selected to open the inaugural Melbourne chapter of Séries Mania in July 2017.
Further production credits include Jack Irish for ABC starring Guy Pearce as well as three telemovies of the Jack Irish franchise – Bad Debts, Black Tide and Dead Point. Ian also produced the Disney-financed feature film Saving Mr Banks, starring Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti and others, and directed by John Lee Hancock in December 2013.
Prior to television Collie worked as a solicitor and later as executive director for the Arts Law Centre of Australia and the Australian Directors Guild. He is currently a Board member of the National Institute of Dramatic Arts.