June 22, 2017
Best Film Editing: “LA92”
Lest we forget, National Geographic’s Emmy-contending L.A riots documentary is also eligible for Oscar consideration this year. Last year “O.J.: Made in America” garnered some attention for its handling of tons of material, and hopefully reminded voters that documentary editing ought to be recognized. Reams of footage were assembled from countless sources to drive this particular version of the story, which was also covered elegantly by director John Ridley in “Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992.”
March 30, 2017
To mark the 25th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots that followed the acquittal of the four L.A. police officers charged with beating Rodney King, National Geographic Documentary Films is presenting a new look at those charged events that reverberated throughout the city.
Directed by Dan Lindsay and TJ Martin — Oscar winners for the 2011 doc Undefeated, about a high school football team — LA 92 is set to premiere at New York's Tribeca Film Festival on April 21. It will then have a limited theatrical release in N.Y. and Los Angeles on April 28 before making its television broadcast debut on National Geographic on April 30.
National Geographic has also set LA 92 to air in 171 countries and 45 languages and has partnered with Picture Motion to provide free screenings to colleges and universities nationwide.
The film is produced by Lightbox’s Simon and Jonathan Chinn, who first proposed the idea for the doc to Lindsay and Martin. “Our goal with LA 92 is to reframe the story of this tragedy for a modern audience, and we hope it will encourage reflection and debate as we wrestle with these very real conflicts that continue to plague America’s cities,” the two producers said in a statement.
When they first approached Lindsay and Martin, the producers had cut together some preliminary footage as a proof of concept. “I was shocked by how much emotional, raw imagery had been captured unfiltered on camera,” Martin says. “They were deeply interested in the story because the 25th anniversary was coming up. It brought the events all back, and we were able to draw parallels to what’s happening now with police abuse being captured on tape, on cellphones, being streamed on Facebook.”
The two filmmakers, in turn, proposed that if they were to take on the project, they wanted to present the events as they unfolded, using original footage, without any kind of filter. That meant no talking-head interviews or narration.
“That was one of the limitations we put on ourselves going into it,” Lindsay says. “We were surprised pretty early on how we were able to give the proper amount of context to events and to what you’re watching, to allow the audience to wrestle with the issues being presenting to them. We wanted to create something that would live in the space of cognitive dissonance for the audience. You are seeing things that may challenge your perception of right and wrong. You might find yourself feeling empathy in one moment and feeling shock in the next.”
They assembled the film from broadcast news footage, radio reports, police files and personal home videos — some of which have never been broadcast. The film features never-before-seen and rarely used footage from the Los Angeles First AME Church, which supported many victims of the violence; materials from the Los Angeles police and fire departments; and video from contemporaneous news broadcasts from L.A.-based Korean-language television stations.
March 6, 2017
Behind the scenes, Simon Chinn is the man to watch. A powerhouse producer with two Academy Awards under his belt, Simon has been involved in some of the most memorable (and, often, commercially successful) UK releases. His films frequently focus on lone-wolf eccentrics. Man on Wire gave us rare access to Philippe Petite, a tight rope fanatic who walked across the Twin Towers in 1974; Searching for Sugar Man uncovered the bizarre story of Sixto Rodriguez, long presumed dead by a country that idolised him.
October 18, 2016
Channel 4 has commissioned Lightbox, the company founded by Academy Award-winning producer Simon Chinn (Man on Wire, Searching for Sugar Man) and Emmy Award-winning Jonathan Chinn (American High, 30 Days), to produce a major documentary following the stories of four child refugees as they attempt to make their way from their war-torn homes in the Middle East and Afghanistan to safety in Europe. The film is directed by Jamie Roberts (The Jihadis Next Door, Angry White and Proud).
FremantleMedia will introduce the extraordinary and powerful documentary to buyers at MIPCOM 2016.
War Child (working title) is told from the point of view of the children, all of whom speak English, as they embark on their epic and dangerous journeys across Europe.
