Glasgow-based indie prodco Two Rivers Media has partnered with Nick Taussig and Paul Van Carter’s Salon Pictures to produce a feature-length documentary on the assassination of one of the world’s biggest drug barons: Pablo Escobar.
Directed by award-winning filmmaker David Whitney, Killing Escobar will provide intimate access to Peter McAleese, an ex-British Special Air Service operative hired by a rival Colombian cartel – the Cali Cartel – in 1989 to assassinate Escobar, founder of the Medellín Cartel.
Told in McAleese’s own words and featuring never-before-seen archival footage of his Colombian assignment, the project will share how the Scottish mercenary’s violent upbringing in Glasgow, his training in the SAS and experience as a mercenary in Africa led him to take on the risqué assassination contract.
The 90-minute Killing Escobar will also contain intimate interviews with other key participants in the story, including fellow mercenaries, and McAleese’s Cali Cartel liaison.
The film will receive its world premiere at the Glasgow Film Festival on March 7, followed by its UK television premiere on BBC Scotland later this year.
Commissioned by BBC Scotland’s Tony Nellany, Killing Escobar received major production investment from Abacus Media Rights and The National Lottery through Screen Scotland.
Executive producers on the film include Alan Clements and Mick McAvoy for Two Rivers, and Taussig for Salon Pictures. Lucy Austen is head of production.
Abacus Media Rights will handle international distribution for Killing Escobar.
“At Two Rivers Media, we pride ourselves on bringing remarkable stories, told by the people who were at the centre of the action, to the screen,” said Mick McAvoy, head of factual at Two Rivers Media, in a statement. “This film tells the unlikely tale of how a man from the East End of Glasgow was asked to bring together a team of ex-special forces operatives to travel to the very heart of the criminal empire of the world’s most dangerous man in order to assassinate him.”
“From the moment I first met Peter McAleese, I wanted to tell his story,” added Whitney. “I feel incredibly fortunate that he entrusted me to make the film. The wealth of personal video archive and level of access we were able to obtain is the stuff of dreams for any filmmaker.”