Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios, has acquired the award-winning drama, Up North for global distribution.
As one of the largest independent producers and distributors of first-run syndicated television programming for broadcast television stations, and the owner of eight 24-hour HD television networks now serving nearly 160 million subscribers, Entertainment Studios will finance and distribute eight, one-hour episodes of the gritty drama series to launch its first season.
Up North first made headlines in 2017 when it picked up four awards at the SeriesFest television festival — including Best Actor, Best Director, Best Pilot, and the coveted Audience Award (voted on by festival attendees).
The Up North pilot digs into the brutal reality of the New York prison system, as an innocent teenager gets arrested for a crime he did not commit. Although presented as a drama, the series will examine the realities of incarceration and inner-city life from various points of view, taking a deep, introspective look at New York’s flawed and often corrupt prison system.
Byron Allen and Carolyn Folks will executive produce Up North for Entertainment Studios with Unleashing Giants Studios & Filmbank Entertainment producing. Up North will continue to be written by Emil Pinnock and writing partner Ian Robertson, filmed by Director of Photography Eric Branco, and executive produced by Emil Pinnock and Ian Robertson along with Keith Patterson and Barry Tatelman. Chike Okonkwo and Haley Horsager are also set to produce.
The series features an ensemble cast of Eugene Clark, Gabriel Ellis, Robert Lewis, Ian Duff and Kris Lofton. Pinnock, who recently signed a blind script deal at Blumhouse Television, has also been tapped to pen the Untitled Daymond John Project.
“The Up North pilot episode is one of the strongest I’ve ever seen and the perfect scripted content to launch on our streaming platforms, including TheGrio and Local Now,” said Entertainment Studios Executive Producer Carolyn Folks. “After bringing Emil Pinnock and his team in to meet with us, I was immediately impressed with his unwavering commitment to authenticity – which makes Up North truly special.”
“I’m so glad to be leading the wave of independent television,” said Pinnock. “I admire Byron Allen’s bold approach to creating and owning content, as well as Carolyn Folks’ tireless devotion to moving Up North forward and now we get to do it together. It’s surreal.”