101 Studios has partnered with two-time Academy Award winner Grain Media and the 23-time Pulitzer Prize-winning Miami Herald on the feature documentary Surviving Surfside, which promises to tell the definitive story of the Surfside, Florida condo collapse and the crucial journalistic mission to search for the truth behind it, via unique access and never-seen-before perspectives.
It was in the early morning hours of June 24, 2021, that the Champlain Towers South building in Surfside, Florida suddenly collapsed, becoming one of the deadliest building failures in modern history. A fortunate few would be extricated alive, but 98 victims—including children as young as one—were pulled lifeless from the ruins.
The Herald’s coverage of the disaster—recently awarded the Pulitzer Prize in the Breaking News category—will serve as the basis for the doc, which will go to the visceral heart of the disaster—sitting alongside survivors, first-responders and desperate relatives; reliving journalists’ and engineers’ frantic quest for answers; revealing the turbulent history of Miami—the riots, the drugs, the bribes and the condo boom; and forensically examining all the prime suspects that may have contributed to the condo collapse. As the twists and turns of the investigation play out, one of the most striking tragedies uncovered is that this crisis might have been averted—and the reasons why it wasn’t exposes profound truths about how profit so easily trumps human life.
“As a newsroom, we poured our hearts into the breaking news and the ongoing daily coverage, and subsequent investigative coverage, of the Champlain Towers South condominium collapse story,” said Miami Herald Executive Editor Monica Richardson. “It was our story to tell because the people and the families in Surfside who were impacted by this unthinkable tragedy are a part of our community.”
“This story is obviously about an unthinkable tragedy, but it is also one that is a testament to the power of the human spirit and the importance of tenacious journalism fighting for the truth,” said 101 Studios COO David Hutkin. “We are so proud to be partnering with the Herald and Grain Media to bring this high-stakes mystery to audiences in a way that has never been seen before.”
“It’s always a huge responsibility to tell stories of painful human tragedies like Surfside,” added Grain Media’s co-founder Orlando von Einsiedel. “For us, the Herald’s unwavering search for answers and the survivors and relatives’ battle for justice makes this a powerful story of resilience and the real value we place on life.”
Founded in 2019, 101 Studios produces Emmy-nominated series including Yellowstone, Mayor of Kingstown, 1883 and the upcoming George & Tammy, Tulsa King, Lioness and Bass Reeves. It also oversees and manages Sports Illustrated Studios, a content platform spotlighting the most compelling stories, characters and moments in sports past, present and future. Upcoming projects include Paradise Found, based on the true story of high school football coach Rick Prinz; and a documentary about the sexual abuse and cover-up at Ohio State University, produced with George Clooney and Grant Heslov’s Smokehouse Pictures.
Grain Media is a London-based production company which has been recognized since its 2006 founding with two Academy Awards, an Emmy, a BAFTA, a Peabody and a duPont-Columbia Award for outstanding journalism, among other accolades. Its credits include the Academy Award and BAFTA-winning Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re A Girl) for A&E Networks; Academy Award winner The White Helmets for Netflix; the Emmy-winning and Academy Award and BAFTA-nominated Virunga for Netflix; the two-time Emmy-nominated Lost and Found for National Geographic; the BIFA-winning feature doc Evelyn for Netflix; Emmy-nominated India’s Forbidden Love for Al Jazeera English; BIFA-nominated Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth for the BBC; award-winning Sundance short Skateistan: To Live and Skate Kabul; award-winning feature doc Bruce Lee and the Lost Boys for Mubi; Grierson-nominated Tigers: Hunting the Traffickers for the BBC; hit true crime series Death in Bollywood for the BBC and true crime feature doc The Phantom for Netflix; IDA Award-shortlisted feature doc Convergence: Courage in a Crisis for Netflix; and the SIMA-winning docu short From Devil’s Breath produced by Leonardo DiCaprio for Time Studios and MSNBC.
The Miami Herald has been serving South Florida, the Florida Keys, the Caribbean and Latin America with award-winning local journalism since 1903. Today, the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald publish in print, online in English and Spanish, and via social media with multimedia storytelling that includes video, podcasts and live community events. While the Herald’s websites reach an average of 18.5 million unique visitors monthly and hundreds of thousands of visitors via social platforms, boasting journalism that has won hundreds of awards, the outlet is most proud of its efforts to make South Florida a better place to live by revealing corruption, holding the powerful accountable, giving voice to residents and revealing potential solutions to community problems.
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