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April 4, 2013

MIPTV: Thunderbird Films Acquires ‘Continuum’ Producer Reunion Pictures (Exclusive)


Etan Vlessing / The Hollywood Reporter

TORONTO — Thunderbird Films, which has partnered with Lionsgate to run a TV studio, has acquired Reunion Pictures to bolster its one hour drama production capacity.

Vancouver-based Thunderbird purchased Reunion Pictures, which is led by principals Matthew O’Connor, Lisa Richardson and Tom Rowe, for an undisclosed sum.

The deal is Thunderbird president and CEO Tim Gamble’s latest move to turn the distribution and rights management company into a major film and TV production player in Canada and abroad.

“We feel there’s terrific synergy between their enormous experience in high quality production from high-end miniseries like Tin Man and Alice to their current series Continuum,” Gamble told The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday.
Thunderbird last week recruited former CTV head Ivan Fecan as chairman of the board and consultant.

And Gamble brought on board Lionsgate founder Frank Giustra as a major shareholder who largely orchestrated the 50-50 joint venture Sea to Sky Entertainment with Lionsgate.

In the latest move, O’Connor, Richardson and Rowe, who formed Reunion Pictures in 2004, will remain with the company and produce under their own brand, as will Thunderbird.

At the same time, bringing Reunion Pictures into the Thunderbird fold aims to give both companies leverage as they do business with broadcast partners.
O’Connor, Richardson and Rowe previously worked together at Pacific Motion Pictures Corp, a major Vancouver-based indie producer during the 1990s.
Production on a second season of Continuum, which stars Rachel Nichols as a time-travelling cop and airs on Showcase in Canada and Syfy stateside, is now underway.

Thunderbird has developed bench strength in kids and comedy with TV series like Mr. Young for Corus Entertainment and Package Deal for City.
Taking on Reunion Pictures aims to bolster Thunderbird’s expertise in the one hour drama front.

Elsewhere, Thunderbird’s Sea to Sky Entertainment partnership with Lionsgate hired Brett Burlock, a former head of development at the CTV, to run its new Toronto office.

Sea to Sky has deals in place for a TV series based on novels by Gone Baby Gone author Dennis Lehane and a limited TV series based on the book An Uncommon Youth about events surrounding the John Paul Getty III kidnapping in 1973.
Thunderbird is being backed by deep pockets as it continues to grow, including Giustra, a mining magnate and a member of the Lionsgate boardroom, Vancouver Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini of the Aquilini Investment Group, and Toronto trader Michael Wekerle of Difference Capital Funding.