LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Writer/producer Joel Eisenberg and his “The Chronicles of Ara” writing partner, Stephen Hillard, have formed Council Tree Productions, a feature film and television development company.
Hillard, President of private equity investment firm Council Tree Investors, has invested in and advised on transactions totaling over $10 billion, including control of Telemundo, for which his company invested $181 million in 2000, and numerous major telecom transactions.
“Joel’s and my own interests are perfectly aligned within several media genres,” Hillard says. “We met at a Los Angeles pitch festival and I pitched him my novel, ‘Mirkwood.’ We became friends and then business partners due to our mutual interests, especially in the realm of fantasy.”
As writers, Stephen and Joel are currently writing the multi-volume “The Chronicles of Ara” fantasy novels. As producers, they are developing “Farway Canyon,” with Anthony (“Sharknado”) Ferrante directing, based on Hillard’s new comic book series with Dennis Nowlan.
“Cable and streaming services are presenting remarkable opportunities of late,” Eisenberg says, whose “Then Again with Herbie J Pilato” classic TV talkfest, executive produced with Hillard, is tentatively airing later this year on Decades Network. “A more formal partnership with Stephen was a natural progression.”
Priority projects on the team’s development slate include “IRL,” which is described as an LGBTQ-themed cross of “The Leftovers” and “The Walking Dead,” “Shadow Show,” as “hosted” by Vincent Price (of whom the company has attained likeness rights from the late actor’s daughter, Victoria) - a re-branding of Sam Weller and Mort Castle’s bestselling anthology and IDW comic book series - and the aforementioned “Farway Canyon.”
The partners maintain their separate projects as well. “Louis vs Schmeling,” based on one of boxing’s most historic rivalries, is forthcoming from co-writers Eisenberg and Gil Adler (producer of “Superman Returns” and “Valkyrie”), with Bill Duke directing. Hillard’s cyber-thriller, “KNOLL,” is scheduled for release in hardback in June.
Though the duo considers genre product a sweet spot, they will continue to develop and set-up non-genre properties. Uniquely, the company will be open to partnering with new writers and producers who do not yet have the contacts necessary to establish their work in the marketplace. “We will strive for a creator-friendly model and proactively seek top-shelf work by committed new-content providers,” says Hillard.