Created by the Just-Announced Oscar-Nominated Screenwriters Charlie Wachtel and David Rabinowitz, “Madness” Delves into the Inner Workings of a College Basketball Program

LOS ANGELES, CA – February 6, 2019 – Gunpowder & Sky, the global content studio, announced today that they have partnered with Oscar-nominated Charlie Wachtel and David Rabinowitz (BlacKkKlansman, nominated for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay), to develop “Madness”, a new drama series about the world of college basketball.

‘Madness’ follows the corrupt inner workings of a prestigious college basketball program through the eyes of its new assistant coach. With a “House of Cards” feel, “Madness” reveals the repercussions the team must face after their head coach makes a bad deal.

“In BlacKkKlansman, Charlie and David were able to tap into the current national zeitgeist through the artful telling of an unknown story from American history,” said Cody Zwieg, SVP of Production and Development at Gunpowder & Sky. “They are treasure hunters of sorts, seeking out and spinning the undiscovered stories that resonate with the social climate of today. For Gunpowder & Sky this is a golden opportunity.”

With the celebrity that comes from being a college basketball player, it’s easy for the rest of the world to forget that they’re also just regular students trying to make it to graduation, navigate classes, maintain a decent grade point average and juggle a social life. “Madness” will not only shed light on the humanity of these elite college athletes, but also delve deeper into the dark underbelly of this clandestine organization.

“‘Madness’ is a sports story told through the lens of a crime drama,” said Wachtel. “Who are those powerful-looking college basketball coaches, with their suits, their slicked-back hair, and their seven figure salaries? What’s it like to be a college freshman suddenly thrust into the national spotlight? And what if the forces behind these multi-million dollar machines were not so different from those behind organized crime? In our world of college sports, there are rules to follow, a hierarchy of power, and real consequences for failure.”

Added Rabinowitz, “With ‘Madness’ we hope to shine a light on the dark underbelly of college athletics, from the morally-compromised coaches to the conflicted players. It’s a story of opportunity, choices, and greed. We’re thrilled to be working with Gunpowder & Sky, who has a record of working on projects that take chances and not compromising their vision. They knew immediately the kind of show we sought to create and have been incredibly supportive of our vision. It’s been a dream of ours to see this show take flight.”

This news follows a series of Gunpowder & Sky announcements including a partnership with Zelda Williams to adapt her short film, Shrimp into a series, along with acquiring the rights to the acclaimed youth novel, Ms. Bixby’s Last Day to adapt it into a feature film with Walden Media. Most recently, Gunpowder & Sky partnered with Tigerlily Productions to develop a new comedy series “Assets”.


Gunpowder & Sky is an award-winning independent global studio, dedicated to creating, marketing and distributing video content unrestricted by form, genre or platform. Gunpowder & Sky collaborates with both emerging and established talent to generate premium video content ranging from 90-second to 90-minute stories on all platforms. With in-house development, production, marketing and distribution capabilities, the company operates as a full 360-studio and oversees a library of more than 1500 titles.

In 2018, Gunpowder & Sky released 15 films including Brett Haley’s (I’ll See You In My Dreams, The Hero) critically acclaimed feature, Hearts Beat Loud, and Summer of 84 from award-winning directors RKSS – both premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Gunpowder & Sky also debuted Cam on Netflix, winner of Best First Feature and Best Screenplay at Fantasia Festival. The company also produced “Too Stupid To Die”, MTV’s next generation stunt series.

Gunpowder & Sky is also committed to building modern entertainment brands that super-serve global audiences in key genres. Each brand creates, distributes and markets compelling short films, series and feature films across theatrical, TVOD, traditional networks and new platforms such as Roku, YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, DirectTV and Samsung. DUST is the first premium sci-fi entertainment brand that reaches passionate fans across all platforms, giving voice to emerging, diverse and established filmmakers. In 2018, DUST theatrically released its first feature film, the sci-fi western Prospect (starring Pedro Pascal and Jay Duplass), winner of SXSW’s Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award, and also debuted “Glimpse”, an original series on Facebook Watch. Gunpowder & Sky’s newest brand, Alter focuses on horror films and series which explore the human condition through warped perspectives from the most innovative minds in the genre. Also, the company remains invested in CUT, a viral content pioneer and leader with multiple hit franchises and content brands.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, with offices in NY and London, Gunpowder & Sky was founded by Van Toffler and Floris Bauer, in partnership with The Chernin Group and AT&T.