EXCLUSIVE: Shark Tank EP Phil Gurin’s The Gurin Company has struck an international partnership with Ukrainian indie Film.UA Group and set the first project, a home makeover series titled Rebuilding Ukraine Together.
The deal will see the veteran U.S. format exec’s indie select Film.UA shows that have global potential and provide development, distribution and co-production services to help sell them outside Ukraine. The pair will also work together on formats for the U.S., Ukrainian and international markets.
Rebuilding Ukraine Together will be shopped at next week’s Mipcom Cannes and is inspired by a Film.UA pilot that was filmed prior to the war with Russia. The series follows the structure of a classic makeover format but will rebuild Ukrainian homes destroyed during the war, while creating a supportive community for traumatized local families.
Gurin said his company has “long admired the creative work of our friends at Film.UA.”
“While predominantly known for their scripted output, their storytelling expertise is highly regarded and deserves to be known far beyond Ukraine’s borders.”
Gurin added: “Rebuilding Ukraine Together is a timely and topical documentary series with its roots in entertainment — and it combines the best of both genres. While it has a real sense of urgency and purpose, it also delivers a powerful feel-good punch, as the make-over team turns its attention to rebuilding war-torn lives, homes and communities.”
FILM.UA CEO Victoria Yarmoshchuk said her indie can “offer the fresh ideas so desperately needed by both our industry and, more importantly, our audiences.” Alongside Red Arrow Studios International, the company is also producing an anthology comedy-drama series about the early days of the Russian invasion.
“Co-operation with global partners such as The Gurin Company allows us to look to the future with confidence,” she added, pointing out that Film.UA has “acquired unrivalled crisis-management skills and experience to share with international partners” since the war started.
As well as producing shows, Film.UA oversees the $20M Ukrainian Content Club – a fund designed to help sustain the nation’s TV industry by seeking investment from global players early in the production process. The Club has opened for applications and will reveal awardees next year.