(L-R): Kojo group MD Dale Roberts; Stampede Ventures head of international content and worldwide content acquisitions JP Sarni; Kojo Entertainment producer Kate Butler and Kojo executive director post and VFX Marty Pepper.
Adelaide’s Kojo Entertainment has formed a new joint venture with Greg Silverman’s US-based Stampede Ventures, aimed at developing a range of internationally marketable features and TV projects based on Australian IP, to be fully produced locally with Australian creatives.
Kojo group managing director Dale Roberts and non executive-director Jamie McClurg connected with Silverman, who used to head up creative development and worldwide production for Warner Bros, on a visit to LA. Finding both a strategic and creative fit, the two companies have spent around six to eight months negotiating a new 50/50 business.
“We are very proud to partner with Dale and his team at Kojo for this international partnership,” said JP Sarni head of international content and worldwide content acquisitions at Stampede Ventures.
“Their studio has a terrific track record as creative, production and business partners across Australia, and we’re thrilled to help expand that vision worldwide with a bold slate of franchise properties from original voices.
“As Stampede Ventures looks to the global market, we are curating IP and original content for more than 20 countries, and Australia is a major focus for us in film, television, streaming and audio. Australia is rich with talented storytellers and media artists – we’re privileged to spend time here and build a new content stream alongside them.”
For Roberts, the decision to partner has multiple benefits, including giving back to the Australian producers and talent who have supported the broader creative studio over the last 28 years.
“First and foremost, it’s chance to expand our production business as an export business, which we think is pretty critical. There’s no doubt being a production company solely in Australia can be challenging. And for us, rather than run a solo race in Australia, we see the world as a big market that we want to play in. The JV will help us do that. But also it will help us work more broadly with Australian producers, and no doubt it will help feed our post-production, visual effects business as well,” he tells IF.
While it’s still early days,the focus for the slate will be both acquiring and developing IP, as well as coming in on more advanced projects.
“Whatever we do, we’re looking to exploit as much Australian talent as we can. We are looking for projects that will cross across the pond and move into into global markets,” Roberts says.
Kojo Entertainment will still continue to develop projects outside of the JV with production partners in Australia, with Roberts noting its successful collaboration with Goalpost on Top End Wedding. However, he also hopes to partner with local companies through the new venture with Stampede as well.
“Hope hopefully we can see it as a bit of an aggregator of Australian projects that that may fit the alliance broad sense,” he says.
Kojo Entertainment was formerly headed by Kate Croser, who departed in September to run the South Australian Film Corporation. Kojo will announce her successor shortly, who will have a mandate to both look after Kojo Entertainment’s current slate, and to lead the joint venture from 2020.