Please wait...
Please wait...
Please wait...


Cineflix Rights

Programming Profile

Cineflix Rights showcases 2021 slate at Cineflix Content Fest


Cineflix Rights head of acquisitions Richard Life, head of scripted James Durie and senior members of the global sales team reveal the UK-based distributor’s London Screenings playlist and discuss global trends impacting their 2021 slate.


As the focus of international buyers shifts to the UK for February and the first two weeks of March, London-based Cineflix Rights, the UK’s largest independent TV content distributor, has launched a new web platform. The Cineflix Content Fest has been created to showcase the distributor’s premium factual and scripted programming.


“Our engaging, interactive online experience will preview new factual and scripted content to global buyers in a creative way, allowing them to explore our new shows in their own time,” says Cineflix Rights head of acquisitions Richard Life. “We’re adapting to the new normal of bringing our slate to buyers via digital means.”


“We now have great experience in delivering digital screenings to the market, as we did at the start of the first lockdown with the e-premiere of The Minister [8×60’],” adds head of scripted James Durie. “Alongside our returning series, we will be introducing two new scripted shows at the London Screenings.”


Richard Life, Cineflix Rights

Buccaneer Media’s crime procedural Whitstable Pearl (6×60’) is created by iconic Norwegian filmmaker Øystein Karlsen (Exit, Dag, Lilyhammer), starring Kerry Godliman (Derek, After Life) as Pearl, a restaurant-owning private investigator uncovering dead bodies and long-buried secrets in the beautiful English coastal resort of Whitstable.


TF1’s Marcella remake Rebecca (8×60′), follows a tormented yet brilliant Parisian detective who is battling depression and a series of blackouts while piecing together a brutal murder investigation.


Chris Bluett, senior VP of sales for Asia Pacific and Benelux, says crime drama remains big business internationally. “In Australia, our crime and espionage shows such as Marcella [24×60’] and Mirage [6×60′] are doing well, alongside foreign-language series The Minister and An Ordinary Woman [17×60’],” he says.


James Durie, Cineflix Rights

The London Screenings is a chance for Cineflix to demonstrate an evolution into the international scripted space, building on the global success for titles such as Tehran (8×60′) with Apple TV+, and how its slate will develop over the next 18 months. “The market is evolving so rapidly that this combination between international and English-speaking series, covering established IP, premium talent and recognisable genres, is the correct formula for future growth,” says Durie.


For its C21 London Screenings playlist, Cineflix Rights is focusing on its unscripted slate. First up, I Got Lucky (14×30’) is a popular science series from Canada’s Cream Productions, offering a unique take on the survival genre. “It combines amazing user-generated and other clips of survival situations and deconstructs them using science,” says Life.


WWII by Drone (6×60′) is the next playlist title, a factual series that explores the historic period through a new lens. “We’re delighted to be working again with producers Like a Shot,” says Life. “World War Two is always in demand from buyers, but there’s fatigue with relying on talking heads and archive. This series has a really excellent present-tense, investigative narrative, with experts including battle archaeologists and historians working with scientists using new technology, such as aerial and underwater drones, to deconstruct some of the period’s key moments. This results in a really rich range of human stories with new revelations.”


The next three playlist titles – I Saw It: Bigfoot & Beyond (2×60’), Shark Terror: USS Indianapolis (2×60’) and Green River Killer: Hunting the Monster (4×60’) – come from Hoff Productions, a regular collaborator with Cineflix Rights.


I Got Lucky
I Got Lucky

“The shows are special because of their original take on a recognisable story, featuring new contributors and exploring fresh angles,” says Life. “The central element of I Saw It: Bigfoot & Beyond is the two guys behind the famous 1960s footage of Bigfoot. The series broadens out with similar ‘myths vs reality’ stories, such as the Loch Ness Monster – looking at why they’ve become so powerful in the public’s consciousness.”


