As TVNewser first told you back in April, CNN is launching its own feature film banner, CNN Films. The company officially announced the banner today, along with its first film, and development deals with two directors.
The first non-fiction film CNN has acquired is Girl Rising, which tells the story of several girls across the globe. It will debut on CNN in early 2013. CNN has also signed development deals with directors Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room, Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer) and Andrew Rossi (Page One: Inside the New York Times). Senior VP of talent Amy Entelis and senior VP of development Vinnie Malhotra will oversee acquisitions.
The new banner was created after CNN reorganized its long-form documentary units in March. The new model focuses on acquiring documentaries produced from outside the company, with a few tentpole features developed in-house by well-known directors.
Two CNN staffers familiar with the reorganization tell TVNewser than one of the driving forces behind the reorg was Tom Yellin, the president of The Documentary Group, which produces non-fiction programming for theatrical release and television, and would benefit from another TV network to sell content to. Yellin is an executive producer on Girls Rising.
Update: CNN says that the network held meetings with Yellin specifically to acquire his documentary, and was not related to the decision to move toward acquired programming. The decision to launch CNN Films was obviously made well-before I reported the news back in April.
“CNN Films will bring distinguished, thought-provoking documentary programming to our global audiences on all our television, online and mobile platforms,” said CNN Worldwide managing editor Mark Whitaker. “We want these documentaries to tell compelling stories and stimulate important discussions across CNN’s other programs and websites.”
More information below.
CNN Announces Creation of CNN Films
First CNN Film, Richard Robbins’s “Girl Rising,” to air Spring 2013 on CNN, CNN International alongside Theatrical Release
Projects from Acclaimed Filmmakers Alex Gibney and Andrew Rossi
CNN, the worldwide leader in news, today announced the creation of CNN Films to secure feature-length documentaries for air on CNN and CNN International, alongside theatrical distribution. The move is part of a wider strategy to acquire original non-fiction content to complement CNN’s award-winning news programs; it was announced by CNN Worldwide Managing Editor Mark Whitaker.
“Girl Rising,” the first documentary acquired by CNN Films, will air in spring 2013. The film, which inspired a global action campaign to promote girls’ education called 10×10, tells the extraordinary stories of several girls from around the globe, fighting to overcome impossible odds to realize their dreams. The film includes voice performances by Academy Award Winner Meryl Streep, Academy Award Nominee Anne Hathaway,Kerry Washington, and Selena Gomez. “Girl Rising” is directed by Academy Award Nominee Richard E. Robbins (“Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience”) and executive produced by Tom Yellin and Holly Gordon of the Documentary Group and Paul G. Allen of Vulcan Productions.
CNN Films has also signed development deals with Academy Award Winning Director and Producer Alex Gibney (“Taxi to the Dark Side,” “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,” and “Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer”) and Director Andrew Rossi (“Page One: Inside the New York Times”). Both will develop original documentaries to air on CNN.
“CNN Films will bring distinguished, thought-provoking documentary programming to our global audiences on all our television, online and mobile platforms,” said Whitaker. “We want these documentaries to tell compelling stories and stimulate important discussions across CNN’s other programs and websites.”
The original feature-length documentaries will examine an array of political, social, and economic subject matters. The films will premiere in primetime and will re-air in order to increase exposure. Surrounding the premiere of each documentary, acclaimed CNN programs will run dedicated programming that sheds light on the topics and issues discussed in each film. In-depth interviews, expert commentary, roundtable discussions, debates, and behind-the-scenes footage will be featured across all of CNN’s broadcast and online platforms.
Amy Entelis, senior vice president of talent and content development for CNN Worldwide, and Vinnie Malhotra, senior vice president of development and acquisitions for CNN Worldwide, will oversee the acquisition strategy of documentaries under the CNN Films banner. Malhotra will manage the day-to-day operation of CNN Films, and work directly with filmmakers to develop original projects.
CNN Films also plans to bring the documentaries beyond the small screen by developing strategic partnerships to leverage distribution opportunities at film festivals and in theaters.
To learn more about “Girl Rising” and to view the trailer, please visit: http://10x10act.org/
For more information on CNN, please visit www.cnnpressroom.com.
CNN Worldwide, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company, is the most trusted source for news and information. Its reach extends to nine cable and satellite television networks; one private place-based network; two radio networks; wireless devices around the world; CNN Digital Network, the No. 1 network of news Web sites in the United States; CNN Newsource, the world’s most extensively-syndicated news service; and strategic international partnerships within both television and the digital media.