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C21 DIGITAL SCREENINGS

Cineflix Rights

Programming Profile

A quick flick through Cineflix’s top picks

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.”

 

Mutimer
Tim Mutimer, Cineflix Rights

Inspired by John Ibrahim’s bestselling autobiography, it tells the story of how he rose from a poverty-stricken immigrant to become Australia’s most infamous nightclub mogul in Sydney’s Kings Cross. The show is written and directed by Kieran Darcy-Smith (Wolf Creek).

 

Another upcoming title is Sugar, a feature thriller starring Katherine McNamara (Shadowhunters, Arrow). It follows two young influencers who find themselves on a glamorous once-in-a-lifetime trip through the Caribbean and South Pacific but end up embroiled in drug smuggling. The film is from Canadian prodcos Sepia Films and Cineflix-backed Connect3 Media.

 

Property Brothers: Forever Home
Property Brothers: Forever Home

Mutimer also hints at an exciting new fantasy comedy-drama about vampires that is aimed at the young-adult market, with a full launch coming at MipTV in April.

 

But if there’s one lesson to be learned from the past few years, it’s that the business these days is about not just launching new programming but also maintaining the quality and reliability of returning content.

 

Returning series deliver ready-made audiences and require less marketing to viewers faced with a multitude of choice, as they already know about the brand and characters involved. Returning series are the “unsung heroes of the schedule,” according to Mutimer, who adds: “We know how essential returning series are to creating audience and channel loyalty in a competitive landscape, whether linear, on-demand or both. High in volume and quality, these are shows you can bank on.”

 

Killer Cases
Killer Cases

A quick scan of Cineflix Rights’ slate for the London Screenings reveals several schedule stalwarts that have proven themselves over many years. Property Brothers: Forever Home, for instance, has now clocked up 80 hours plus 10 one-hour Family Flashback specials, all from Scott Brothers Entertainment for HGTV in the US, while Mayday: Air Disaster has a healthy 250 hours plus 60 one-hour Accident File compilations.

 

Cineflix Productions makes the latter show for National Geographic Channel (International) with Smithsonian Channel taking it for the US. Recent episodes explore the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the hijacked plane that hit the Pentagon on 9/11 and US Airways Flight 1549, which landed safely on the Hudson River after losing both engines.

 

Inside Taronga Zoo, meanwhile, is back for season three, once again produced by McAvoy Media for Nine Network (Australia) and National Geographic (US), while season two of Killer Cases is in the London Screenings mix, courtesy of Law&Crime Productions in association with True Crime Network.

 

Mayday: Air Disaster
Mayday: Air Disaster

“Cineflix Rights has years of experience working with producers to build successful, long-running brands such as Property Brothers and Mayday: Air Disaster alongside newer titles like Inside Taronga Zoo and Killer Cases. We continue to target shows that have the potential to evolve into enduring brands that viewers know and love,” says Mutimer.

 

Meanwhile, a series like Renegade Pictures and Motion Content Group’s My Big Family Farm on Channel 5 appeals to the whole family and works in primetime and daytime, says Mutimer. “With 29 episodes available now, it’s a proven ratings hit.”

 

Four seasons of My Big Family Farm, plus a 90-minute special, are also on offer from Cineflix Rights, chronicling the adventures of a couple as they raise nine children and a thousand sheep on one of Britain’s most spectacular farms.

 

Homicide: Hours to Kill
Homicide: Hours to Kill

Likewise, the “escapism and glorious landscapes” provided by The World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys resonate globally, and hit crime series Homicide: Hours to Kill “provides 78 episodes – and counting – of top-quality, glossy true crime stories.”

 

The World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys offers 39 hours plus three one-hour specials, taking viewers on unforgettable rides through some of the most spectacular landscapes on Earth, all narrated by award-winning British actor Bill Nighy. BriteSpark Films makes the show for Channel 5 (UK).

 

Offering a different factual journey, Homicide: Hours to Kill follows investigators as they try to piece together the final 24 hours of the victim’s life. The show is made by Cineflix Productions for A&E Networks (UK).

 

Richard Hammond’s Workshop
Richard Hammond’s Workshop

Other returning factual titles that Mutimer highlights include Ainsley’s Good Mood Food, which has clocked up 21 hours over two seasons on ITV (UK), produced by Rock Oyster Media, as well as a second season with 10 additional episodes of Richard Hammond’s Workshop, on Discovery+ (UK & Eire), produced by Chimp Productions and Krempelwood.

 

Cineflix Rights’ emphasis on returning brands isn’t limited to factual, by any means. The company’s recent success in investing in bold dramas from around the world means it has on its London Screenings slate new seasons of Tehran, Coroner, Whitstable Pearl, Happily Married, and Manayek, alongside recently launched scripted series Irvine Welsh’s Crime and French thriller Rebecca.

 

International Emmy Best Drama Award-winning Tehran (16×60’) is a Middle East spy drama from Donna & Shula Productions, Paper Plane Productions, Paper Entertainment and Cineflix Studios for Apple TV+ and Kan 11 (Israel), while Whitstable Pearl (12×45’) offers a different take on the crime genre, following a restauranteur in the beautiful English seaside town of Whitstable who is also an amateur sleuth. Cineflix-backed Buccaneer Media produces for Acorn TV.

 

Tehran
Tehran

With 20 episodes on offer, Happily Married is a Quebecoise drama from Productions Casablanca for public broadcaster Radio-Canada that charts the unlikely tale of Quebec’s most infamous criminal foursome. Manayek (20×45’) follows a veteran internal affairs investigator who stumbles upon a police corruption case, produced by Yoav Gross Productions for Kan 11 (Israel).

 

Furthermore, “our procedural crime drama Coroner is back, with season four just launching – the series airs in 150 territories across the world, from The CW in the US to Nine Network in Australia,” says Mutimer.

 

The Serinda Swan-starring episodic drama follows a recently widowed coroner who investigates suspicious, unnatural or sudden deaths in Toronto. The show is from Muse Entertainment, Back Alley Films and Cineflix Studios for The CW, CBC (Canada), NBCUniversal International and Sky Witness (UK).

 

Manayek
Manayek

So while the past two years might have seen an upheaval in the TV distribution business, with some disruption even extending into this year’s industry calendar, Mutimer says it’s pretty much business as usual for the UK’s largest independent TV content distributor.

 

“Despite the global challenges faced by our industry over the last couple of years, we’ve been continuing to do what we do best – source compelling projects from our talented producer partners that successfully meet the demand from the global marketplace,” he says.

 

“We look to acquire must-watch shows, with an understanding of what viewers are looking for, whether that’s escapist, feel-good and aspirational content or returning brands your audiences already love.”



More programming profiles

  • 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.
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  • 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.”
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  • 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.
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  • 01-03-2021

    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.”
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  • 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.
    READ MORE

  • 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.
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