Shark Terror: USS Indianapolis offers another interesting take on history, says Life. “It’s a survival story and a historical investigation, examining what happened to the ship and why it took so long for the survivors to be rescued. It uncovers new details about a top-secret mission that went horribly wrong. It’s also a study of extraordinary animal behaviour – the biggest mass shark attack in history.”


Life continues: “On the true crime front, Hoff’s previous series Ted Bundy: Serial Monster, has done very well for us. We’re really pleased to have a similar show, Green River Killer: Hunting the Monster, investigating Gary Ridgway, one of America’s most prolific serial killers. The FBI was starting to use profiling to catch criminals, which makes the series so interesting.”


Shark Terror: USS Indianapolis
Shark Terror: USS Indianapolis

For Lucinda Gergley-Garner, senior VP of sales for North America and German-speaking territories, true crime is a genre that still drives viewers, particularly in the US. “True crime continues to work well, with more and more networks adding it to their schedules. The more sophisticated, deep dives are especially in demand,” she says.


Bluett has also seen true crime maintain success in international markets, across traditional linear broadcasting and the more recent digital players. “Australian buyers are on the lookout for noisy content and big promotable shows. True crime is doing well in the territory,” he says. “Seven Network recently took rights for The Clown and the Candyman [4×60’] for its linear and AVoD services.”


Sandra Piha, senior VP of sales, pan-regional, UK, Eire and Scandinavia, reports similar appetite for true crime. “Premium true crime is always in demand. The Clown and the Candyman recently sold to Viaplay in Denmark and Norway and TV4 Sweden, and recently launched on Discovery+ in the US,” she says.


Inside the Forest: Seasons of Wonder
Inside the Forest: Seasons of Wonder

Inside the Forest: Seasons of Wonder (4×60’), produced by ITN Productions for the UK’s Channel 5, is next on the playlist. It’s a blue-chip, nature documentary, telling the story of Kielder Forest in the North of England over the course of a year. “What makes this series so special is how it films the changing face of a forest and its inhabitants, from the smallest insects to the biggest mammals, beautifully capturing how the flora and fauna changes over the seasons. It’s a wonderfully escapist series,” says Life.


Piha, meanwhile, highlights demand for UK series in the Nordics. “British factual and scripted content continues to sell well. Culturally, there is a relatability between both countries, so we’ve been successful in placing a lot of our UK content in the territories,” she says.


Gergley-Garner has also seen UK projects travelling well in the US. “Audiences now seem more open to British programming. The streamers have helped showcase a lot of foreign series, so there’s more acceptance of different accents,” she says.


The World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys
The World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys

The World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys (29×60’), from BriteSpark Films, takes the next playlist slot. “It’s much more than just a warm-bath travel show with beautiful landscapes and cool trains; it has tons of takeaway, history, science and engineering, natural history and more,” says Life.


Inside Taronga Zoo (26×60’), from McAvoy Media, is the final playlist title. “The series is an example of our ‘pre-sale to greenlight’ strategy,” says Life. “It came to us with only a third of the budget in place, and we were able to pull together the financing through deals with Channel 4 and National Geographic. The show’s success is down to an appealing cast of passionate keepers, along with the heart-warming stories of conservation and wonderful insights into animal behaviour,” Life adds.


As the pandemic continues to delay and cancel physical industry events, Cineflix has adapted to the current market with Cineflix Content Fest. “We were able to react quickly to the changing environment. Our acquisitions and sales teams have been working continuously, acquiring new content and negotiating deals with buyers,” says Life.



“We’ve accelerated our amended launch strategy, launching shows throughout the year to keep our catalogue fresh, and we’re seeing continued strong demand. We’ll continue to develop our digital strategy, but markets will remain a central part of our activities, particularly the bigger ones such as Mipcom, the LA Screenings and Natpe.”