The children’s stories begin in a refugee camp in Northern Greece, where, along with thousands of others they are prevented from traveling further into Europe by border closures, forcing them to make almost impossible choices. War Child follows the children, some of whom are unaccompanied by parents, as they travel surreptitiously across borders and through hostile countries, hiding from the military and police, traveling often by foot and at night, or in vehicles and freight trains - and all the while forced to deal with people smugglers trying to extort more money from them before helping them on their journey.
Executive Producer Simon Chinn said: “In telling this story from the point of view of a group of children, War Child takes a bold and distinctive approach to this important subject. Some of the children we are following have left their war torn homes without their parents and it's their very vulnerability which makes this such an emotional and dramatic film. Seeing the refugee crisis from their perspective really brings it home in the most immediate and powerful way.”
Angela Neillis, Director, Acquisitions & Development, Non-Scripted, FremantleMedia International, added: “Lightbox has captured a raw, emotional and powerful portrayal of the current refugee situation. The world is facing a huge crisis and through War Child, we can help spread a very important message to viewers around the world.”
War Child is directed by Jamie Roberts. Executive Producers for Lightbox are Katie Buchanan (The Romanians are Coming), Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn. It was commissioned by Channel 4 Deputy Head of Factual Amy Flanagan and Siobhan Sinnerton, Commissioning Editor, News and Current Affairs.
August 24, 2016
BBC TWO announces its airdate for "Absolutely Fashion", the special-access, two-part series about Britain's 100-year-old Vogue magazine, for September 8th and 15th. For the first time in British Vogue's history it allowed TV cameras to document its behind-the-scenes activities and people including cover stars, designers, and executives leading up to Vogue's centenary.
ACADEMY AWARD®-WINNER KEVIN MACDONALD TO DIRECT OFFICIAL WHITNEY HOUSTON DOCUMENTARY, THE DEFINITIVE STORY OF THE GLOBAL SUPERSTAR
April 28, 2016
Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Kevin Macdonald (MARLEY, TOUCHING THE VOID, ONE DAY IN SEPTEMBER) and Academy Award®-winning producer Simon Chinn (MAN ON WIRE, SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN) and his Lightbox Media partner Jonathan Chinn (FANTASTIC LIES, AMERICAN HIGH) have partnered with multi-Emmy award nominated producer Lisa Erspamer (RUNNING FROM CRAZY) on the official Whitney Houston documentary, a revealing theatrical feature documentary about the life and genius of global superstar Whitney Houston.
Altitude Film Sales is introducing the project to buyers at Cannes with UK rights acquired by Altitude Film Distribution. Will Clarke, Andy Mayson and Mike Runagall will executive produce.
While this is the first documentary to be officially authorized by the estate since Whitney’s death, Kevin Macdonald and the producers have been given the estate’s blessing to tell the unvarnished and authentic story of the singer’s life in a film that will examine both the highs and lows of her dramatic career.
Kevin Macdonald will also be interviewing Clive Davis, founder and president of Arista Records, currently chief creative officer of Sony Music Entertainment and who is universally acknowledged for bringing Whitney Houston to prominence.
Often referred to simply as ‘The Voice’, Whitney Houston was a singular talent, blessed with an extraordinary vocal range and incredible technical skill. As one of music’s biggest selling artists ever, she broke more records than any other female singer in the history of pop music.
With over 200 million album sales worldwide, and remaining the only artist to chart seven consecutive US No. 1’s, Whitney Houston became the voice of a generation. Coming from an esteemed lineage of singers, Whitney was destined to be plucked from her gospel-singing roots to rule the world stage. She inspired a generation of singers from Mariah Carey and Lady Gaga to Beyoncé and her unforgettable performance of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ moved the nation.
