First Hand Films

Op-ed: #MeToo hasn’t done enough for documentary

First Hand Films founder Esther van Messel details how the #MeToo movement has not translated into bringing more documentaries about and featuring women to screens.  The #MeToo movement has not changed very much in the world of non-fiction. For a field that is meant to be about setting the agenda, providing authenticity and getting to […]

Broadcasters fall for Swedish Theory of Love

A raft of broadcasters have acquired The Swedish Theory of Love (pictured), a one-off doc about Swedish life and Swede’s outlook on the world. ORF in Austria, CBC in Canada, HRT in Croatia, Yes in Israel and RTV in Slovenia have all acquired the film. The Fasad Cine Production is distributed by First Hand Films, […]

Blue chip to new chip: natural history with bite

Stewart Clarke speaks to commissioners, producers, distributors and digital pioneers about their efforts to reimagine the natural history genre. Alastair Fothergill is the embodiment of blue-chip, making landmark series for the BBC and films for Disney Nature, but he is now seeking to reinvent the genre, out of necessity as much as anything. “When I […]

Euro nets make First Hand plays

Four European broadcasters are among buyers of documentary programming from Switzerland-based First Hand Films. VRT in Belgium has taken the 1x56mins Ida’s Diary, which is about a troubled Norwegian woman that keeps a video diary. Estonia’s ERR bought the 3x52mins Faith Love Desire and 1x57mins And Who Taught You to Drive?, meanwhile. Latvian TV took […]

First Hand goes Thru You Princess

Four broadcasters have prebought Israeli-produced social media-themed music doc Thru You Princess from Switzerland’s First Hand Films. The 1x56mins / 1x90mins programme follows Israeli musician Kutiman, who trawled the internet to find a singer that he could feature on a new album. First Hand bills it as “a film about long-lasting anonymity in a world […]

First Hand closes ZDF, NHK deals

Factual specialist First Hand Films has secured a batch of deals, including selling a one-off doc about a Holocaust survivor to Germany’s ZDF. The 1x50mins Dark Side follows a father who took revenge after surviving the Holocaust during Worls War II. Elsewhere, First Hand sold And Who Taught You to Drive to RTS in French-speaking […]

First Hand deals in Death – A Series About Life

Switzerland-based distributor First Hand Films has struck a raft of international deals for its factual titles. Swedish public broadcast channel UR has acquired Death – A Series About Life (pictured), a five-part doc about looking at different aspects of and attitudes to dying around the world. UR bought the show as part of a wider […]

HBO Europe buys North Korea doc

HBO Europe has acquired a documentary about North Korean refugees hiding in China, one of a number of deals distributor First Hand Films has secured. HBO’s deal is for the 1x58mins The Defector – Escape from North Korea, which is filmed undercover and follows the journey thousands of North Koreans make to China. Elsewhere, RSI […]

Dutch channel buys Sinai Desert kidnap doc

A Dutch public broadcaster has become the latest to acquire The Sound of Torture, a chilling documentary about refugee kidnappings in the Sinai Desert. Esther Van Messel, CEO of the film’s distributor First Hand Films, told TBI pubcaster Vara has acquired the 1x52mins doc (aka Journey Story), which comes from Israel’s Trabelsi Production and satcaster […]

The War Report

With the 100th anniversary of the most terrible conflict in world history coming in 2014, Jesse Whittock identifies the projects and producers that will shape World War I in the minds of a new generation of TV viewers. War programming has the unique power to shock, appall and intrigue in equal measures, hence its enduring […]