New Creative Director, BBC Commission for KEO Films


BAFTA- and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker James Bluemel has been appointed creative director at KEO Films.

Building on the company’s roster of documentaries, Bluemel will develop a select portfolio of ambitious projects. Bluemel joins KEO Films’ existing senior management team.

Will Anderson, creative director of KEO Films, said: “Andrew and I are delighted that James is making official what we have all felt for years–that he is an integral part of the KEO family. His creativity and skill attract some of the best talent in the business to come and work with us, and we’re looking forward to building on our slate of commissions with him.”

Passion Pictures is the parent company of KEO Films.

Bleumel added: “I have really enjoyed the creative partnership I have shared with Will and Andrew over the past decade and feel it has resulted in some pretty good films of which we are all very proud. To be able to officially join the KEO/Passion team at this time is incredibly exciting. I’m looking forward to making more films together, exploring new areas and approaches, and mentoring new talent.”

Nick Southgate, CEO of Passion Pictures, said: “James is a generational talent. That he has chosen to officially make KEO and Passion his home makes us really proud, and we are excited for the next chapter with him onboard.”

In commissions, BBC Factual has ordered Once Upon a Time in Space from KEO. Bleumel will direct the 4×60-minute series, which will tell the human story of space exploration using archives, present-day footage and firsthand testimony from around the world.

Clare Sillery, BBC head of commissioning, Documentaries, says: “In his Once Upon a Time series of documentaries, film-maker James Bluemel has been clear eyed and fearless in his choices. His distinctive approach has brought a new understanding to the most challenging and complex subjects. I’m delighted to support his creative ambition as he and the brilliant team at Keo turn their attention to space exploration. I’m excited to see what surprising new perspectives they will unlock and what the series might reveal about us and our modern world.”

About the commission, Bluemel commented: “It’s been great to work with the BBC on both Once Upon a Time in Iraq and Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland, and I’m really excited to be starting this new one. It will be interesting creatively to take the Once Upon a Time approach and focus it on a subject like space, to move the strand on in an unexpected and refreshing way.”