But all these achievements have become overshadowed by a story of addiction and self-destruction. With unprecedented access to friends, family and collaborators - some of whom have never told their side of the story, Kevin Macdonald’s feature documentary will for the first time tell the complete story of Whitney Houston’s life and work from the point of view of those who knew her best. The film will reveal a woman who was both blessed and cursed with perhaps the greatest natural ability of any pop star in history.
Filmmaker Kevin Macdonald says, “The story that is never told about Whitney is just how brilliant she was as an artist; by many measures she had the greatest voice of the last 50 years. She changed the way pop music was sung - bringing it back full circle to its blues and gospel roots. She was also completely unique in being a black pop star who sold in countries where black artists don’t traditionally sell.
“We have access to never-before-seen footage of Whitney that charts her whole life from her beginnings singing in her Church's gospel choir, to the day of her tragic death at the age of 48 and three decades of her music including exclusive demo recordings, rare performances and audio archive. Although we won’t shy away from the darker parts of Whitney’s life - her descent into addiction - I want audiences to walk out of the cinema and feel positive about Whitney and her music. I want to reveal a woman that even her most die-hard fans never knew; and a woman those new to her life and music will never forget.”
Producer Simon Chinn adds, “My business partner Jonathan Chinn and I were thrilled when Lisa Erspamer brought this amazing project to us – and even more thrilled when Kevin Macdonald came on to direct. The opportunity to tell Whitney Houston’s story with full access to her music and those who knew her best was simply too good to pass up. By casting her story, her life choices and her work in a new light, we want to reassess the life and legacy of one of music’s biggest stars. Altitude Film Distribution, who are as passionate about the project as we are, are approaching the film as a major tent-pole release, and expect this to be one of 2017’s biggest cultural highlights.”
Will Clarke, Chairman and Co-CEO of Altitude Film Entertainment says, “Whitney’s story, brought to screen by Kevin Macdonald and this producing team, will make for a truly compelling theatrical event for audiences worldwide.”
The film will be released in the UK by Altitude Film Distribution, who released the Oscar® and BAFTA-winning AMY last year, which grossed a record-breaking £3.8 million at the UK box office.
April 19, 2016
Netflix, the world’s leading internet TV network has begun production on a new Original Documentary Series CAPTIVE, which looks at the mysterious world and commercial underpinnings behind the most complex and high-stakes hostage crises in modern history.
The project is conceived and produced by Lightbox, the company founded by Academy Award -winning producer Simon Chinn (Man on Wire, Searching for Sugar Man) and Emmy Award-winning Jonathan Chinn (American High, 30 Days), in partnership with Hypnotic, the company founded by director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr & Mrs Smith, Edge of Tomorrow), Dave Bartis and Gene Klein.
From the highest profile cases to those kept hidden from the public, the producers of CAPTIVE have gained privileged access to the most challenging negotiations of recent times -- revealing how hostage-taking, and the efforts to resolve it, have evolved to address an escalating international trend. The episodes look at a wide range of situations from the viewpoint of everyone involved: the victims and their families back home, the experienced negotiators, business leaders, government officials and the kidnappers themselves.
“Hostage taking is an issue that people are familiar with, but apart from those directly involved, nobody really knows much about,” said Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn, co-Founders of Lightbox. “Each episode of CAPTIVE will reflect the tension that arises from the life and death stakes involved but also truly reveal the complexity inherent in every hostage crisis.”
“We are incredibly proud to be partnering with this exceptional team of storytellers to bring this project to Netflix,” said Lisa Nishimura, Netflix Vice President of Original Documentary Programming. “This series pairs Lightbox’s experience making award-winning narrative documentaries with the cinematic pedigree of Doug Liman, whose renowned body of work has established him as a true expert in the portrayal of covert affairs, reconnaissance and espionage.”
CAPTIVE is a Lightbox production in association with Hypnotic. Executive Producers are Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn for Lightbox; Doug Liman, Dave Bartis and Gene Klein for Hypnotic. The showrunner is Alex Marengo and series producer is Kathryn Taylor. Lisa Nishimura, Adam Del Deo and Jason Spingarn-Koff serve as Executive Producers for Netflix.
