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Cineflix Rights offers thrilling content as it returns to MipTV

A new vampire dramedy and returnable unscripted series are among the titles selected by Cineflix Rights’ James Durie, head of scripted, and Richard Life, head of acquisitions, for the company’s playlist on C21’s Digital Screenings in the lead-up to MipTV.


Montreal-headquartered media and production company Cineflix Media, which is behind shows such as drama Tehran on Apple TV+, was set up in 1998 by co-CEOs Glen Salzman and Katherine Buck. Cineflix Rights, the company’s UK-based distribution arm, now boasts a catalogue of more than 5,500 hours of programming across a wide range of genres.


James Durie, Cineflix Rights’ head of scripted, says the company’s focus on contemporary thrillers and young-adult content is paying off, as the genres are increasingly popular among broadcasters and streamers alike.


Heading Cineflix Rights’ slate for MipTV is dramedy Reginald the Vampire, which is being launched at the market. The show features rising star Jacob Batalon, who had his breakout role as Ned Leeds in Marvel film Spider-Man: Homecoming and its sequels Far From Home and No Way Home.


James Durie, Cineflix Rights

“Jacob Batalon’s involvement as the lead fresh out of being in the third-highest-grossing movie of all time playing Spider-Man’s sidekick is super exciting,” Durie says.


In Reginald the Vampire, Batalon plays a new vampire who finds the world he lives in is populated by beautiful, fit and vain vampires. Along with his friend, an ex-Black Panther from the 1970s, he sets about changing the vampire world order.


Durie describes the series as a “dramedy wrapped up in a romcom wrapped up in a buddy series,” adding: “When we asked the producer how he sees it positioned, he said it goes from comedy to horror to drama to romance to sorrow and then back to comedy again all in one scene.”


Richard Life, Cineflix Rights

Produced by Great Pacific Media alongside Modern Story, December Films and Cineflix Studios, Reginald the Vampire was commissioned by NBCUniversal’s Syfy in the US last year. Hulu in the US has acquired second-window rights to the 10-parter, while Amazon Prime Video has licensed the series in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.


Leading Cineflix’s crime drama offering is Irvine Welsh’s Crime, which was adapted for TV by Trainspotting author Welsh from his book of the same name. “It has that very particular Irvine Welsh style,” says Durie of the show that was made by Buccaneer Media for BritBox and has just been renewed for a second season. “There are these huge, larger-than-life characters that are as appealing and interesting as the story itself.”


Set in Edinburgh and directed by James Strong (Liar, Broadchurch), Irvine Welsh’s Crime stars Dougray Scott (Mission: Impossible 2, Hitman, My Week with Marilyn) as a detective investigating the disappearance of a schoolgirl while battling his personal demons.


Also in the crime drama space is Whitstable Pearl, which is in production on season two and is produced by Buccaneer Media for Acorn TV, the AMC-backed SVoD service that showcases UK content in the US. Set in the English seaside town of Whitstable, the drama stars Kerry Godliman (After Life, Derek) as a woman who solves crimes while also running a local restaurant.


Irvine Welsh's Crime
Irvine Welsh’s Crime

Norway’s Øystein Karlsen created and directed the drama, which is based on the Whitstable Pearl Mysteries series of books by Julie Wassmer, and it’s this Scandinavian flavour that Durie believes gives the show an edge.


“It’s that fantastic thing: a UK crime procedural,” he adds. “Many people call it ‘cosy crime,’ but what Buccaneer has done here is subvert it by bringing in Øystein Karlsen to oversee the show. His background is not in UK crime procedurals, but in Norwegian dark comedy drama.”


Unsurprisingly, the series has been pre-sold to four Scandinavian broadcasters – SVT in Sweden, NRK in Norway, YLE in Finland and TV2 in Denmark.


Whitstable Pearl
Whitstable Pearl

Another scripted series represented by Cineflix is Israeli crime drama Manayek. “It’s just a really great example of what Israel does best: fantastic writing and incredible characters that keep us glued to the screen without the need of huge budgets and tricks to engage us,” says Durie of the series, which is produced by Yoav Gross Productions.


Commissioned by Kan 11 Network and also in production on a second season, Manayek tells the story of a veteran internal affairs investigator who discovers that his best friend, a highly respected police officer, is operating a vast criminal network within the force. It was created and written by Roy Iddan (Kfula) and directed by Alon Zingman (Shtisel).