New platform launches are helping Life feel buoyant about the year ahead. “We’re confident in both factual and scripted and are currently seeing increased demand from buyers at new outlets alongside existing customers,” he says. “The launch of new platforms including Discovery+ has focused attention from other factual buyers that are looking to consolidate lines of supply and, in some areas, increase them. Our scripted business has quickened considerably over the last two years and we want to continue this momentum.”


For Bluett, the global rise in streaming platforms has fed into this greater demand. “VoD platforms are on the rise in Asia as studios and major tech companies drive towards a direct-to-consumer model,” he says. “The proliferation and growth of local services throughout Asia means demand for content has never been higher for both SVoD and AVoD platforms, with the latter core to broadcasters’ overall offering.”


The Minister
The Minister

“Networks in Australia are combating global and local SVoD players, such as Netflix, Stan and Foxtel’s recently launched Binge, with a stronger focus now on securing rights for their AVoD services,” Bluett adds.


Durie says the growth in scripted demand has allowed the company to evolve beyond its boutique beginnings while retaining its core ideals. “Every decision we make to get on board a series is not done in a vacuum; it needs to fit our strategy of backing creatively strong pieces, while retaining a commercial appeal,” he says.


“We’re growing beyond our boutique reputation, with the size and number of projects – four or five new series in the next 12 months – which represents the confidence and scope of our sales and distribution capabilities in the ever-buoyant TV marketplace.”

More programming profiles

  • 03-10-2023

    James Durie, head of scripted at Cineflix Rights, and Sandra Piha, senior VP of sales for the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia, discuss the changing market and the distributor’s scripted and factual slates for Mipcom.


    What are your thoughts on the state of the market right now?
    DURIE: Clearly, events of the last six months, heightened by the US strikes, have put an element of uncertainty into the business, which we’re hoping we’ll see the end of quite soon. But there are always opportunities. I still think that for the right kinds of shows at the right price point in the market, there are still a lot of places to take them and find success.


    How have the strikes and the downturn in the economy impacted the factual market?
    PIHA: The strikes and the advertising recession have inevitably affected our business. There are fewer commissions, smaller budgets and more curated acquisitions from channels instead of the usual big volume deals. We’ve continued working with our producing partners to help get projects greenlit via different funding models. We’ve seen some strong development slates on which we can’t wait to work together with our partners – let’s hope things turn around soon. The good news is that broadcasters have remained committed to successful returning brands that perform well.

  • 10-10-2022

    James Durie and Richard Life of Cineflix Rights break down their scripted and unscripted distribution strategy ahead of Mipcom, as they showcase their new premium drama, YA and high-volume factual.


    UK-based distributor Cineflix Rights is arriving at Mipcom celebrating its 20th anniversary on the back of a strong year – in which it has expanded its investment in scripted and continued to extend the international footprint of its flagship unscripted brands.


    On the scripted side, the company is doubling down on drama with high-profile talent attached, including the Paramount+ Australia original Last King of The Cross (10×60’, Helium Pictures), a rags-to-riches gangster story following an immigrant with no education and no prospects who ascends to become one of Australia’s most infamous nightclub moguls.

  • 29-03-2022

    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.

  • 28-02-2022

    Tim Mutimer, Cineflix Media’s CEO of Rights, has new product to show buyers this week but is also emphasising the importance of returning titles, as he talks us through his slate for the London Screenings.


    Tim Mutimer, the UK-based CEO, Rights of international producer and distributor Cineflix Media, has a busy few days ahead of him but is relishing the return to face-to-face meetings and the normality of industry events.


    “We love meeting people in person, and doing it in London will be great,” he says. “We have plenty of meetings this week for the London Screenings, we’ll have people at Series Mania and we’ll be going full steam ahead to MipTV, so it feels like we’re getting back to some kind of normality, which is fantastic.”


    As far as the company’s new programme slate is concerned, Mutimer and the Cineflix Rights team will be giving buyers an early peek at a number of new titles this week. The firm is partnering with Aussie producer Mark Fennessy’s new prodco Helium on Last King of The Cross (10×60’), an Australian original from Paramount+ that Mutimer describes as “a truly authentic depiction of gangster life, set against the backdrop of one of the most iconic locations on the planet.”

