The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) is backing the venture and announced the launch on Monday [26] as the latest plank in its $60m film and TV production initiative.

Michael Rosenfeld is named head of television and film and will produce content that tells powerful science-related stories for broadcast, theatrical, and digital media.

Footage from every Tangled Bank Studios film or series will also be used to create short films for students as part of HHMI’s educational media programme. HHMI claims to be the largest private supporter of science education in the US.

The inaugural slate of Tangled Bank Studios productions includes two three-part series being made in close collaboration with PBS, which Amsterdam-based Off the Fence handling pre-sales. Rosenfeld will serve as executive producer on both and producer David Elisco serves as director of development.

Adventure Your Inner Fish based on the bestselling book by paleontologist and anatomist Neil Shubin and is being made with UK production company Windfall Films.

The Quest To Map The World tells the epic story of the scientists and explorers who risked their lives to map the planet and is being produced in conjunction with National Geographic Television.

“The scientific mysteries explored in these initial Tangled Bank productions possess drama that is sure to be universally appealing,” said Rosenfeld. “Our goal at Tangled Bank Studios is to capture the adventure and excitement of science and share that with mass audiences via great entertainment anchored by great science.”

The film initiative falls under the purview of evolutionary biologist and science communicator Sean B Carroll, who serve as vp for science education at HHMI. “Film remains the most powerful mass medium for communicating ideas and stories, and science is one of the most important but least understood domains in our culture,” said Carroll.

Off The Fence CEO Ellen Windemuth added: “OTF prides itself on being one of the leading distributors having signed deals with the best broadcasters and production companies worldwide. We are very happy to be representing such high quality innovative programming. We are excited to have the opportunity to work with Tangled Bank Studios from the very beginning of the company’s journey.”