Online and mobile platform Babelgum and UK production outfit Native Voice Films have struck a deal for online, mobile, broadcast and feature platform release of a new fly-on-the-wall documentary series set in India, The Bengali Detective.

Currently in production, customised “prequel” episodes to the series will premiere on Babelgum on July 12 and roll out on a weekly basis through the fall-festival season. These mini-documentary episodes will be used to virally promote the feature film festival appearances and theatrical release of The Bengali Detective in 2011.

Directed and produced by Phil Cox (We Are the Indians) and Giovanna Stopponi and co-produced with filmmaker Annie Sundberg from Break Thru Films (Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work; The Devil Came on Horseback), The Bengali Detective series is about private detectives trying to remedy clients’ frustrations with local authorities in Calcutta.

The multi-platform project is a co-production between Babelgum, the Channel 4 British Documentary Foundation, DR2 Denmark, Commonwealth Broadcasting Trust and Salty Sea Music; further production and broadcast deals are being confirmed.

The deal was negotiated by Karol Martesko-Fenster, SVP and General Manager of the Film Division, and Andreas Lemos, Director of Acquisitions, on behalf of Babelgum; and Phil Cox and Annie Sundberg on behalf of Native Voice Films.

“This deal is a crystallization of what we have been working towards at Babelgum’s Film Division, a true 360-degree production approach that doesn’t just pay lip service to the online dimension – but rather where online and mobile are the driving factors, working with, not against, traditional media, to virally create interest in the project before it is released on traditional platforms,” said Martesko-Fenster. “Bearing in mind the ever-fragmenting nature of the media landscape and the need to target audiences across all platforms, it is the kind of approach that filmmakers will increasingly be adopting. We are excited to be working with Native Voice Films on this fantastic project.”

Cox added, “At Native Voice Films, we’ve always strived to make films built on strong storytelling that challenge our audience’s view of the world, while at the same time revealing the essential humanity of our subjects. We’re especially excited to be working with our co-producing partners at Babelgum on the premiere of The Bengali Detective. Together we’ve crafted a fresh, compelling approach to distributing the film, first as an episodic prequel and then as a full-fledged theatrical feature, harnessing their platforms to reach the widest global audience possible. It truly will be a landmark event and hopefully a guidepost for other independent filmmakers.”

Starting today, Babelgum will unveil episode one of the “prequels” to the film-in-progress. This will be followed by weekly segments, highlighting the characters investigating cases in Calcutta.