Traveling Through History with Distribution360


Diane Rankin, Distribution360’s senior VP of international sales and acquisitions, tells TV Real what viewers can look forward to from the company’s varied lineup of history-infused highlights.

Distribution360’s programming slate this year is packed with history offerings to feed viewers’ imaginations, traveling from the workshop of a glass blower in ancient Mesopotamia to the muddy trenches of WWII to the ocean’s dark abyss, where the Titanic’s mangled body found its final resting place.

***Image***“Programs that look at popular historical events through a new lens or that turn a known story on its head are high on our list,” Rankin says. “With technological advances and new research delivering new angles to stories from the past, the history genre is relevant and relatable to an even broader audience around the world than ever before.”

Titanic: Stories from the Deep explores the human side of the luxury liner’s story, focusing on the lives of its passengers rather than its infamous demise. “The passion for the project that came from the producers Shel Piercy and Ron Goetz at Infinity Films and Partners in Motion hooked us from the beginning,” Rankin explains. ***Image***“They spoke so emotively about the stories that they had uncovered.” Alongside never-before-seen artifacts salvaged from the ship’s wreckage, “viewers can look forward to emotional and incredible stories of love, fate, secrets and heroics,” according to Rankin.

Similar to Piercy and Goetz’s investigation of the Titanic, WW2 Treasure Hunters approaches an oft-studied subject with a completely fresh point of view. Featuring live digs that unearth relics from troops and POWs, the series uses archeology to complement the testimony of survivors, experts and historians, building a colorful living history of a conflict that is frequently relegated to black and white photos. “And the unlikely duo of Britain’s foremost amateur WW2 detectorist, Stephen Taylor, and the band Madness’ frontman, Suggs, bring a passionate and fresh twist to the execution,” Rankin adds.

The documentary Born By Fire: The Secret History of Glass Blowing is currently in production and chronicles the colorful evolution of the art form’s molecular composition, style and technique. The one-off outlines the complex beauty of glass blowing and the people who’ve mastered the craft, “tracing its origins from ancient Mesopotamia, to the old-world beauty of Lebanon and the kaleidoscopic wonder of Venice, to the present day, where a new generation of craftspeople are creating both everyday objects and breathtaking works of art,” Rankin says.

Available for distribution now is Murder By Shark, a doc that sees history and science blend together to shed new light on the 1852 crash of the HMS Birkenhead, which was carrying three tons of gold when it mysteriously ran aground in a well-charted passage off the coast of South Africa. The area’s sharks soon found the doomed survivors. Murder By Shark sees naval historians, scientists and treasure hunters alike weigh in on what has become a bizarre conspiracy surrounding the incident.

“We’re constantly looking for fresh new ideas that buyers and audiences will respond to,” Rankin says. “A fresh take helps to bring a whole new generation to history programming and creates demand on different platforms.”