WorldScreenings: Passion Distribution


Passion Distribution’s focus remains, as always, to offer high-quality, differentiated non-scripted programs that have broad appeal. “Our showcase reveal leading to our spring content launch does just that across definitive true crime, aspirational lifestyle, extraordinary documentary projects and premium factual entertainment,” says Nick Tanner, director of sales and co-productions. “We’re proud that a number of our biggest franchises are back for new seasons and new localizations. Be it RuPaul’s Drag Race reaching new heights or Stacey Dooley back for a new season [of Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over] embedding (literally) in unusual family life, we continue to bring the biggest entertainment and uncover remarkable human stories.”

In the unscripted space, Tanner has seen a trend toward programming that provides an escape for viewers and a desire for entertainment that takes people away from the reality of the current times. “Escapist lifestyle or travel (where possible!), absorbing history series, makeovers and provocative social ***Image***experiments do just that,” he says. “Premium true crime is drawing big audiences on linear TV as broadcasters up the ante in this genre.”

He adds that Passion Distribution is continuing to respond to the trends that are important now, while also looking to the future. Highlights from the company’s spring slate include Untold, featuring four true-crime miniseries that give the definitive story of some of Britain’s most notorious crimes. “Cinematic in scope and featuring first-person narratives from those involved in cases, these are the definitive films of crimes that continue to shock and fascinate,” Tanner says. From ITN Productions, Untold features The Disappearance of Shannon Matthews, The Wests, The Murder of James Bulger and The Railway Murders.

Here Comes the Gypsies is a character-led documentary series that reveals the hidden world behind this community. The Firecracker Films-produced show delves deep into all aspects of Gypsy and traveler life to try and understand how they live and witness first-hand how they fight to keep their culture alive in modern Britain.

Also from Firecracker Films, the two-part Murder in a Small Town spotlights the events of summer 2003, when 14-year-old schoolgirl Jodi Jones was brutally murdered in a quiet Scottish town. In a shocking twist, her killer was revealed to be her 14-year-old boyfriend, Luke Mitchell, who has denied murdering Jodi and continues to maintain his innocence. The doc uses exclusive recordings from inside prison as he tells his story 17 years after the murder.

The lifestyle series Lap of Luxury: Ultimate Escapes Down Under explores the extravagant lodges of New Zealand and Australia. Steeped in history, natural beauty and architectural magnificence, each lodge has a story of its own. “Revealing the wonderfully warm and colorful characters who imbue each lodge with personality and charm, the series explores the untold beauty and the heartwarming stories during this down-to-earth trip into the lap of luxury,” says Tanner. The show is produced by Screentime New Zealand.

Passion Distribution also has on offer a second season of Inside the Police Force, which takes viewers behind station doors, from the custody suite and the overstretched response officers to the control room and the investigation teams. RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under is the Australian and New Zealand adaptation of the smash hit RuPaul’s Drag Race. This treatment is hosted by executive producer RuPaul with Drag Race veteran Michelle Visage on the judges’ panel.

With this spring slate, as well as all of its programming, Passion Distribution aims to “continue to be the provider of thought-provoking and entertaining non-scripted content to all platforms,” Tanner says. “We’ll achieve this by listening to our customers and supporting our producer partners in a variety of ways to bring their creativity to global audiences.”

See Passion Distribution’s Spring 2021 Showcase here.