The Africa Channel Studios has launched development on an untitled drama series exploring the true story of legendary African rock band Wells Fargo. David Straiton (House, M.D., Narcos) and Nora Lonergan (MacGyver) will produce, with writer and musician Daisy Martey penning the pilot. Narendra Reddy and Brendan Gabriel are set to executive produce for The Africa Channel Studios.
Wells Fargo is a rock group from mid-’70s Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) that was prominent in the “Zimrock” scene that popularized hippie-inspired counterculture in Africa. The series will follow drummer Ebba Chitambo and his bandmates’ rise to national fame as they find themselves on the pointy end of a revolution—impossible underdogs in the fight to liberate a segregated and white-controlled Rhodesia.
“After hearing Wells Fargo’s music and story, we were so inspired and intrigued that we dove into the band’s astonishing true story and tracked down the life rights,” said Straiton. “We approached The Africa Channel, who shared our vision and saw the opportunity to executive produce an untold and timely African story.”
“We were very inspired by the Wells Fargo story and although it is a period piece, it felt extremely relevant to the times and apropos to our mission of telling stories about Africa and the Diaspora,” added Reddy, who serves as The Africa Channel’s Executive Vice President and General Manager. “We are thrilled to be working with David, Nora and Daisy to bring this story to the world stage.”
Straiton is a director and producer who has helped bring to life more than 150 hours of primetime drama, by way of series including Emmy and Golden Globe winner House, M.D. and the Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated Narcos. He exec produced MacGyver for CBS and Hemlock Grove for Netflix and has directed pilots including that for SyFy’s Blood Drive, which he also exec produced.
Lonergan is an American producer of half-Dominican descent who most recently produced the grant-winning short film Angie, which found success on the festival circuit after premiering at the Atlanta Film Festival. She previously worked in television under the executive producer and co-executive producers of MacGyver, between the CBS reboot’s second and fifth seasons.
Martey is a British-Ghanaian writer and musician from South London who recently completed work on Netflix’s Vikings spin-off Valhalla, and has previously written for Britannia and Bulletproof. She is known on the music side as the lead singer for English electronic band Morcheeba, and was named one of the UK’s most significant British female singers from the African Diaspora in Sonya Boyce’s Devotional installation at the National Portrait Gallery.
Straiton is represented by Buchwald, Oscars Abrams Zimel & Associates (Toronto) and attorney Paul Miloknay; Martey by The Agency (UK).
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