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Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Showcase, also owned by Jackson's wife, Shauna, the company's executive vice president, is in its 16th year and has marketed more than 200 feature films internationally.
Shauna Jackson and Honolulu attorney Gina Watumull own Hawaii Film Partners and are executive producers on "29 Down."
Watumull's husband, Rann, a Bank of Hawaii vice president, helps Hawaii Film Partners but is not employed by the company, he said.
The Discovery Channel owns domestic distribution rights and revenues for "29 Down," while Hawaii Film Partners, its investors and Rogow have the international and ancillary rights, including merchandise and music. Showcase's role is to sell the series in the international market for a distribution fee and absorb overhead expenses, Jackson said. Hawaii Film Partners receives an undisclosed producer's fee in the deal.
"29 Down" follows the adventures of 10 young castaways -- including local singer/actor Tani Lynn -- who are stranded in Micronesia after their plane crashes en route to a once-in-a-lifetime eco-adventure.
With little hope of rescue, the teenagers have to learn how to navigate the challenges of castaways using their intelligence, wit and instincts.
Other cast members also include Hallee Hirsh ("ER"), Johnny Pacar ("Boston Public") and Corbin Bleu ("Catch That Kid").
For the "29 Down" deal negotiated last April but signed last month, Discovery Channel pays half the budget, with Hawaii Film Partners and Rogow providing the rest. Each episode costs nearly $400,000.
Though the story line seems similar to ABC's hit show "Lost," producer Rogow said he and co-creator/director McHale came up with the teenage castaway idea earlier.
"While they were shooting their pilot in Hawaii, we were already writing episodes," Rogow said.
Inspiration for the show was "a very, very, very light version of 'Lord of the Flies,'" said Rogow, who describes the series as "a little bit 'Real World,' a little bit 'Survivor' and a little bit 'Fear Factor.'"
The production is renting a renovated Waialua apartment building for production offices and cast accommodations. The majority of filming will be on the North Shore.