Director Gilles Bannier is now developing and creating a new original slate for Alef UK in London.

Alef UK is an offshoot of Parisian indie, Alef One (The Tunnel, Carlos Ghosn: The Last Flight), founded by Nora Melhli and Jacques Arthur Essebag in 2018. Bannier will serve as Creative Director for Alef UK and will  develop, create and produce “high-end scripted programming for global platforms and broadcasters.”

For its launch, Alef UK has secured an option on Mind Reader, a thriller by best-selling novelist Iain Levison, an award-winning Scottish-American crime writer. Levison’s books have been widely published in France, with some successfully adapted for the screen. Screenwriter Jonathan Wakeham – To Catch a Killer and the forthcoming Brian Epstein biopic Midas Man – is attached to adapt Mind Reader into a six episode returning series.

Jonathan Wakeham comments, “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. So, I’m thrilled to be working with them at thelaunch of Alef UK, bringing Iain Levison’s taut, witty and alarmingly prescient thriller Mind Reader to television.”

Gilles Bannier explains, “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 one hundred percent. Nora and I will be working closely with like-minded UK, European and US partners to build truly collegial co-productions and explore our network of writers, directors and wider creative talent.

Nora Melhli expands, “Our priority at Alef One is to tell universal stories that push the boundaries of society and shake off taboos. I particularly wanted someone at the helm of our UK 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 experienceand a wide range of industry connections across all disciplines to make the best and most accessible content possible.”

Bannier began his career directing documentaries for ARTE in his native France, before moving into drama. Gilles has directed all 6 episodes of Blue Lights for BBC 1. Prior to this he directed Trigger Point for Hat Trick/ITV starring Vicky McClure.

He also worked on the first series of Tin Star for Sky Atlantic/Kudos, including the finale and was Lead Director on the second series of the show. Gilles was also Lead Director on Danny Brocklehurst’s latest crime drama, Iin the Dark, for BBC 1, and directed on two series of The Tunnel for Kudos/Sky Atlantic/Canal+ . He also directed on Marcella series 3 and was previously Lead Director on Series 2 of the acclaimed French crime drama, Spiral.

Photo : Louis Duval – studiophotogoncourt

Jon Creamer

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