February 2nd, 2016
The story of the Duke Lacrosse scandal is set to premiere at SXSW in the Documentary Spotlight section. This year's festival dates are March 11 - 14.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL PARTNERS WITH LIGHTBOX FOR NEW DOCUMENTARY EVENT EXAMINING THE 1992 LOS ANGELES RIOTS
January 21st, 2016
'LA92' (wt), brought to National Graphic Channel by Lightbox EP's Simon and Jonathan Chinn, will tell the definitive story of the Los Angeles riots from the inside and from the point of view of those involved. Using unseen personal footage and news archives, along with the raw and unflinching testimony of those who lived through it, the event documentary will take viewers back to those weeks in 1992 in the most powerful and immersive way.
"Recent events [in Ferguson and Baltimore] and the upcoming 25th anniversary of the riots only amplify the importance of telling the story," said Tim Pastore, President, Original Programming and Production of NGC. LA92 will premiere globally in 171 countries and 45 languages.
FUSION GIVES AN UNFLINCHING GLIMPSE INTO THE GLOBAL BLACK MARKET WITH NEW INVESTIGATIVE SERIES THE TRAFFICKERS
December 11, 2015
FUSION pulls back the curtain on the global trafficking trade with a new investigative series ‘The Traffickers’. The series is produced by Lightbox, the production company founded by Simon Chinn, who won Oscars for Man on Wire and Searching for Sugar Man, and his cousin Jonathan Chinn, who won an Emmy for American High.
The Traffickers will make its series debut in 2016. A special preview of the first installment of the eight part series will air in January on FUSION.
Hosted by award-winning British journalist Nelufar Hedayat, each fast-paced, one-hour episode will give viewers an unconventional and eye-opening look at the processes, personalities and routes that move goods including precious minerals, counterfeit drugs, endangered species and even people around the globe.
Traveling by plane, taxi, boat and rickshaw across Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas and often filming undercover in bustling markets and down dingy alleyways, Hedayat digs deeper and deeper into the dark world of trafficking. It’s a world peopled by profit-driven dealers, compliant middlemen, bribe-taking officials, poachers and smugglers and comprising vast transportation networks, packaging factories, safe houses… and enormous amounts of money.
“The international criminal networks that traffic in everything from drugs to human organs are far more intertwined with the ‘legitimate’ world that we’d like to believe,” said Keith Summa, executive producer of Investigations for FUSION. “The Traffickers reveals how these criminal networks only exist because of the complicity of people very much in our world - doctors, lawyers, shopkeepers, government workers -- people who could be your neighbor. Without them, these criminal networks don’t exist.”
“We were thrilled to have the chance to work with FUSION to combine the best traditions of investigative journalism with the look and feel of contemporary non-fiction thrillers,” said Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn. “FUSION embraced our vision for the visual style of the series and our desire to take audiences on riveting journeys that explore the moral complexities that exist in our interconnected world.”
Executive Producers on The Traffickers are Simon Chinn, Jonathan Chinn and Sam Collyns for Lightbox and Keith Summa, Daniel Eilemberg, and Isaac Lee for FUSION. Suzanne Lavery is co-executive producer for Lightbox.
November 4th 2015
Last Friday, the short documentary film "Pills", directed by Pinny Grylls, released on The Health Foundation's website. Throughout November a new film will be released each Friday showcasing ways that doctors are providing innovative, personalized healthcare to their patients. Upcoming films are directed by James Kent, Michelle Coomber, and Alex Holmes.
November 2nd 2015
Garnet's Gold, directed by Lightbox's Ed Perkins and produced by Simon Chinn, won a Grierson Award in the Best Newcomer Documentary category. Established in 1972, the Grierson Awards celebrate documentaries from Britain and abroad that bolster genre and demonstrate excellence in quality, creativity, and originality.
