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Cineflix Rights

Programming Profile

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.

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.

  • 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.

  • 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.”

  • 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.