Black Bear, the independent production and financing group behind such features as Mudbound, I Care a Lot and The Imitation Game, has set up a multi-year revolving development fund with B-Reel Films, the Scandinavian production company whose credits include Ari Aster’s Midsommar and Joachim Trier’s The Worst Person in the World.
The deal, announced Tuesday by Black Bear’s President and CEO Teddy Schwarzman and B-Reel Films CEO, Pelle Nilsson, will see the two companies jointly acquire and develop Scandinavian-sourced IP and content, both for film and television. Black Bear will also represent B-Reel’s English-language and international projects and will coordinate closely with B-Reel’s representatives at CAA.
Philip Westgren, who runs B-Reel’s U.S. operations, will join Black Bear partners Keith Redmon and Joanne Roberts Wiles as a manager and producer in the company’s newly formed management division.
The Scandinavian deal is part of a global expansion by Black Bear, which recently opened international offices in London to house its international sales business, Black Bear International, and U.K. distribution operations, both run by John Friedberg. Black Bear also holds a majority take in Canada’s distribution and production company Elevation Pictures.
Stockholm-based B-Reel is among the most dynamic independent production companies in Sweden. Alongside co-productions like Midsommar and The Worst Person in the World, the group is behind the Hulu documentary I Am Greta, about the Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, and Jens Sjögren’s sports biopic I Am Zlatan about soccer superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic. B-Reel is also active in local-language TV, with seven series set for production this year, including the comedic drama Tore for Netflix.
Black Bear’s upcoming feature productions include Nyad, a true-life drama for Netflix starring Annette Bening and Jodie Foster; the Craig Gillespie-directed Dumb Money for Sony featuring Seth Rogen, Paul Dano, Shailene Woodley and Pete Davidson; and Neil Burger’s The Marsh King’s Daughter starring Daisy Ridley and Ben Mendelsohn for STX.
On the TV side, Black Bear recently wrapped production on season 1 of Monsieur Spade. The series, based on Dashiell Hammett’s iconic film noir character Sam Spade, stars Clive Owen and will air on AMC in the U.S.