Why non-fiction is “years away from its peak” – deadline

Towards the end of a memorable month for Rise Films, a London-based production company. Last week, HBO Max launched a two-part documentary about the company George Carlin’s American DreamWhich details the comedian’s life and five decades of career with Jude Apato in the director’s seat.

Oscar and Emmy-winning companies have also seen the documentary, All that breadsFrom Shaunak Sen, HBO sold out to the documentary film earlier this week before showing in the Cannes Special Screening section last night. Last week, Deadline revealed that the company will produce the Landmark Sky documentary Once upon a time in Londongrad With Hulu We work Helmer Jade Rothstein. The NBCUniversal project traces 14 mysterious deaths in the UK over the past two decades with alleged links to Russia.

It was the culmination of the company’s 15-year hiatus to establish itself as one of the UK’s leading indie documentary players, and for Teddy Lifer, co-founder of the costume in 2007, it was a journey he would not change.

“When we first started Rise Films, no one was paying attention to the documentaries,” he told Deadline. “Feature documentary producers were mainly seen as hobbies. We weren’t really in the movie world, we weren’t in the television world, and we both had some scratches on the corners. “

The company opens its doors with moving and inspiring stories We are together, Which is produced by Lifer, who is the general manager of Rise Films, under the direction of Paul Taylor. The title has won more than 20 major international film awards, including about 12-year-old Slindil and her friends at the Agape Orphanage in South Africa, Tribeca, Edinburgh and the IFDA.

Since then, the company’s productions have included Emmy-winning Invisible War And ObstructiveOscar-winning Russian doping dock Icarus, Fake And Dreamcatcher. It has worked with broadcasters and streamers from Netflix to Hulu to NBCUniversal to ITV to Film 4.

Rise Films

For Lifer, the decision to move to the documentary sphere in the early days was “not a business decision, it was an emotional decision”, noting that until recent streaming boom documentaries became more widely available to worldwide viewers, documentary makers were seen as “bad business people”.

“But anyway it’s a good time for us now because it means we’ve learned our skills and we’ve had a great experience working with some great managers on a nursery slope that was probably not as stressful as it is now,” he said.

In fact, the company has worked with veteran British documentary filmmaker Kim Longinotto on a variety of top talents, including a reunion business as well as a reunion with Taylor for a political thriller. The art of political assassination, Set in the dark world of post-war Guatemala. George Clooney and Grant Heslov were the executive producers of that project.

Leifer’s company is powered by a strong internal team of developers and producers working across non-fiction, fiction and comedy. When it comes to choosing projects, he says the company is “agnostic” in terms of themes.

“We’ve made a number of films with socially positive effects but we don’t want to make films to change the world – we want to develop something that we’re really interested in with great filmmakers – fiction filmmakers,” he said. Extensive in taste but what connects them is the story that fascinates us and is driven by all the directors and the production team who are first class but have different levels of experience. “

He hints at his recent experience with Sen in the Cannes title All that breads, As a key example of the director and the type of project that compels them to sit down and take notice. The project, which won the World Cinema Grand Jury Award: a documentary on Sundance earlier this year in Delhi, follows the lives of two Indian siblings who work to rescue and treat injured birds from their abandoned basement.

“Shaunak had a very clear vision for how he wanted to make his film and he never gave up on it,” Leffer said. “He was the most incredible collaborator and what you expect for a director is someone who has vision and makes it work and from the beginning he had that right and was incredibly compelling in the conversation. He must be one of the brightest people I’ve ever met. “

Rise Films

This is Sen’s second feature and while Rise Films is keen to work with talented bourgeois directors who could star in the international festival circuit, the company also has the muscle and experience to work with more experienced directors like Apto.

Leifer has long been a fan of comedian Carlin, whom he considers “the Beatles of comedy – the better he gets.” A few years ago, he came up with the idea of ​​making a documentary with Carlyn’s daughter Kelly and her former manager Jerry Hamza. Of course, in the case of George, they were frequently contacted by various companies to do something similar. Eventually, Kelly lets Carlin and Hamza Lifer and his team move on.

“Maybe it was the British attraction or they believed me because I kept calling them for so long distances that they knew I was serious,” Leifer said. “But they knew right away that we didn’t want to do anything conventional, and they knew that if they were going to work with Rise, it would be something where we would have editorial control.”

It was time to act The art of political assassination When the network with HBO, who had previously worked at Carlin Dock before the operatives, realized this fact, suggested going to Apato for instructions. “It simply came to our notice then. It was a good match. We have started production as soon as possible. ”

HBO Films

Once upon a time in Leningrad The latest project of Rise Films is being shot. It co-produces Universal International Studios, BuzzFeed Studios and Concordia Studios. The project examines Vladimir Putin’s two decades in power and how it has made the United Kingdom heavily dependent on Russian money, depriving the Kremlin of the opportunity to hold on.

“It’s incredibly timely,” Leifer said. “We are very aware of the current situation and it really ends up being an original story.”

He noted that this increased appetite in the documentary field is fueling ambition. Budgets are growing in the nonfiction space – “and they should because the audience is there” – and he says there are many more interesting ways to finance the film.

“It used to be that if you took a documentary film to Sundance and if you didn’t buy it on HBO, Netflix or Showtime, you probably wouldn’t be able to recover. We have some amazing world buyers out there and more interesting ways to sell your movies.” He said. “It’s not like you’re going to sell a movie to the world’s smallest television licenses unless you sell a big, global US. There are many more meaningful buyers out there right now. ”

Although Rise Films has had success in the documentary sector over the past decade, the company does not operate exclusively in that direction. The costume is currently doing a feature-length special shoot of the ITV2 comedy hit Plebs, Which marks the end of a five-season run of the series. The show, which first aired on ITV2 in 2013, follows Marcus (Tom Rosenthal), his slave Grumio (Ryan Sampson) and, more recently, Jason (Jonathan Pointing) as they take on the life of ancient Rome.

Teddy Lifer’s brother, Sam Lifer, heads the company’s comedy division, which has many development projects.

In terms of drama, Leifer said it was a “natural breakthrough” for the company to move to the real drama space and dub its first major television drama series. Thank you and goodbyeAbout the phone-hacking scandal that rocked Rupert Murdoch’s early media empire.

“We don’t really want to say we have to make a feature or a drama, but we look at things and ask ourselves, ‘What’s the best version of this story?'” Leffer said. “And with this story we thought, not the top-down version of it, we wanted to tell the story to hackers on the ground, and it naturally felt like drama.”

They are collaborating with Saul Dibb’s Helmer Salisbury poisoning, A hit drama for BBC One. “He’s the kind of person I’ve been wanting to work with for years – it’s a great collaboration.”

For Lifer, he believes that the path to documentaries and their global appeal is barely beginning.

“People are talking about this ‘golden age’ of the documentary that we’re in right now but I don’t think we’re anywhere near that,” he said. “I think nonfiction is a few years away from its peak because I don’t think we’ve seen the best work from the best directors and producers yet. The stage is set, but I really believe the best is yet to come. “

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