Spanish Couple Collaborate on Ultra HD Productions
Amit’s mother, Maria Teresa Medina
A media power couple has emerged from Spain and they are poised to bring major investment into Hollywood. Amit Medina and his mother, Maria Teresa Medina, have a prolonged history of successful production in Spain, and in particular their home city of Madrid. Now they’re poised on several levels to use Spanish and foreign investment on American TV shows. The first of these, ‘Emergency:LA’, starring Kurt Angle is in pre-production now and should be rolling cameras in January. Along with the shows’ creator, Len Davies, the couple are Executive Producers on the show and will share that role on other shows that are set to follow and even run concurrently with ‘Emergency:LA’.
Our reporter, Paul Taylor, met with them both on a recent visit.
PT: How did you start producing media, and in particular TV?
Amit: I followed my mother’s lead. She has always been a private person and was producing Theatre, events and TV several years ago while I was still young. In fact she became a silent partner with the wrestling company Real Quality Wrestling in 2009, which is where we met Len Davies for the first time. I loved what I saw her doing and decided it was going to be my path as well.
PT: Her career covered a good combination of live and theatre events as well as TV. What were your particular choices?
Amit: I love it all and currently have a theatre production in Madrid, The World Association of Wrestling that we tape at Epic Studios in Norwich every couple of months that’s being shown on Worldwide TV, “Emergency:LA’, a 14 episode fully scripted US Drama, and in Madrid I have a couple of sitcoms in development so I do cover a broad spectrum. My mother’s experience gave me a great insight as I watched her work from my earliest memories, and once I realised what it was she actually did I was fascinated. I was about 14 when I helped her for the first time and I was hooked.
PT: How did your connection with Hollywood come about?
Amit: As I mentioned earlier, we met Len Davies back in 2009 and kept in touch throughout his move to Los Angeles in 2011, and when he started creating drama, in particular ‘Emergency:LA’, I knew that our experience could help bring it to the screen. The great thing about our partnership with Len is that he’s a creative force and we’re a business unit that can open a wide variety of doors. It’s taken a while but we have investment from Spain in place to create the show and that’s only the beginning as a wide range of programming and projects has been brought to our attention, a lot created by Len but also from other writers, and our sources in Spain are hungry to be creating Hollywood product rather than licensing, which means they can also get a piece of the worldwide licensing pie. Once ‘Emergency:LA’ is doing business I know other companies will want to take part in this overall picture so, all being well, Hollywood will have a fresh influx of foreign investment.
PT: Tell us more about the World Association of Wrestling that you mentioned earlier.
Amit: WAW is the baby of British wrestling legend Ricky Knight, who’s been in the business around 30 years, that he started back in 1994 with his wife Saraya Knight. The Knights are famous as the number one wrestling family in the UK and every member of the family wrestles, their daughter becoming famous in WWE as Paige, their sons, known as the UK Hooligans, becoming probably the best tag team in Europe, and their grandsons carrying the torch as ‘The Battlekats’. Add to that the best training school in Europe producing champions across the globe and it was obvious that they were ready for the next step, which is where we came in. Epic studios in Norwich was the obvious choice for the tapings as it was the home base of the company and provided everything that was needed in one location. The TV taping weekends include two WAW shows and a ‘Bellatrix Female Warriors’ show, Saraya Knight’s organisation, and the edited programmes have so far been licensed to several TV stations worldwide starting with their hometown station of Mustard TV in Norwich. There are big plans for the company and it just gets bigger and better.
PT: How does a project become a reality in your working dynamic with your mother?
Amit: I have my pet projects and she has hers but we decided early on that anything we worked on we would share as I have developed some expertise in areas that were new to her, but her experience is unbeatable overall and together we have total control on just about everything that comes into our hands. As it stands now we have TV shows in pre-production, ALL of which are being filmed in 4k (Ultra HD) as that is the future, we have theatre productions underway in Spain and one being prepared for later this year in Las Vegas, and several large arena events in early planning stages, and we are both involved with it all at some stage of the process.
PT: Let’s expand on your 4K statement. Are you familiar with the technology as you head into a project?
Amit: Totally. The work I do keeps me in contact with all of the technological aspects of the media and it’s important to be future proof. Len has been filming in 4K since 2013 which gives us a healthy edge knowing that our finished programming will be ready for the first broadcasters when they are 4K capable. That’s a powerful position to be in as a lot of programmes are still being mastered in HD. We master everything in 4K and encode down to HD so that both markets are covered and the quality is sustained.
PT: Where do you see yourselves in the next 5 years?
Amit: The Hollywood connection is new but incredibly vital, and we will be developing it as large as we can. Our aim is to Executive produce as much original material as possible, whether TV or film, using our financial contacts to benefit all parties, but definitely growing our production teams in the US, who are some of the most talented people that America has to offer, and building a catalogue of programming to be proud of. In 5 years time we would like to be the people the networks contact when they seek new programming. Theatre will still have a major place in our hearts and there’s always the dream of a Broadway run, and of course WAW will be THE wrestling company Worldwide by then.
PT: You have a programme called ‘Tales from the film school’ in your upcoming projects that has an interesting premise, tell us about it.
Amit: We love being able to help creative people bring their dreams to life, and after speaking to a film student in Los Angeles once I realised how hard it is for them to get their final projects and personal short films completed. After discussion with Len we decided that we would select 52 short stories from young writers and directors still in film school, give them the budget to create them in 4K, which becomes simpler on a daily basis with companies like Black Magic making the technology affordable, and incorporate them into half hour episodes hosted by a name celebrity. This creates 26 half hour shows while giving 52 young directors the chance to gain recognition. They can also use their films for festival showings and other things to further their careers with clearances from us. In this way we are helping create the Tarantinos and Spielbergs of the future and it makes us all very excited.
PT: Thank you Amit and Maria Teresa Medina.