  • 10-09-2021

    Chris Bonney, outgoing CEO at Cineflix Rights, discusses the key titles on the UK-based distributor’s new slate, its strong position in the market and opportunities for collaboration.


    For Cineflix Rights CEO Chris Bonney, the company’s new content reflects its unique place in the business. “We love our position as a creatively-led independent distributor, where we can go after the content that matches our own independence: distinctive, creative and commercially appealing.”


    Bonney joined Cineflix Media in 2012 to lead Cineflix Rights, the company’s sales and acquisitions arm. Under his watch, it has grown into the UK’s largest independent TV content distributor, selling a catalogue of over 5,000 hours of scripted and factual content to more than 500 broadcasters and streamers internationally.


    Cineflix is keen on noisy content, says Bonney. “We’re looking for projects that allow us to generate a larger share of the market, by tapping into the creative strength of the project. We’re medium-sized, proud of our independence and looking for programming that keeps us top of people’s minds.”

  • 13-04-2021

    UK distributor Cineflix Rights has a wide-ranging slate of content for Spring/Summer 2021. Head of scripted James Durie and head of acquisitions Richard Life talk us through the playlist and discuss how it reflects the needs of a buoyant market.


    As the world slowly begins to return to normal, the audience’s appetite for new content is not going away. One trend that James Durie, head of scripted at Cineflix Rights, sees continuing is the popularity of crime shows.


    “Crime is a huge part of any schedule – whether it’s linear broadcasters or SVOD platforms. The appetite for both sophisticated English-language and international crime shows and big North American procedurals is still massive,” he says.


    Cineflix Rights’ new scripted slate consists of five shows, four of which are crime series. Despite being aware of the genre’s popularity, Durie insists this is a coincidence. What his company has been looking for is variety within the crime genre, something that he says buyers are also after.


    “For scripted, variety can come from the source location and the territory the show is produced in. We are used to production territories defining sub-genres, like UK cozy crime and Scandi Noir, but you can now add many more to that list. People are consuming more and more content and it’s inevitable that buyers are looking wider to fulfill that brief,” says Durie.

  • 16-11-2020

    James Durie and Richard Life of Cineflix Rights showcase the UK-based distributor’s Content London playlist, discussing its recent scripted focus and opportunities for collaboration across a diverse slate.


    London-based Cineflix Rights, the UK’s largest independent TV content distributor, provides premium scripted and factual programming to more than 500 broadcasters and platforms globally.


    For head of acquisitions Richard Life, Cineflix’s recent move into the scripted space is part of its ongoing evolution. “Traditionally, we’ve mainly focused on unscripted, which the business was built on. But in recent years, through our own productions with Cineflix Studios, third-party acquisition activity, and our joint venture Buccaneer Media, scripted has now become very important. James Durie, who joined us to head up scripted, is a big part of that,” he says.


    “We obviously realised the benefits of being across both scripted and unscripted. And with a proven track record in factual, we wanted to rival that in drama. We’ve had some great successes over the last two to three years, and are really looking to build on that,” adds Durie, pointing to the company’s signature scripted project.

  • 17-06-2020

    As the largest independent distributor in the UK, Cineflix Rights blends global scale with a boutique mindset and has a slate of programming on C21’s Digital Screenings to match.


    Among international distributors, Cineflix Rights stands out as an independent company able to take advantage of parent Cineflix Media’s global scale while retaining an ability to be agile and nimble in negotiations with producers and buyers.


    It’s a position CEO Chris Bonney calls the “sweet spot,” with the business also standing on a creative front foot that has helped it build a geographically- and genre-diverse slate that boasts scripted series such as Iceland’s The Minister, Israel’s Tehran and Russia’s An Ordinary Woman alongside factual series that take viewers to all corners of the globe.