Alef UK Opens in London


Alef UK, a stand-alone subsidiary of the Paris-based production house Alef One, has opened in London, with writer and director Gilles Bannier (Blue Lights, Trigger Point) as creative director.

The new production outfit will build its own slate of programming for the global market, with a focus on contemporary drama. It has already optioned the rights to adapt the thriller Mind Reader into a six-episode returning series.

The Mind Reader book was written by Iain Levison. Jonathan Wakeham (To Catch a Killer, Midas Man) is attached to adapt the novel.

Bannier will lead Alef UK in his role as creative director. He most recently directed the first season of Blue Lights for BBC One. Before that, he directed the first season of Trigger Point and worked on the first and second seasons of Tin Star. He also served as lead director on Danny Brocklehurst’s In the Dark and two seasons of The Tunnel.

“Alef One has a terrific track record of timely, intelligent and provocative storytelling, and Gilles has directed some of the most acclaimed TV series in recent years,” Wakeham said. “So, I’m thrilled to be working with them at the launch of Alef UK, bringing Iain Levison’s taut, witty and alarmingly prescient thriller Mind Reader to television.”

Bannier commented, “We are extremely pleased to launch Alef UK with such an exciting title and to be working alongside Jonathan as he crafts this fascinating story into a screenplay. Our DNA is to create content with powerful narratives around strong, compelling characters. As an independent unit, we are free to choose projects which we are passionate about and believe in 100 percent. Nora and I will be working closely with like-minded U.K., European and U.S. partners to build truly collegial co-productions and explore our network of writers, directors and wider creative talent.”

“Our priority at Alef One is to tell universal stories that push the boundaries of society and shake off taboos,” said Nora Melhli (The Tunnel, Carlos Ghosn: The Last Flight), who co-founded and leads Alef One. “I particularly wanted someone at the helm of our U.K. operation who would share these values. It was also important to ensure that we had an experienced creative at the forefront of our business and, with Gilles, we have just that person—he has a great eye for a relatable story, is not afraid to break convention, as well as having vast experience and a wide range of industry connections across all disciplines to make the best and most accessible content possible.”