London-based rights-ownership and distribution company TCB Media Rights has expanded its factual entertainment offering to now encompass high-end feature-length documentaries following a deal with UK prodco Top Hat Productions.
Under the partnership, TCB has acquired Top Hat’s 90-minute documentary The $50m Art Swindle for BBC’s long-running art strand ‘Arena.’ Directed by filmmaker Vanessa Engle, the doc offers first-person accounts of rogue New York art dealer Michel Cohen, who, in 2000, swindled more than US$50 million from the art establishment before going on the run. The film is slated to premiere on BBC2 this summer. It was commissioned by the BBC’s Mark Bell.
In addition, TCB has commissioned a premium three-part docuseries from UK indie Conscious Life, developed in conjunction with Academy Award-nominated Spring Films. Both titles will be launched at the 2019 MIPCOM market in Cannes this October.
The TCB Original premium docuseries, How I Created a Cult (3 x 60 minutes; pictured), follows the journey of Andrew Cohen from enigmatic spiritual leader to the head of global cult EnlightenNext. The series reveals how Cohen’s spiritual utopia descended into a nightmare of life threatening punishments, mock amputations, brainwashing, extortion and extreme psychological abuse.
The series draws on 60 hours of original interviews with students and victims and more than 200 hours of archive footage, as well as interviews with Cohen himself, to explore why absolute power tends to corrupt.
How I Created a Cult is executive produced by TCB’s Hannah Demidowicz and Conscious Life’s Alex Howard and Meagen Gibson.
“We certainly don’t want to forget our heartland of factual and fact entertainment, this is our lifeblood and it’s what the buyers know us for. However, with these two shows in particular it allows us to make a less clunky, more obvious move into the premium space,” said Jimmy Humphrey, head of acquisitions and co-productions at TCB Media Rights, in a statement. “These two projects reflect the polarization of the market that we now see across many platforms, that is, between big budget ‘noisy’ and lower budget higher volume. Both areas have to perform quickly however and TCB is set up to flex and exploit the unscripted market and these are two hugely stand out, well- crafted stories.”