August 20th 2015
The BBC has greenlit an observational documentary series on the British edition of fashion magazine Vogue.
April 11th 2015
Second-season "American Idol" and something-season "Celebrity Apprentice" silver medalist Clay Aiken's 2014 quixotic campaign for a North Carolina congressional seat is the subject of "The Runner-Up", a locally colorful, four-part documentary from the Esquire Channel.
December 1st, 2014
"The Green Prince", produced by Lightbox's Simon Chinn is nominated for a PGA Award. This is Simon's 4th nomination for the award in the span of 6 years
August 10th 2014
The UK's Channel 4 is making the push into TV production, announcing today that Lightbox will be among the first 4 indie production companies that they have ever invested in. Investments have been made from its £20 million ($33.2 million) Growth Fund, and are focused on companies with the potential for growth. Channel 4 stated that each investment was carefully evaluated to consider commercial potential, as well as "whether there was a clear growth opportunity and its value to the wider UK creative industry."
Xbox Entertainment Studios sits down with LIGHTBOX Co-Founder Jonathan Chinn post-Dig to get his take on the significance of the excavation's findings and what made the dig possible.
Check out the interview below!
Xbox's Major Nelson was on hand at the much-anticipated Atari dig to unearth the long-buried E.T. game cartridges buried in the desert of New Mexico. Check out the video below!
Toronto Sun speaks with LIGHTBOX Co-Founder JONATHAN CHINN and Director of the "Atari: Game Over" film ZAK PENN, about their journey to a landfill in the small town of Alamogordo, New Mexico to unravel one of the most enduring enigmas in video-game history.
27th APRIL 2014
LIGHTBOX have documented the successful excavation of Atari games 30 years after they were buried in a landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico. April 26th saw hundreds flock to the New Mexican desert to witness the dig which solved the long-standing urban myth that Atari buried copies of the infamously poor-selling “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” game.
The Lightbox crew excavating the landfill on Saturday first found an Atari 2600 joystick, before hitting the jackpot with the E.T. cartridge, a box and instruction manual; proving that some urban legends really are true.
17th APRIL 2014
Garnet’s Gold, from Lightbox's Ed Perkins (director) and Simon Chinn (producer), premieres tomorrow night at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film tells the story of Garnet Frost, a man whose near-death experience hiking near Scotland's Loch Arkaig 20 years ago still haunts him today. It is a wooden stick found right before he was rescued that pushes Garnet to bravely embark on another adventure in search of hidden treasures, believing the stick to be a marker for a fortune buried 300 years ago.
Check out the trailer below:
15th APRIL 2014
Lightbox are excited to announce that their very own Head of Development, Susannah Price, has been nominated for a BAFTA Award as part of the BBC series "Keeping Britain Alive". Susannah worked as the Show Runner on the 8-part series nominated for Best Factual Series, which focuses on the National Health Service.
In more award nomination news for Susannah, another of her films is up for a Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award; the most prestigious award in the world of classical music. "Chopin Saved My Life" has been nominated for the RPS Creative Communication Award. Congratulations, Susannah!
10th APRIL 2014
It's official! The excavation of the long-rumored “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” video game burial site will occur on April 26, 2014 and will be open to the public. As part of a documentary series, Lightbox and Xbox Entertainment Studios will excavate the legendary New Mexico landfill to reveal the true story of Atari’s bizarre burial.
7th APRIL 2014
Lightbox is thrilled to announce that filmmaker Ed Perkins has joined the team as our in-house development director and producer. Ed is a rising star in the documentary world, whose debut feature documentary Garnet's Gold (produced by Lightbox's Simon Chinn) will be premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 18th, 2014.
Ed will be based out of the UK and will work closely with Lightbox's Head of Development Susannah Price to bring his unique style and sensibility to our growing slate of development projects.