Durie has also selected feature thriller Sugar, which is based on a true story, for C21’s Digital Screenings playlist. “It’s really one of those stories where true life is crazier than fiction because it’s the true story of two Canadian Instagrammers who got embroiled in one of the biggest drug busts in Australian history. And it all started with them accepting a free cruise in Montreal to go on a trip of a lifetime,” he adds. Sugar (1×90’) is produced by Cineflix-backed Connect3 Media and Sepia Films.



Lastly, Happily Married (aka C’est Comme Ça Que Je T’Aime) is a black comedy from French-Canada that has similarities to Fargo, according to Durie. “It’s really a standout show for us as it’s one we just really enjoy taking out into the market because it’s so unique,” he adds.


The series is set in the 1970s and revolves around two couples in crisis who turn to a life of crime in order to solve their marital woes, becoming the most infamous criminals in Quebec. Now in season two, Happily Married is made by Productions Casablanca for Radio-Canada Télé and Tou.Tv Extra and is written by François Létourneau, with Joanne Forgues and Catherine Faucher producing.


Cineflix Rights head of acquisitions Richard Life says the firm aims to have a slate stocked with returnable factual as well as scripted series, partly because of the changing digital landscape.


Happily Married
Happily Married

“The number of VoD players and free, ad-supported streaming TV channels is a reason why we need to have returnable series, because these types of platforms need volume and consistency when they launch,” he says. “They need the real estate and the hours to get their viewers to stick to watching their platform rather than go elsewhere.”


With this in mind, Life points to car restoration show Richard Hammond’s Workshop (16×60’), fronted by the Grand Tour presenter, as an example of a returnable series represented by Cineflix. Produced by Chimp Productions and Krempelwood, the docuseries has recently been commissioned for a second season by Discovery+.


“It’s a really immersive show that reaches far beyond the motoring fanbase because it shows the day-to-day lives of Richard and his family, with drama and high stakes. It lifts the lid on his life a little bit, but there’s still at the heart of it plenty of the car content and restoration that people love,” Life says.


Richard Hammond's Workshop
Richard Hammond’s Workshop

Joining that show in the lifestyle space is Dream Home Makeovers with Sophie Robinson. In the 6×60’ series, interior design guru Robinson, who Life describes as an “authentic, natural and genuine” presenter, pushes homeowners out of their comfort zones to make over their properties.


Life adds that Dream Home Makeovers with Sophie Robinson is full of takeaway tips and facts for viewers at home who may be tempted to overhaul their own interiors. The series is produced by PI Productions and Motion Content Group for Paramount-owned UK broadcaster Channel 5.


Next up is Property Brothers: Forever Home, in which siblings Drew and Jonathan Scott, a real estate expert and contractor respectively, help couples to transform their houses into forever homes. The 80×60’ series is produced for HGTV in the US and Canada by Scott Brothers Entertainment.


Dream Home Makeovers with Sophie Robinson
Dream Home Makeovers with Sophie Robinson

As for unscripted true crime series, Cineflix has selected Killer Cases and Descent of a Serial Killer for its playlist. Killer Cases (30×60’) is produced by Law&Crime Productions, the US prodco founded by ABC News’s chief legal analyst Dan Abrams, in association with True Crime Network, the show’s original commissioner.


Descent of a Serial Killer (10×60’) is produced by Peninsula Television. Hosted by former FBI agent and professor of criminology Bryanna Fox, the series investigates why serial killers become what they are and how investigators can often miss key indicators in tracking them down.


Rounding off Cineflix’s unscripted titles is Ambulance: Code Red (30×60’), which has been a “proven hit” for Channel 5, according to Life. Produced by Curve Media, the series follows specialised teams of British paramedics on their most extreme calls.


Property Brothers: Forever Home
Property Brothers: Forever Home

“It’s an adrenaline-fuelled, action-driven show, which is great for international buyers because it’s not a ‘talking head’ programme,” says Life. “It’s more show than tell, which means it’s also appealing to non-English-speaking audiences.”


As well as true crime and lifestyle, Life highlights “precinct-driven docusoaps in compelling locations with compelling characters,” along with travel content, as major unscripted trends in 2022.


The Cineflix Rights team will be at MipTV in Cannes in April showcasing all the titles on their C21 Digital Screenings playlist.

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