New York-based prodco Locomotive Group announced its launch on September 30, and has already been well received at this year’s MIPCOM with a slate of projects in the pipeline. It helps that this is not a rookie team. Gabriel Gornell, president of the Locomotive Group, Inc., and Colleen Seldin, president of Locomotive Distribution Corp., are industry veterans who are taking advantage of a global market by forming a new prodco/distrib boutique.
At MIPCOM, the new company received an enthusiastic response, according to Gornell. ‘Everyone is embracing our message and story,’ he continued. The story is that Locomotive is comprised of both a creative and production unit and a distribution unit, and in the team of Seldin and Gornell, has an estimable pedigree. Seldin has 10 years of experience as SVP of international distribution for Miramax, while Gornell has exec produced programming for History Channel, A&E and HBO, among others.
Currently, Locomotive already has one production under its belt. It’s a cleverly titled Discovery Channel premiere, Tyrannosaurus Sex, which offers up a CGI take on dinosaurs’ romantic side. They plan to complete production in early December. ‘We’re excited to launch with a production with Discovery,’ says Gornell. Locomotive’s players have a background in CGI and animation, which helped serve the company’s first commission, and also boast past histories with the network.
Post-MIPCOM, with the interest in a couple of other projects, Seldin says they’re hopeful they will have more than one or two projects in production in the next month or so.
‘It was exciting and gratifying to know now that what we’ve been working on is so well received,’ says Gornell. ‘The coordination between the creative and production side of our company and the distribution part was understood and the benefits of both sides were clearly understood; it’s something that people are excited about.’
Some of Locomotive’s other offerings include Big Blue and Real, Hot and Burlesque. Initially Big Blue was meant to be a multi-part adventure series following skipper Roy Finlay as he attempted a record-breaking 3,000 mile row across the Atlantic.
‘Because we’ve been shaking the trees a little bit, the current world record holder made the decision that he doesn’t want to be left out of this and he basically challenged Roy to do it head to head,’ says Gornell.
This moves the production ahead to December of 2010, from an earlier estimated completion date of February 2010. This will mark the first official oceanic rowing open.
Locomotive began shooting Real, Hot and Burlesque, a mature non-fiction series following burlesque dancers in a burlesque competition, last June and is still looking for a broadcast partner. ‘It was really embraced by various territories and we haven’t actually taken it to the obvious U.S. partners yet, but by the end of the month we should know where it’s going and how we’re doing it,’ says Gornell.
Gornell and the creative production team are at work producing male-skewing TV and Seldin gives her input as to what works and what doesn’t based on her distribution experience. Seldin is already distributing fiction and non-fiction films for the company, and continues to slowly build up Locomotive’s catalog.
‘The good news is that out of MIP and our other announcements, people are contacting us about distributing their properties, whether they’re for movies or television,’ says Seldin. ‘We’re actively closing deals on other properties.’
MIPCOM even managed to change the company’s distribution strategy in a major way. Gornell says the takeaway from the market was that documentaries are hot right now, as docs came up in every one of Gornell and Seldin’s conversations. ‘Based on the current level of interest in the unscripted space, that’s a category from the acquisition and distribution standpoint we are absolutely going to be pursuing and embracing, and that’s actually impacting our distribution strategy,’ says Gornell. ‘Prior to MIPCOM, on the distribution side, we weren’t actively looking at the documentary space.’