26th MARCH 2014
Music Box Films has acquired all U.S. rights (excluding TV) to spy thriller “The Green Prince", produced by Lightbox's Simon Chinn. The film is a real-life thriller that tells the story of one of Israel's prized intelligence sources, the son of a top Hamas leader. Music Box Films will release the documentary theatrically later this year.
25th MARCH 2014
Zak Penn, director of Lightbox's film about the death of Atari and the buried E.T. video games being produced for Xbox, is interviewed on NPR's "ALL THINGS CONSIDERED". In the interview with NPR reporter Hans Anderson, Zak discusses the recent rumors surrounding the Alamogordo dig. Check out the podcast below.
1st FEBRUARY 2014
THE LEGEND OF SHORTY, produced by Lightbox's Co-Founder Simon Chinn, has been selected to premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in March 2014. The Legend of Shorty depicts the filmmakers' dangerous quest to find Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman, perhaps the most feared and infamous drug lord living in Mexico today. In the film, the filmmakers embark on an improbable journey to the heart of Guzman's empire to find the man and the myth of "EL CHAPO", who is still at large despite the fact he remains one of the most wanted men in the world.
26th JANUARY 2014
The Green Prince, produced by Lightbox Co-Founder Simon Chinn, has won the Audience Award in the World Cinema:Documentary Category at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. The film tells the story of two men, a Hamas spy and his Israeli handler, and weaves a tangled web of intrigue, terror and betrayal.
ZAK PENN TO DIRECT LIGHTBOX-PRODUCED FILM ABOUT FABLED ATARI E.T. GAME BURIAL FOR XBOX "DIGITAL REVOLUTION" SERIES
19TH DECEMBER 2013
Lightbox has tapped Zak Penn (Incident At Loch Ness, The Avengers, XMEN 2 & 3) to direct their first in a series of films about the digital revolution for Xbox Studios.
19TH DECEMBER 2013
Two-time Academy Award® winning producer Simon Chinn and Emmy Award® winning producer Jonathan Chinn today announced the launch of Lightbox, a new multi-platform media company focused on creating high quality non-fiction programming for the small screen.
19TH DECEMBER 2013
In partnership with Lightbox, Xbox Entertainment Studios today announced an original documentary series to debut exclusively on Xbox in 2014. The series - Executive Produced by Jonathan and Simon Chinn - will tell some of the seminal, and often little known, stories about the dawn of the digital age and the global revolution which followed as a result of sweeping technological change.
STUART SCHWARTZ TO JOIN LIGHTBOX AS SVP PRODUCTION
15TH DECEMBER 2013
Lightbox is thrilled to announce that veteran producer and production executive Stuart Schwartz will be joining the company as its SVP of Production starting in the New Year. He will be based out of Lightbox's US offices in Los Angeles. Stuart will oversee all present and future Lightbox productions in both the US and the UK, and will be joining Lightbox after over 15 years of experience in documentary and reality production.
8TH DECEMBER 2013
THE GREEN PRINCE, produced by Lightbox's sister company Red Box Films, was today selected as the opening film in Sundance's World Cinema Documentary competition. It will have its world premiere in Park City on January 16th 2014. Produced by Lightbox co-founder Simon Chinn alongside director Nadav Schirman and John Battsek, the feature documentary tells the extraordinary story of the son of one of the founders of Hamas' who was recruited by Israeli intelligence and spied on his community for over a decade.
SUSANNAH PRICE JOINS LIGHTBOX AS HEAD OF DEVELOPMENT
9TH OCTOBER 2013
Susannah Price has joined Lightbox as its Head of Development to spearhead the company's growing slate of development projects and will be based out of the company's UK office. Susannah will be working closely with Lightbox co-founders Jonathan and Simon Chinn to develop and sell projects for buyers both in the US and UK. Susannah comes to Lightbox after a long and successful career as a series producer and director for many of the UK's leading production companies and broadcasters.