Docs

Abacus secures sales for latest Herzog doc and new WWII history special

Abacus Media Rights has confirmed multiple international sales for two high-profile documentaries, Werner Herzog’s The Fire Within: A Requiem for Katia and Maurice Krafft and Adrian Munsey’s two-part Could Hitler ...
April 5, 2022

Abacus Media Rights has confirmed multiple international sales for two high-profile documentaries, Werner Herzog’s The Fire Within: A Requiem for Katia and Maurice Krafft and Adrian Munsey’s two-part Could Hitler Have Been Stopped? The Politics of Appeasement.

The latest feature from Herzog — who has gradually transitioned from legendary cult icon to something approaching a mainstream figure thanks to the success of the popular docs Grizzly Man, Encounters at the End of the World and Cave of Forgotten Dreams The Fire Within has been acquired by Arte for broadcast in France and Germany, and rights have also been sold for the UK (BBC Storyville), Denmark (DR), Sweden (SVT) and Norway (NRK).

Marking Herzog’s third film on the subject of volcanoes, following 1977′s La Soufrière and 2016′s Into the Inferno (pictured), the 86-minute doc tells the story of fanatically dedicated French volcanologists Katia and Maurice Krafft, who met their deaths on the slopes of the erupting Mt. Unzen in Japan in 1991. Featuring narration by Herzog, the film makes use of the extensive film footage that the Kraffts shot during their expeditions, which also served as the basis of another film about the couple: Sara Dosa’s Fire of Love, which won the documentary editing award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

The Fire Within is produced by Brian Leith Productions, Bonne Pioche and Titan Films. with Mandy Leith, Alexandre Soullier and Julien Dumont serving as producers. Jess Winteringham is archive producer, and the film is based on an idea from Leith’s Peter Lown.

“We feel honored to have the opportunity to distribute The Fire Within. It is an exceptional piece of storytelling by one of the world’s greatest filmmakers,” Abacus MD Jonathan Ford said in a news release announcing the sales. “As well as being a glorious feast for the eyes, it reveals the intensity and determination of a couple who died fearlessly pursuing their absolute passion of volcano exploration.”

Abacus’ other sale, Could Hitler Have Been Stopped?, has been acquired for the UK by Paramount Global-owned Channel 5 — which will air the first half of the 2 x 60-minute doc on free-to-air channel 5Select tonight (April 5) — and for Australia by SBS.

Produced by UK-based Odyssey Television and directed by Odyssey founder Adrian Munsey, the film employs archival footage and interviews with leading historians to explore whether more decisive action against Hitler during the lead-up to the invasion of Poland in September 1939 could have contained the Nazi threat and prevented the outbreak of what became a world-consuming war.

“This is a gripping two-part documentary special which we are extremely pleased to have the worldwide distribution rights for,” Ford said. “We’re very pleased to have already secured a sale to leading broadcasters Channel 5 and SBS, and can’t wait to introduce this story to our many clients around the world.”

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