Independent production house and financier Goldfinch Group’s non-fiction IP incubator agency, Selectors, is announcing its first project, Hell in Heaven, in partnership with Blanchard House.

The multi-format project comprises a simultaneous podcast and documentary series based on the death of Wall Street millionaire John Bender at his Costa Rican jungle mansion.

Blanchard House is producing an eight-part podcast series, which will launch in autumn 2022. Goldfinch’s Phil McKenzie and Selectors co-founder William Ralston will executive produce.

Cineflix Productions is the lead production company on the documentary series with Selectors on board to co-produce, with Michael Stephenson (Best Worst Movie, Girlfriend’s Day) attached to direct.

A collaboration with the Goldfinch Group, Selectors is led by William Ralston and is an incubator for long-form non-fiction narrative IP and writers. The company finds, investigates, develops and produces fact-based stories across audio, non-scripted, and scripted film and TV productions, in partnership with industry-leading journalists.

Hell in Heaven tells the true story of John Bender, a troubled Wall Street genius, and his wife, Ann, who move to the Costa Rican jungle with $600 million and big dreams. They hope to create a unique wildlife reserve – instead, their lives descend into hell.  It all ends with a body, a mystery… and three murder trials.

Phil McKenzie, COO of Goldfinch, said: “With the rising demand for premium factual content, we see a real gap in the market for telling incredible real-life stories across different formats, making them accessible and engaging for as many audiences as possible. This is exactly what we’re aiming to achieve with Selectors, as we look to explore compelling true stories, such as Hell in Heaven, across multiple avenues with leading journalists and industry partners.”

William Ralston, Co-Founder at Selectors, added: “It’s fantastic to have our first Selectors project up and running, with incredible partners Blanchard House and Cineflix Productions on board to help us bring the wild and unpredictable story of John Bender’s death to audiences in multiple formats. Through both the podcast and documentary series, we’ll work closely with John’s family to delve into the many questions that still surround this extraordinary case: what happened to all that money? And the jewels? Who else was there that night? We know this story is going to have audiences on the edge of their seats the whole way through.”

Kimberly Jung, CEO and Co-Founder of Blanchard House, commented, “This is a fantastic story, and our producers have been on the ground in Costa Rica speaking to those who knew the Benders and witnessed everything that played out there.  We’re extremely excited to bring this incredible story to light, and work with our partners across different formats. Like every story we tell, we believe this to be timeless, unforgettable and a fascinating insight into a different world.”

J.C. Mills, President and Head of Content, Cineflix Productions said: “Cineflix Production is a leading creator of gripping true crime content and we’re thrilled to be collaborating with Goldfinch, Selectors, and Blanchard House to transform the epic story of Ann and John Bender into a captivating must-watch documentary series.”


Jon Creamer

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