TF1 subsidiary Newen Studios has taken a majority stake in London-based production house Rise Films, founded by Teddy Leifer, with its slate of documentary features, including The Invisible War, Oscar-winning Icarus and All That Breathes.

The investment is the latest move by Newen Studios to build its UK portfolio of production companies. Over the last two years, it has invested in nine UK production companies, including Ringside Studios, a venture with Gub Neal and production house DoveTale Media, announced earlier this year.

Founded in 2006 by Leifer, Rise Films productions also include Knuckle, Dreamcatcher, We Are Together, Rough Aunties, The Human Factor , Mayor and The Art of Political Murder.

Its latest feature, All That Breathes, is the only film ever to have won both the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and the L’Œil d’or (Best Documentary) at the Cannes Film Festival – where the film premiered in 2022. It was acquired in a global deal by HBO and HBO Max.

Rise is now breaking into factual drama with its first project, Thank You & Goodbye, about the phone-hacking scandal that rocked Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, a collaboration with the creative team behind BBC and Netflix hit, The Salisbury Poisonings.

Other recent documentary productions include George Carlin’s American Dream, a two-part documentary for HBO and HBO Max directed by Judd Apatow, which recently received five Emmy nominations, and Once Upon A Time In Londongrad, a  political thriller for Sky Documentaries and NBC Universal about 14 mysterious UK deaths with alleged Russia links.

Newen Studios, a subsidiary of the TF1 group is established in eight countries, with more than 40 creative labels and 600 full time staff members. Shows produced by Newen Studios are exported globally alongside a curated slate of third party programming, through its distribution subsidiary Newen Connect.

Philippe Levasseur, Director of International, Newen Studios Group, said: “The partnership with these very talented individuals adds another solid brick to the foundations our European Studio. The appetite for documentary is stronger than ever. Teddy is a passionate producer and a teamplayer; his team is a perfect match with our network of premium doc producers: Sigrid Djekjaer (Real Lava), Tomas Ocana (Capa Spain), Natalie Humphreys (Storyboard), Aster Reinboud (Docs by Pupkin), the Paris-based Capa team and the feature docs producers of Flare Films (Germany). Rise is also growing in factual drama and we strongly believe in the power of this scripted genre. Furthermore, this partnership strengthens our presence in the UK, where Newen Studios has invested in nine production companies over the past two years.”

Rise Comedy, a joint venture with Rise Films, which is run by Plebs creator Sam Leifer, will continue to be operated independently. It is currently in production with a feature length finale of Plebs, following a five series run as the most watched ITV2 comedy in the channel’s history.

All permanent staff at Rise benefited directly from the transaction.

Rise Films was advised on the deal by Wiggin and Hasham Khan of ABP Advisory.

Pippa Considine

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