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France’s Newen Studios acquires Rise Films in UK, pursues premium docs

France’s Newen Studios has taken a majority stake in London-based factual production house Rise Films, producer of Oscar winning doc Icarus as well as The Invisible War and The Interrupters.

Teddy Leifer

Newen, which is owned by French commercial broadcaster TF1, said the move was part of a strategy to pursue premium documentary, and furthers its plan for UK expansion.

Founded in 2006 by Teddy Leifer, Rise Films’ productions also include Knuckle, Dreamcatcher, We Are Together, Rough Aunties, The Human Factor, Mayor and The Art of Political Murder.

Its latest feature, All That Breathes, was acquired in a global deal by HBO and HBO Max. Other recent productions include George Carlin’s American Dream, a two-part documentary for HBO and HBO Max directed by Judd Apatow, and Once Upon a Time in Londongrad, a political thriller for Sky Documentaries and NBC Universal about 14 mysterious UK deaths with alleged links to Russia.

The company is now breaking into factual drama with its first project, Thank You & Goodbye, about the phone-hacking scandal that rocked Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, a collaboration with the creative team behind BBC and Netflix hit, The Salisbury Poisonings.

Rise Comedy, a joint venture with Rise Films, which is run by Plebs creator Sam Leifer, will continue to be operated independently. It is currently in production with a feature length finale of ITV2’s original comedy Plebs.

Philippe Levasseur, director of international, Newen Studios Group, said: “The partnership with these very talented individuals adds another solid brick to the foundations of our European Studio. The appetite for documentary is stronger than ever.”

The company joins a roster of premium documentary talent in the Newen stable alongside Oscar nominee and Emmy Winner Sigrid Djekjaer (Real Lava), Emmy and Peabody winner Tomas Ocana (Capa Spain), Natalie Humphreys (Storyboard), Aster Reinboud (Docs by Pupkin), the Paris-based Capa team and the feature docs producers of Flare Films (Germany).

In the UK, Newen has already previously invested in nine production entities: Ringside Studios, Fictionhouse, Slate Entertainment, Further South Productions, B-side, Joi Productions, Chalkboard, Clapperboard and Storyboard (Izen Group).

Rise Films CEO Teddy Leifer said: “Joining the Newen Studios Group was an easy decision for us and we’re excited to be working with their talented team as we build together. I’m so grateful to my wonderful colleagues at Rise for their hard work and creativity. It’s a privilege to work alongside them”.

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