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Home > Screenings > US Series Copro 2020 > Dead Man Talking

Pitchees: Jivi Singh (Writer), David Evans (Director), Nick Pitt (Producer)

Dead Man Talking
Former death row prisoners worked with writer Jivi Singh to create an amazing reservoir of stories and characters – experiences of unimaginable pain and suffering spiced with the sort of warmth, humour and surreal detail that only comes from really having been there. These are the factual foundations of the series.

Dead Man Talking is a returnable, episodic, 30-minute dark comedy. Think OZ meets The Wonder Years.

Meet Jimmy Harris, aged in his 40s, strapped to a gurney as he is wheeled into the execution chamber for the kill shot.

So begins Jimmy’s final act of reflection, as he bequeaths to the audience all the collected wit and wisdom of his death row decades. He is the Dead Man Talking.

Jimmy was 21 when he was sentenced to death in 1981 for a crime he did not commit. He was transported to Huntingdon Penitentiary – “the place they send you to break you” – the day after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as US president. Reagan’s tenure saw the wide readoption of the death penalty and the incarceration of young men in huge numbers across the United States.

Many of Jimmy's stories concern his own experience, some do not – but the narrative is from his perspective, voiced by him, curated by him.

Each episode is a tile in an expanding mosaic, a crisp standalone story with the weight and simplicity of a fable. At the same time, strong serial elements and returning characters give us a deeper understanding of his life, of his world.

Dead Man Talking looks to surprise rather than shock. It is a death row show and pulls no punches, but it's not about how bad life is so much as how mad life is – it is to prisons what One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is to mental institutions.

Project information:
Genre: Dramedy
Format: Returnable, 12x30’
Writer: Jivi Singh
Director: David Evans
Producer: Nick Pitt
Development stage: Two scripts and a series bible which contains narrative outlines for the other 10 episodes
Shooting location: Mainly in the UK. Any material situated outside the prison may be shot in the US, Canada or South Africa
Language: English
Total budget: £21m season one
Budget per episode: £1.75m

What you are looking for from the US and/or international business:
Broadcast partnerships in the US, which is the home of the story.

Company profile:
iFF Content is the production arm of iFF Studios Ltd. It was co-founded in 2018 by Jivi Singh, David Evans and Nick Pitt with the aim of making socially conscious content for a global audience.

Focusing on untold narratives and stories of injustice and marginalisation, it aims to engage an audience through strong emotions to shine a light on big issues. We tell stories often rooted in fact that allow the audience to discover their own outrage.

As a director of television dramas, features films and documentary features, David Evans is a Royal Television Society (RTS) Award winner and an Emmy and Bafta nominee.

Nick Pitt was the 2018 Producers Guild of America’s Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television for Black Mirror. He is also an RTS and Black Reel Award winner.

Jivi Singh is a writer. He’s also a working-class man of Indian heritage from Birmingham and as such hasn’t yet been given the platform to win awards – but, like so many things, we’re hoping that will change.

IFF Content is the creative triangulation of these three very different energies.

Nick Pitt
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +44 7976295251