Submarine announced today from the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival that HBO Documentary Films is acquiring US rights to veteran Nick Broomfield’s highly acclaimed TALES OF THE GRIM SLEEPER. The deal was negotiated by Josh Braun and David Koh of Submarine on behalf of Sky Atlantic, who originally commissioned the film.
The probing and emotional film is the only documentary that was invited this year to the highly prestigious Telluride, Toronto and New York Film Festival (Main Slate) and has scored some of the best reviews of Broomfield’s esteemed career. This film marks Nick Broomfield’s fifth documentary for HBO (others include AILEEN: LIFE AND DEATH OF A SERIAL KILLER, KURT & COURTNEY, HEIDI FLEISS: HOLLYWOOD MADAM). TALES OF THE GRIM SLEEPER will debut on HBO in 2015.
The film was produced by Marc Hoeferlin in association with British Sky Broadcasting, who are handling international sales. Celia Taylor is the executive producer.
When Lonnie Franklin Jr. was arrested in South Central Los Angeles in 2010 as the suspected murderer of a string of young black women, police hailed it as the culmination of 20 years of investigations. Four years later, documentary filmmaker Nick Broomfield visited the alleged killer’s neighborhood to find out if the police had earned their self-given kudos. There, he finds a world of people who suspected for decades that there might be some connection between their odd neighbor and the dozens of women who had gone missing from the street. Franklin’s friends and neighbors offer chilling testimony, asking why it took so long for the authorities to pay attention. In a place where the residents have good reason not to trust the LAPD, few were willing to talk to them – but what would the police have done if they had? Aided by Pam, a charismatic former prostitute and crack addict who knows the streets and the people walking them, Broomfield reveals the journey of a serial killer, giving voice to his victims as he builds a powerful assemblage of testimony conveying a grave injustice that extends well beyond this case.
Celia Taylor, Sky’s Head of Non-scripted Commissioning said: “I’m delighted that Nick Broomfield’s compelling new film for Sky Atlantic has become the first film that HBO has purchased from us. I can’t wait for audiences on both sides of the Atlantic to see his latest work.”
Nick Broomfield said: “TALES OF THE GRIM SLEEPER is a very important film to me and everyone involved. It was important for it to find a good home, and I can’t think of a better one than HBO Documentary Films. I’m thrilled to continue my relationship with Sheila Nevins and Nancy Abraham and their team who are going to make sure this important and timely film gets seen by the most possible people.”
Nick Broomfield studied Law at Cardiff and Political Science at Essex University before going onto study film at the National Film School. While at University, he made his first film and was introduced to Joan Churchill by his influential Professor Colin Young. Together, Joan and Nick made several films – JUVENILE LIAISON, TATTOOED TEARS, SOLDIER GIRLS, LILY TOMLIN, and more recently, AILEEN: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF A SERIAL KILLER. They also have a son together. Nick was originally influenced by the observational style of Fred Wiseman, and Robert Leacock and Pennebaker, before moving on largely by accident to the more idiosyncratic style for which he is better known. While making DRIVING ME CRAZY in 1988 a film hopelessly out of control, Nick decided to place himself and the producer of the film in the story, as a way of making sense of the event. This experiment led to a sense of greater freedom, from the confines of observational cinema, and led to a more investigative and experimental type of filmmaking (i.e. THE LEADER, THE DRIVER AND THE DRIVER’S WIFE, AILEEN WUORNOS, KURT AND COURTNEY, and BIGGIE AND TUPAC). Nick Broomfield is the recipient of the following awards amongst others, Sundance first prize, British Academy Award, Prix Italia, Dupont Peabody Award, Grierson Award, Hague Peace Prize, Amnesty International Doen Award.