Fremantle acquires Belgian ‘Baghdad Messi’ label A Team Productions

Baghdad Messi

European production and distribution giant Fremantle has acquired a majority stake in A Team Productions, the Belgian firm behind Baghdad Messi.

Founded in 2009 and led by Kobe van Steenberghe and Hendrik Verth, A Team Productions found its first major international success in 2011 with the short film Land Of The Heroes which won the International Jury Prize at Berlinale that year.

The company is also behind the short film Baghdad Messi, which was shortlisted for an Academy Award in 2014, and has been turned into a feature film for release later this year.

Its other feature film titles include Yummy, Torpedo and Patser, as well as the recently launched Ketnet series Kids on the Block, upcoming scripted series Alter Ego and documentaries including Entre Sol Y Sombra, What About Eric? and The Circle.

Other productions also include Patsers which attracted more than 500,000 viewers and was sold to more than 37 countries, Torpedo and Yummy and the newly launched Ketnet series Kids on the Block. Later this year, the feature-length film Baghdad Messi and the high-end fiction series Alter Ego will also be released. 

The acquisition of A Team Productions forms part of Fremantle’s wider growth strategy to invest in production companies, content, and talent around the world, with the company also recently acquiring firms such as 72 Films (All or Nothing: Arsenal, 9/11: One Day in America), Wildstar Films (America the Beautiful, Epic Adventures with Bertie Gregory) and Silvio Productions (Shadow of Truth, The Baby Daddy).

News of the acquisition also comes in the same week that Fremantle announced the launch of Undeniable, a new London-based factual label focused on documentary features and series.

Kobe van Steenberghe and Hendrik Verthé commented: “After intense preliminary discussions we have a very good feeling about the experienced Fremantle team including Georgette Schlick, Claud Van Gessel, Manon Van Der Hoek, Dave Heuten and Annemieke van Vliet as driving forces of the European market.

“This combined with their strong position in the global industry, we and our entire team are looking forward extremely hard to working with Fremantle to further grow our business in both the local and international markets. We love it when a plan comes together.”

Dave Heuten, CEO of Fremantle Belgium, added: “I have long admired Kobe, Hendrik and the whole ATP team’s work. I am excited to be going on this journey with them, finding synergies and developing new content together – I can’t wait to work with this brilliant team and achieve great things together.”

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