NEON Picks Up Raoul Peck Documentary ‘Orwell’

NEON announced today the acquisition of the North American rights to Academy Award®-nominated and BAFTA-winning director, Raoul Peck’s (I Am Not Your Negro) documentary Orwell, the definitive feature-length documentary on visionary author George Orwell, with the exclusive cooperation of the Orwell Estate. Producers include Alex Gibney for Jigsaw Productions, Raoul Peck for Velvet Films, and Nick Shumaker for Anonymous Content. Stacey Offman and Richard Perello will executive produce for Jigsaw. Zhang Xin, Joey Marra, and William Horberg will executive produce for Closer Media, alongside Jessica Grimshaw, Dawn Olmstead, and David Levine of Anonymous, and Jeff Skoll and Courtney Sexton of Participant. Johnny Fewings of Universal Pictures Content Group will serve as executive producer on the film, which is currently in production.

“’Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past…,’ wrote Orwell in his novel, 1984. Today, the “newspeak” of authoritarian rule is alive and well and in unexpected places, from the rise of AI Chatbot to the Russian propaganda machine, from the marketing webs of commercial metaverses to the political banning of books in the Southern United States” says Raoul Peck. 

Peck’s “Orwell” will use George Orwell’s life, work and legacy as a maverick iconoclastic writer to jam the signals of the algorithms gone rogue which, in the name of personal freedom, threaten to close our minds to a greater possibility. 

The deal was negotiated by Dan O’Meara on behalf of NEON with AC Independent on behalf of the filmmakers.

Peck wrote, directed and produced the Samuel L. Jackson narrated I Am Not Your Negro, which was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Documentary, won a BAFTA and a César award, and took the audience awards at both the Toronto and Berlin International Film Festivals.  Additional credits include writer, director, and EP on the four-part series Exterminate All the Brutes for HBO, which pushed the boundaries of traditional documentary filmmaking, offering an expansive exploration of the exploitative and genocidal aspects of European colonialism; The Man by the Shore (Official Competition – Cannes Film Festival 1993); Sometimes in April (Official Competition, Berlinale 2005, HBO); Moloch Tropical (Toronto and Berlinale); and The Young Karl Marx (Berlinale 2017). His documentary films includeLumumba (Directors’ Fortnight, Cannes 2000, HBO), Death of a Prophet (Cannes Classics 2021) and Fatal Assistance (Berlinale and Hot Docs 2013).

NEON’s recent releases in the documentary space include two of the five of this year’s Academy Award nominees for Best Documentary FeatureLaura Poitras’ All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (presented by Participant)and Fire of Love. NEON has scored a total of six Oscar nominations this year, with a nomination for Ireland’s submission for Best International Film The Quiet Girl and a trifecta of Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay nominations for Palme D’or winner Triangle of Sadness from Ruben Östlund. 

NEON continues to push the boundaries with documentaries such as 2022’s highest grossing documentary of the year, Moonage Daydream, Brett Morgan’s genre-defying film chronicling the career of David Bowie; Honeyland, which was the first documentary to receive both a Best International Film and Best Documentary in Oscars history; Denmark’s Flee (co-distributed by Participant), which made history as the first film to score an impressive trifecta of Academy Award® nominations for Best International Film, Best Documentary Feature, and Best Animated Feature; Todd Douglas Miller’s Apollo 11, the highest grossing documentary in the world in 2019; Tim Wardle’s Three Identical Strangers, winner of the Sundance Special Jury Award for Storytelling, which surpassed $13M at the box office; Jamila Wignot’s Ailey, chronicling the life of dance pioneer Alvin Ailey; and Alex Gibney’s Totally Under Control, a deep-dive into the U.S. government’s response in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Peck is represented by Range Media Partners and Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein Lezcano Bobb & Dang.

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