EXCLUSIVE: The tumultuous political climate in 2018 has opened the door for fly-on-the-wall documentaries about major political institutions such as the United Nations and the European Union. I hear that Vice-owned producer Pulse Films has secured access to the global political organization, while UK broadcaster Channel 4 has announced a behind-the-scenes series within the EU.
I understand that Pulse Films secured access to the UN last week and the company, which has produced television series including History’s The New Age of Terror and BBC race doc Black Is The New Black as well as feature docs such as Sundance entry Trophy, is set to take the project out to U.S and UK broadcasters and streaming services in the New Year. The United Nations is currently in the middle of its first visit to North Korea in six years, while President Donald Trump recently pulled out of the UN’s plans to create a more humane global strategy on migration. Elsewhere, UN Secretary General António Guterres recently proposed a sweeping restructure to Member States in the General Assembly’s main administrative and budgetary body, including the launch of an annual budget cycle.
It’s a major coup for Thomas Benski’s firm, which is best known for music films such as Nick Cave’s 20,000 Days On Earth and LCD Soundsystem’s Shut Up And Play The Hits and its branded content work. Last month, it secured its first high-profile drama, tying with Jane Featherstone’s Sister Pictures for HBO and Sky Atlantic thriller Gangs of London.
The New York and London-based company has been bolstering its non-scripted business over the last couple of years. Former Channel 4 commissioner Emma Cooper recently landed an eight-part true-crime series investigating the disappearance of British child Madeleine McCann for Netflix. The doc is is being made in association with Viacom-owned Hollywood studio Paramount Television and will shine a light on the three-year-old’s disappearance in 2007 with interviews with key figures and investigators. It has also been attempting to remake A+E Networks U.S prison format 60 Days In in the UK and struck a first-look deal with A+E Networks to distribute its series.
Elsewhere, October Films is to shine a light on the curious world of the Brussels bubble, following a group of British MEPs as they ride the Brexit roller coaster. The production company, which makes Nat Geo’s Mygrations and Investigation Discovery’s long-running crime franchise Obsession, is making three-part series Inside The EU (w/t).
The show will feature Labour MEP Seb Dance, one of the UK’s youngest European politicians, who is trying to stop the “the catastrophe of Brexit” along with UKIP’s Brexit Spokesman, Gerard Batten, who is infuriated “quisling remoaners denying Great Britain a glorious and prosperous future”.
The series is directed by The Secret World of Lego director Christian Tumble and was commissioned by C4’s Head of Documentaries Nick Mirsky.