EXCLUSIVE: Anna D. Shapiro, Tony Award-winning director (August: Osage County), Oscar-nominated producer Leelai Demoz (On tip-toes), Tony-nominated actor/writer Ian Barford (Linda Vista) and entrepreneur Brad Keywell (Groupon, WNDR Museum) have partnered to create multimedia company Highwire Media, an artist-driven production company that develops and produces projects in film, theater and television.
Highwire Media’s debut slate includes projects with Emmy-winning actors and producers Brendan Hunt (Ted Lasso) and Jane Lynch (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), writer Matthew-Lee Erlbach (masters of sex), Tony Award-winning producer Greg Nobile (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder) and the companies Hyde Park Entertainment and West Madison Entertainment, as part of an initial plan to put into production 5 projects per year.
The founders of Highwire formalized an innovative development process, honed by years of working in the entertainment landscape.
In a joint statement, the founders explain, “Highwire Media is committed to an artist-centric model that disrupts the way creative energy is harnessed and delivered. We love artists. By reimagining the storytelling activity with artists at heart, we have crafted a unique setting that is optimal for creation. Highwire Media engages in every aspect of the creative process to cultivate the best medium for each story. In founding Highwire Media, we are bound by our belief in collaboration and our reverence for exceptional audience experiences.
The initial list of Highwire Media projects in development includes:
Kara an original comedy series written by Matthew-Lee Erlbach. Chris Rock is attached to play a role and Anna Shapiro will direct.
Animals is an original ensemble comedy series written by Ted Lasso co-creator Brendan Hunt and Ian Barford. Jane Lynch (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) stars and executive producers.
Matthew-Lee Erlbach Revelations is a dramatic play set in a luxury Big Sur getaway that explodes into a personal and political storm when two State Department employees accidentally reveal an untold sex scandal. Highwire Media will co-produce with Seaview (Slave Game, Sea Wall / One Life) for Broadway. Shapiro is committed to directing.
From Ian Barford is the sweeping limited series This land of blood. Born out of the volcanic culture of black radical abolitionists, an inexorable bond between Frederick Douglass and John Brown shapes an American Revolution.
The oath is a feature film depicting the extraordinary true story of Dr. Khassan Bayev during Russia’s brutal wars in Chechnya. Taken the Hippocratic oath, he has a duty to save the lives of his Chechen compatriots and Russian soldiers; kidnapped and branded a traitor by both sides, he soon discovers that the hardest life to save may be his own.
Bury the Lede is an original drama series written by Joy Gregory (Madam Secretary). Covering the extraordinary life and career of Connie Lawn, the White House’s longest serving press correspondent, the show explores the impact of trauma, historical and personal, on a generation of working women. Hyde Park Entertainment and West Madison Entertainment are producing with Highwire Media, with Shapiro attached to direct.
Highwire Media is represented by CAA and Franklin, Kurnit, Klein and Selz.