Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney (pictured) has joined the ambitious ‘Why Poverty?’ global coproduction initiative, signing up to make Upstairs Downstairs, a documentary looking at the uneven distribution of wealth in the U.S.
The news comes after realscreen earlier this year exclusively revealed the first six of the eight documentaries commissioned for the multi-million dollar series of films (read part one of our report here and part two here).
The final two commissions for the project have now been unveiled, rounding out a set of feature docs that will broadly examine the issues surrounding global poverty, to air worldwide in 2012 on nets including the BBC (UK), DRTV (Denmark), NHK (Japan), VPRO (Holland), NRK (Norway), SVT (Sweden), YLE (Finland) and MBC (the Middle East).
Upstairs Downstairs will see Gibney (Client 9, Catching Hell, The Last Gladiators) juxtaposing the lifestyles of millionaires and power-mongers with the lives of the janitors, maids and nannies.
Gibney was previously involved with the predecessor initiative to ‘Why Poverty?’ – 2007′s ‘Why Democracy?’ The film he made for that project, Taxi to the Dark Side, went on to win the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
Also commissioned for the initiative is a doc called The Next Harvest, from directors Hugo Berkeley (The Market Maker) and Osvalde Lewat (Black Business).
The film will look at the problems Africa faces in feeding itself over the coming decades, focusing on an ambitious plan to build a vast sugar cane farm on the edge of the Sahara desert.
Eli Cane is the producer and Normal Life Pictures is the prodco. Both films were ordered by Nick Fraser, editor of the BBC’s ‘Storyville’ strand; and Mette Hoffmann Meyer, DRTV’s commissioning editor for documentaries.