Raven Capital management, the U.S. private equity firm that last year acquired distributor Open Road, is to finance a slate of TV projects from South East Asia’s Coconuts.
The arrangement will kick-off with pilots for seven unscripted TV shows. Raven and Coconuts TV will partner on global licensing and distribution deals for the series.
Coconuts TV is part of the Thailand and Singapore-based Coconuts digital publishing group, headed by Byron Perry. With smart tabloid taste, the group likes to focus on “weird and wondrous” untold stories from Asia.
The company’s credits include marijuana docu-series “Highland,” sold to Netflix in 2017; the hard-hitting short-docu variety show “Coconuts TV on IFLIX,” commissioned by regional streamer Iflix in 2018; and adventure travel documentary “Nagaland: Twilight of the Headhunters,” sold to Discovery Asia in 2019.
Production on the pilots will be led by Perry and Vim Shanmugam, head of content and production with Coconuts TV whose experience includes working in television and film at NBCU and Paramount Pictures.
“Byron and his Coconuts TV team are uniquely adept at not only uncovering and capturing amazing stories from Southeast Asia, but presenting them in an intelligent way that will appeal to global audiences. We believe there is tremendous appetite for quality content that looks and feels distinct,” said Raven principal and portfolio manager James Masciello,
The seven pilots include: “Bangkok Queen,” a docu-drama starring Thailand’s leading drag queen Pangina Heals; “Influencer Island,” a reality competition show; “Thai Food 101,” a poetic and visually stunning ode to the sweet, sour, spicy, and salty deliciousness of perfectly executed Thai food; “Sex Lives Thailand,” a docu-series that focuses on Thailand’s diverse sexualities, travel series “Wander Woman” celebrating exceptional women against the backdrop of food, fashion and celebrity; “Gancha” a docu-series about the growing cannabis culture and business in Thailand; “Murder Babes,” a true crime docu-series about a high profile murder committed by a group of promotional models in Thailand.
In addition to financing and co-developing the Coconuts TV slate, Raven is ramping up its development, production and financing of features and television through its association and financing of Sculptor Media. Raven and Sculptor, in partnership with Zero Gravity Management, recently completed production on “The Marksman” starring Liam Neeson, and directed by Rob Lorenz. Neeson also stars in “Honest Thief,” one for the first films from the newly relaunched Open Road.
The company’s previous corporate acquisitions include the 2015 purchase of the Exclusive Media Group, jointly with AMBI Media Group, and purchase of a majority stake in David Ian Productions, a leading producer, promoter and tour operator of high-profile licensed stage musicals. The Exclusive Media deal included rights to more than 400 film titles, running from “Begin Again,” “Cruel Intentions,” “Donnie Darko,” “Memento,” and “The Mexican,” to “Rush,” “The Skulls,” and “Sliding Doors.”