SA TV series “Professionals” sells to USA

Acclaimed local film and television director Thabang Moleya (Happiness is a Four Letter Word), actor Stevel Marc (The Mauritanian) and a host of South African actors are set to become household names in American primetime TV as PROFESSIONALS, an official South African/ Irish Co-production, created by Michael Colleary (Face-Off, Tomb-Raider) and Jeff Most (The Crow) and led by Tom Welling (Smallville) and Brendan Fraser (The Mummy), has recently been acquired by The CW (a Warner Brothers/CBS Viacom television network),which first launched Smallville and has other hit shows like The Flash, Dynasty and The Outpost. This comes after acquisitions by Disney Asia Pacific, as well as presales to Germany’s RTL2 and TNT, Scandinavia’s leading Streamer, Viaplay and to eTV in South Africa. 

Professionals is a ten-part, one-hour blue skies action series, which boasts an impressively diverse presence both on camera and behind the scenes, with Spier Films as the South African partner company. Michael Auret is the South African executive producer while Dr Lwazi Manzi, (currently AU Secretariat on Africa’s COVID-19 Response) co-produced the show and will be the first African woman to have produced a prime time US Network TV show.

Moleya joined the directors team and took on three episodes of the 10 part series while acclaimed South African director, Oliver Schmidtz (Mapantsula) also directed and Rohan Dickson (Reyka) wrote 4 episodes. The film not only achieved a healthy diversity balance of cast and crew but achieved a 35% spend on black owned businesses- far exceeding the 20% required by the DTI Incentive Scheme. 80% of principal photography occurred on South African soil in 2019, using the country’s breathtaking locations to depict scenes around the world.

Says Michael Auret of Spier Films, “We have made history by co-producing, co-financing and co-creating a major television series for primetime networks in territories around the world. This would not have been possible without the commitment of the Industrial Development Corporation and all of the partners who have ensured that Professionals ends up on the silver screen, showcasing South African talent both in front of and behind the cameras. We are especially grateful to the dealmakers at the IDC, who are fellow executive producers, and who supported us throughout. As a company we have always set out to make content here at home for the international stage, so we are very proud of the acquisitions and how they will position the country as a premier production destination.”

Says Dr Manzi,  “We have made history with this production. I am particularly proud that the series is partly owned by us. We set out to not only produce content but also own the intellectual property as South Africans. I was most gratified to have led a mostly female South African production team and to see our stars shine on the international stage. A special thanks and congratulations goes out to the cast and crew who made magic happen.”

Professionals stars Tom Welling as Vincent Corbo, a top-tier security operative who is paid to protect the interests of rich and powerful clients by any means necessary – legal or not. After a next-gen medical satellite explodes on launch, Corbo is hired by the rocket’s designer – billionaire futurist Peter Swann (Brendan Fraser) – who suspects sabotage.  Complicating Corbo’s new gig:  he was once involved with Swann’s fiancée, medical visionary Dr. Grace Davila (Elena Anaya), who is racing to stave off a global catastrophe. As Corbo and his team of veteran security professionals investigate the rocket disaster, they expose a lethal conspiracy of Swann’s corporate rivals, corrupt government officials, and a shadowy crime syndicate – all working to destroy Swann and take control of his tech empire.

Professionals is a production of Most Media, Subotica, Spier Films and Roadside Attractions in association with Jeff Most Productions, LEONINE Studios, NENT Group and The Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa. Most and Colleary both serve as Co-Showrunners and Executive Producers. They are joined by fellow Executive Producers Tristan Orpen Lynch, Michael Auret, Howard Cohen, Eric d’Arbeloff, Jennifer Berman, Maijang Mpherwane, Dipak Chiba, William Smith, Herbert Kloiber, Thomas Augsberger, Cosima von Spreti, Fredrik Ljungberg, Maxim Korostyshevsky, Daniel Wagner, Bharat Nalluri, Brendan Fraser, Tom Welling, and Elena Anaya. The producers are Katy Most, Lwazi Manzi and Aoife O’Sullivan. Hollard Film Guarantors, represented by Paul Raleigh, provided a Completion Guarantee.

About Spier Films

Spier Films, is a leading South African producer and financier of quality films and TV programmes with over 25 productions completed, stretching from the Golden Bear winning U-Carmen eKhayelitsha in 2005, Of Good Report (SAFTA 2014),  The Harvesters (Cannes 2018) and Escape from Pretoria starring Daniel Radcliffe, currently on Amazon. Its films have starred a who’s who of local and international talent and told the stories of iconic South Afrcans like Ingrid Jonker Black Butterflies and the Rivonia trialists in An Act of Defiance: Die Bram Fischer Storie. This is their first TV series.

Spier Films will make further announcements when Professionals can be seen in South Africa

This series was a collaboration of many IPO members – Dr Lwazi Manzi was on the IPO EXCO as chair, while Mike Auret and Quinton Fredericks are members of our current EXCO. We also remember Kim Williams who was a Board member of the South African Film Academy and a dedicated film and tV executive who worked on many productions for different producers but was a fundamental part of the Spier Films team as co-producer. We mourn his untimely passing earlier this year.