Posted by Valentina Valentini on May 23, 2012 at 1:28 am
If you’ve seen The Tillman Story or My Kid Could Paint That (collaborations by the two doc gurus), or any number of the stimulating documentaries producer John Battsek and director Amir Bar-Lev have worked on individually (Restrepo, Sergio, Trouble the Water), you know that their provocative stories make headlines. They make headlines even before production now, with their newest collaboration, Happy Valley. And if you haven’t seen their previous work, Netflix it. Now.
See full press release below for more information.
New York, NY – May 21, 2012 – A&E IndieFilms, the Academy Award-nominated feature documentary production arm of A&E Network, has partnered with Emmy-winning production company Asylum Entertainment (“The Kennedys,” “30 for 30”) to produce Happy Valley, about the Penn State Universitycommunity that was rocked in 2011 by charges of sexual abuse involving former Nittany Lions assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
Award-winning filmmakers John Battsek of Passion Pictures and director Amir Bar-Lev – collaborators on the A&E IndieFilms documentaries The Tillman Story and My Kid Could Paint That – have signed on to produce and direct, respectively. Production begins this month.
Bob DeBitetto, David McKillop and Molly Thompson will serve as executive producers for A&E IndieFilms. Asylum Entertainment principals Jonathan Koch and Steve Michaels will produce the film along with Battsek, producer of the Academy Award-winning One Day in September.
“Happy Valley represents exactly the type of story that A&E IndieFilms strives to tell – culturally relevant, thought-provoking and maybe even a bit controversial,” said DeBitetto, President and General Manager of A&E Network and BIO Channel. “We’re excited to have our dream team of filmmakers, Amir and John, back together again to tackle this subject and bring the story to theaters around the world.”
A native of State College, PA, Asylum’s Jonathan Koch is himself closely connected to the community at the heart of the story. In his youth, he was a camp counselor for The Second Mile, the nonprofit organization for underprivileged kids founded by the Sanduskys.
“When you are raised in Happy Valley, you feel as though nothing like this could ever happen there,” says Jonathan Koch, President, Asylum Entertainment; “This project has such gravity, importance, and significant personal meaning to me, and I am honored that this extraordinary team of filmmakers has joined me to tell the story.”
About A&E IndieFilms
A&E IndieFilms is the feature documentary production arm of A&E Network. A&E IndieFilms is committed to developing the work of outstanding independent filmmakers and helping them reach the broadest possible audience. A&E IndieFilms commissions, acquires and provides finishing funds for feature documentaries intended for co-branded theatrical release. Films include the 2006 and 2007 Academy Award nominees for Best Documentary Feature, Murderball and Jesus Camp; Nanette Burstein’s American Teen, which received the Directing Award at Sundance Film Festival; Amir Bar-Lev’s My Kid Could Paint That; R.J. Cutler’s The September Issue; Amir Bar-Lev’s 2011 PGA Award nominee The Tillman Story and Alex Gibney’s 2011 PGA Award and DGA Award nominee Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer.
About Asylum Entertainment
Los Angeles-based Asylum Entertainment is a diversified production company committed to groundbreaking original programming – narrative, documentary, and commercial. Its integrated divisions and capabilities encompass development; production and postproduction for film, television, commercials, branded entertainment, music and live shows; and marketing, licensing, design, and talent management. Its original programming includes a number of award-winning series. www.asylument.com.