NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--First Look Media today officially announced that it is branding its entertainment studio Topic, which operates across film, television, audio and digital. Founded in 2013, First Look Media has earned a strong reputation in celebrating diverse voices across journalism, film and entertainment. Whether it’s through the 2016 Academy Award® winning Best Picture, Spotlight; the fearless, adversarial journalism of The Intercept; the filmmaker-driven documentary unit Field of Vision’s cinematic journalism; the critically acclaimed political cartoons of The Nib, or the #1 podcast, Missing Richard Simmons, First Look Media has built itself as a bold, independent media company.
Topic is an ambitious new storytelling brand and entertainment studio dedicated to supporting creators at the forefront of culture. The studio will continue to finance, develop and produce a broad range of feature films, documentaries, original series and digital programming.
Having established itself as a creative leader in podcasting with the chart-topping Missing Richard Simmons by Dan Taberski and Intercepted with Jeremy Scahill, this month, Topic is bringing back the second season of its popular political comedy podcast, Politically Re-Active, hosted by W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu.
“Over the past year, we’ve honed our creative voice, established relationships with the best storytellers, and carved out our unique role in the creative community” said Michael Bloom, President of First Look Media. “It’s the perfect time for us to officially brand our entertainment studio as we accelerate our efforts to develop more great content with some of the best creative talent in the world, and begin to establish an even more direct relationship with the audience.”
The Topic studio is currently supporting several projects in various stages of production, about to premiere or set for release:
- MY ABANDONMENT - A feature film directed by Academy Award® nominee Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone, Down to the Bone), slated to start production this spring.
- WE DO NOT FORGET- A feature film from writer/director Zach Helm, produced by Antoine Fuqua and set to star Daniel Radcliffe and Zachary Quinto. Slated to go into production this spring.
- NO MAN’S LAND - A documentary film produced in association with Morgan Spurlock’s Warrior Poets and Impact Partners set to premiere at the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival.
- NOBODY SPEAK: HULK HOGAN, GAWKER AND TRIALS OF A FREE PRESS - A documentary directed by Brian Knappenberger, and in association with Field of Vision, which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and was acquired by Netflix.
- ALL-STAR STYLE - A digital collaboration between The New Yorker and Topic, which features NBA impressionist Brandon Armstrong applying his skills to five of basketball’s biggest stars, just in time for March Madness. Topic and The New Yorker will release one longer video and five shorter cuts of the individual impressions on Topic and The New Yorker’s social feeds.
“We’re thrilled about the creative talent we’ve attracted to First Look Media. Now as Topic, the studio will keep looking for pioneering storytellers and provocative ideas that we can help bring to life for all platforms,” said Adam Pincus, EVP of Programming & Content at First Look Media. “And as we’re starting to have more of a conversation with audiences through the work we’re doing in digital, we think there’s a huge opportunity to nurture some new talent, give established makers a creative sandbox, and take some chances on new approaches to telling great stories."
Select film, TV and digital projects in development from Topic include:
BROTHERHOOD OF THE BOMB - As part of a
multi-platform, first-look production deal, Dan Powell (Inside Amy
Schumer) is adapting a feature film based on the book Brotherhood
of the Bomb: The Tangled Lives and Loyalties of Robert Oppenheimer,
Ernest Lawrence, and Edward Teller by Gregg Herken. The film
explores the tumultuous relationship between Oppenheimer and Teller,
the scientists responsible for the advent of the atomic bomb.
Powell is also developing a short form, topical animated series drawn from the popular The Nib political cartoon platform. He is also producing a short form comedy series, written and starring Cirocco Dunlap (Man Seeking Woman, The Tick), about one woman’s experiences as a millennial in New York City.
MR. SPEAKER – TV comedy series
A political satire based on an original pitch by David Sirota, a Senior Editor for Investigations at The International Business Times and Bret Saunders. Written by: Emmy Award winning Billy Kimball (Veep, The Simpsons). Executive Produced by: Sarah Condon (Bored to Death, Looking, The Red Road).
THE APOTHECARY – TV drama series
An adaptation of the bestselling trilogy The Apothecary by Maile Meloy. Written by Mark Levin & Jennifer Flackett (Madeline, Wimbledon).
GOLD FAME CITRUS – TV drama series
Based on a book by Claire Vaye Watkins. Named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post, NPR, Vanity Fair, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Huffington Post, The Atlantic, Refinery 29 and many others.
RIDE – digital comedy series
Scripted short form comedy series written and starring stand-up comic Phoebe Robinson as she takes cabs to her comedy gigs. During the course of these rides, she interacts with all different kinds of drivers (played by famed comedians). Written & Starring Phoebe Robinson (2 Dope Queens, Girl Code, Broad City). Production Company: Avalon (Catastrophe, Last Week Tonight, Workaholics)
UNTITLED MOLLY CRABAPPLE PROJECT – digital hybrid
animation/live action series
Molly Crabapple, Jim Batt and Kim Boekbinder (NYT’s The War on Drugs is an Epic Fail) team together to create a unique narrative series which tells the dystopian story of two friends separated by war.
UNTITLED JOE PENNA PROJECT - digital anthology series
Written and directed by Joe Penna, a YouTube phenomenon, the high concept series tracks a wide-spread pandemic and the individual characters who are all unknowingly interconnected. Produced by Skybound Entertainment and the team behind such hits as The Walking Dead.
Topic is the ambitious new storytelling brand and entertainment studio from First Look Media dedicated to supporting creators at the forefront of culture. From Academy Award®-winning films (Spotlight) to television, audio and digital, we explore a wide range of subject matter, both fiction and nonfiction. Our approach – challenging, compelling and unconventional – reflects our commitment to discovering and amplifying independent new voices, and supporting established ones.
About FIRST LOOK MEDIA:
A bold, independent spirit defines everything we do at First Look Media – from journalism that holds the powerful accountable, to art and entertainment that shape our culture. Launched by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar, First Look Media is built on the belief that freedom of expression and of the press, diverse voices, and fiercely independent perspectives, are vital to a healthy democracy and a vibrant culture.