Tondowski Films & DARE Pictures Team with Fremantle for Crypto Queen


Tondowski Films and DARE Pictures have partnered with Fremantle and broadcasters Sky Germany and Channel 4 for the new true-crime docuseries Crypto Queen (w.t.).

Currently in production, the series explores the story of self-styled lawyer and Bulgarian businesswoman Ruja Ignatova, who scammed investors out of billions of dollars in less than three years through her cryptocurrency OneCoin. In 2017, she boarded a flight to Athens with her clientele’s riches and vanished.

Crypto Queen features insights from intelligence experts, defrauded investors and former OneCoin employees, as well as exclusive contributions from Dr. Jonathan Levy (an attorney/solicitor who has represented efforts to secure $11 billion in compensation from OneCoin) and Timothy Curry, one of the first to warn about the scam.

The docuseries, created and produced by Tondowski Films and DARE Pictures in association with Lone Wolf Studios, is directed by Rudolph Herzog (Heist, The Paedophile Next Door, Space X: The Last Exit), working closely with writer and journalist Raid Sabbah. Executive producers are Alex Tondowski, Ira Tondowski and Derren Lawford. Stephen Morse and Max Peltz
from Lone Wolf Studios are co-executive producers.

Fremantle co-invested in the series and is handling worldwide sales, excluding the U.K. and Germany, where Channel 4 and Sky Germany are on board as broadcast partners.

Ira Tondowski and Alex Tondowski, CEOs of Tondowski Films, said: “OneCoin is not just the story of financial fraud on a mind-blowing level. It is also the story of OneCoin founder Ruja Ignatova, her excessive need for recognition and her uncanny ability to exploit many investors’ dreams of becoming rich as quickly as possible. Crypto Queen peels back OneCoin’s shiny façade to unveil the untold corruption, money laundering, death threats and sheer greed in a huge, growing and mostly unregulated sector of international finance. With Derren Lawford of DARE Pictures, director Rudolph Herzog and writer Raid Sabbah, we were able to put together a great creative team to bring this fascinating and relevant story to global audiences. We couldn’t wish for better partners than Fremantle, Sky Germany and C4 to bring this premium package to its full potential.”

Lawford, founder and CEO of DARE Pictures, commented: “OneCoin is a truly transnational scandal that straddles the worlds of cryptocurrency and corruption with the charismatic and enigmatic Ruja Ignatova at the center of quite possibly the biggest scam in modern times. I’m a huge fan of Tondowski Films and Rudolph Herzog and couldn’t think of better creative partners for DARE’s debut commission. Having Sky Germany, C4 and Fremantle on board speaks to the huge international and commercial potential of this premium project packed full of surprise revelations.”

Christian Asanger, VP of entertainment at Sky Germany, added: “Sky Crime was just launched in April 2021 in Germany to provide our customers with premium true-crime content and is meanwhile one of our most popular channel brands on the platform. Sky Originals are a key pillar for that success story. We are excited to add the unprecedented and revealing crime series Crypto Queen to our portfolio, produced by Tondowski Films and DARE Pictures and directed by renowned Rudolph Herzog. We look forward to a documentary series that will match international high-end production value.”

Polly Scates, acquisitions manager at Channel 4, said: “We were immediately drawn to this ambitious twist on the true-crime genre that follows one of the biggest cons in recent history. The strand True Crime on 4 continues to go from strength to strength, and we’e confident this stranger-than-fiction case will make an exciting addition to the slate! We’re absolutely thrilled to be partnering with Tondowski Films and DARE Pictures to bring this incredible story to our viewers.”

Angela Neillis, senior VP of non-scripted content at Fremantle, commented: “Fremantle have huge ambition in the documentary and factual space, and we are seeing amazing growth of our slate through really unique projects. We collaborate with the best, most credible talent globally and are delighted to be working with Derren and Alex on this excellent and timely series.”