Extra: Abacus acquires Elon Musk doc; new hires for OTF, Quintus

Abacus snags worldwide rights to Channel 4 Elon Musk doc Abacus Media Rights has acquired global distribution rights for the Channel 4–commissioned one-hour doc Elon Musk: Superhero or Supervillain?, which is ...
May 13, 2022

Abacus snags worldwide rights to Channel 4 Elon Musk doc

Abacus Media Rights has acquired global distribution rights for the Channel 4–commissioned one-hour doc Elon Musk: Superhero or Supervillain?, which is set to premiere on Monday (May 16).

Using rare archival footage, the film digs into the South African–born Tesla and SpaceX owner (pictured), whose flamboyant PR stunts, eagerly promulgated visions of techno-futurist utopias and incessant Twitter trolling have made him one of the most omnipresent public figures in the contemporary world.

“We’re particularly pleased to have acquired this fascinating documentary which takes a long, hard look at Elon Musk, one of the most influential men on our planet,” said Abacus managing director Jonathan Ford. “His ability to dictate the future is staggering, as is his reach, which extends over a multitude of tech applications in every corner of the world. Love him or hate him, his actions affect every one of us every day.”

Elon Musk: Superhero or Supervillain? is produced for Channel 4 by BrightSpark Films. Richard Sanders is director and producer, while Tom Porter and Nick Godwin serve as executive producers.

New international sales hires for Off the Fence 

Amsterdam-headquartered factual prodco Off the Fence has beefed up its international sales team with three new hires.

Arriving at OTF from Sky Deutschland, where she most recently served as head of factual channels, Miriam Hossbach will take on the newly created role of director of coproduction and sales for German-speaking territories. In her new position, she will be tasked with building up OTF’s network of independent producer partners and driving sales in her appointed territories. A native German speaker, Hossbach is also fluent in English.

“Over the last few years, Germany has developed into one of our biggest and most vibrant markets. In Miriam, we’ve found the perfect person to unlock its full creative and commercial potential,” said Stefanie Fischer, OTF’s managing director of sales.

Emmanuel Grinda, meanwhile, has been named sales manager for French-speaking territories as well as the UK, Ireland, the Middle East and Africa, and will be responsible for content licensing and developing client relationships within his regions. Grinda arrives at OTF from Stockholm-based NENT Studios, where he handled sales of finished programs and formats to Asia, Turkey and Iberia. He is fluent in English and French, and is also proficient in Spanish.

Finally, Emilia Gil Villegas will assume the role of sales executive for Iberia, Latin America and Hispanic U.S. Her career background includes work in such fields as journalism, advertising, and communications, and she is fluent in Spanish, English and Italian, with an understanding of Dutch.

Quintus makes new hires as it expands digital distribution

Berlin-headquartered factual distributor and YouTube channel owner Quintus Studios has made two new hires to enhance its growth in FAST channels and alternative distribution platforms.

Olivia Cole, formerly video channel manager at Little Dot Studios Deutschland and development manager, archive & partner sales for Berlin-based, Russian state-owned video news agency Ruptly GmbH, has joined the Quintus team as senior media strategist.

Christian Gretzler, meanwhile, will assume the role of senior manager for YouTube & FAST channels, having previously handled content, editorial & technical partner management for OTT services at content discovery specialist Funke Digital.

“Olivia and Christian complement the existing team skills in very important growth areas of Quintus´ strategy — namely, FAST and alternative platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram,” said Gerrit Kemming, managing director at Quintus Studios.

Quintus recently surpassed 5.5 million subscribers for its assorted factual YouTube channels (which include Free Documentary, Free Documentary – Nature, FD Real, FD History, FD Paranormal and ENDEVR), and it also owns and operates the FAST channel Radical Docs. The company also recently launched a co-financing initiative that aims to streamline the development and fundraising of factual series for global channels, streamers and producers.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.