WildBear announces partnership with Dogwoof

WildBear producer Bettina Dalton.

WildBear Entertainment has entered into a production partnership with UK documentary company Dogwoof to develop, finance, and co-produce a slate of five projects.

The pair previously collaborated on Sally Aitken’s Sundance-selected documentary Playing With Sharks: The Valerie Taylor Story, which was created and produced by WildBear’s Bettina Dalton and executive produced by Dogwoof CEO Anna Godas and head of acquisitions Oli Harbottle, alongside Wildbear’s Alan Erson and Madman Entertainment’s Paul Wiegard.

Other notable titles to come under the London-based production, sales, and UK theatrical distribution entity include Free Solo, Apollo 11, Collective, The Act of Killing, and Blackfish.

Dalton told IF she had been “so impressed” with Dogwoof’s sales strategy and execution on Playing With Sharks, the worldwide rights of which were acquired by National Geographic Documentary Films, leaving her feeling that the two companies had more to offer one another.

“The partnership seemed like an organic evolution rather than lightning in a bottle,” she said.

“With Dogwoof moving into production and WildBear looking to move forward into the streaming space, our skill sets seem to compliment each other. On the back of the success of Playing With Sharks, we started the conversation on a first-look development slate and this conversation fairly quickly moved into a discussion on deeper engagement.”

Valerie Taylor in ‘Playing with Sharks’.

Production on the first title of the partnership is already well underway, with stage one shooting on Fastest Thing on Wings having been completed in Los Angeles.

Centred on the characters involved in the rehabilitation of hummingbirds in the US city, the film continues WildBear’s creative relationship with Aitken, who will again direct.

Australian’s Dan Freene and Nathan Barlow are also onboard as DOPs for the project, which the company is hoping to release in 2023.

Dalton said the documentary reflected WildBear’s “desire to connect to the natural world” in its subject matter of a “magical bird that seems to capture the imagination of Angelenos and beyond”.

“This is a bird that literally brings people to their knees when they find them in need of rescuing all over Los Angeles,” she said.

While details of the other projects are yet to be revealed, Dalton said further announcements would be made soon, adding that WildBear’s key objective in forming the partnership was to “fully integrate” its films into the international streaming market and work with Australian creators to make world-class content.

“Working early on with Dogwoof makes great strategic sense for us,” she said.

In an interview with Deadline, Godas said working with WildBear was a “natural fit” for the company.

“It’s an opportunity we see where we can look to independently finance these projects where possible by assessing different models where we can minimise risk and we can be entrepreneurial and develop a real business partnership,” she said.