FilmRise Orders ‘Making a Serial Killer’ True Crime Series

New York-based film and television studio and streaming network FilmRise has ordered a 10-episode true crime series from FirstLookTV, “Making a Serial Killer.”

The deal gives FilmRise all rights for North America, German-speaking Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

“FilmRise and FirstLookTV are both clear leaders in the true-crime space,” Max Einhorn, SVP of acquisitions and co-productions at FilmRise, said in a statement. “We are amazed by the access and exclusive content Will Hanrahan and his team have secured in this production. After the success of our co-production ‘Meet, Marry, Murder,’ we were excited to partner with FirstLookTV again on this series. Serial killers and their atrocities did not disappear after the 1970s. These look like everyday people, so heed the warning signs this show shares with you.”

Each episode focuses on a different serial killer and offers an answer to the question, “What makes a serial killer tick?” The reasons given by each killer are dissected by criminologists and psychologists and include interviews with detectives, first-person accounts by survivors and their families, and footage from interrogation rooms.

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Episodes feature accounts from the parents of a victim of Jesse Matthew, the “The Back-to-School Killer”; two siblings who survived Don Miller, the “East Lansing Serial Killer”; the lead investigator who caught Toronto’s Bruce McArthur; and much more.

FirstLookTV is an international television production company creating factual content and specializing in investigative and true crime content seen in more than 70 territories. Titles include “Evil Up Close,” “10 Steps to Murder,” “Nurses Who Kill,” “A Killer’s Mistake” and “Inside the Mind of a Serial Killer.”

True Crime Drama ‘Last Testament’ Coming to VOD Oct. 19 From Gravitas Ventures

Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to distribute writer-director Anthony Catalano’s Last Testament. It will be released Oct. 19 on VOD, with DVD and Blu-ray releases to follow.

The indie true crime drama was produced by Catalano and stars Dominick Alesia, Anna Roemer and Rima Sabal.

Last Testament explores the true story of Ricky Rodriguez and the Children of God cult. Born into the infamous cult, Ricky (Dominick Alesia) was subjected to years of abuse while also being groomed to one day lead the cult. He was finally able to escape with his wife Elixcia (Anna Roemer), but he remained haunted by his past. Ricky reaches a breaking point and he vows to take down the cult and its leaders — including his mother — by any means necessary.

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“As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and someone who struggles with mental illness, I became fascinated by the harrowing story of Ricky Rodriguez,” Catalano said in a statement. “His story isn’t a happy one, it isn’t easy or convenient, but it’s one that needs to be known.”

Last Testament was filmed in Northeast Wisconsin in May 2020, just as statewide COVID restrictions were being lifted. Its world premiere was held at the 2021 Bare Bones International Film & Music Festival, where Anthony Catalano was nominated for Best Experimental Feature Filmmaker.

Last Testament Trailer #2 from Dead Letter Productions on Vimeo.

 

True Crime BritBox Original ‘In the Footsteps of Killers’ to Stream on Service Beginning July 6

The true crime Britbox Original “In the Footsteps of Killers” is exclusively streaming on the service in North America beginning July 6.

In the series investigated like a documentary and filmed as a drama, “Silent Witness” actress Emilia Fox teams up with top criminologist Professor David Wilson to solve Britain’s most heinous murders.

Through Fox’s extensive research for her role in the hit BBC Series, she has become an expert in unsolved cases. Combining her talent with Professor Wilson’s professional background in studying serial killers, the unlikely pair investigate a different unsolved murder in each episode. The series follows the duo as they base themselves in the vicinity of the crime and reexamine the evidence for themselves. By meeting with police, witnesses, journalists, experts and others, the two walk the murder scene in the footsteps of the killer.

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There are three episodes: “The Disappearance of the Milk Carton Kids,” “The Disappearance of Suzy Lamplugh” and “The Murder of Rita Ellis.”

Discovery+ June Programming Slate Includes True Crime Series, Weight-Loss Doc

Streamer Discovery+ has announced new and original programming that will be available in June.

The lineup includes “Pushing the Line,” focusing on an extreme, high-intensity sport known as “highlining”; the true crime series “Relentless,” which documents a filmmaker and her involvement in the case of a missing young woman; and “Too Large,” a docu-series that follows seven 400- to 800-pound people on a weight-loss journey.

Other new series include Bryan and Michael Voltaggio in “Battle of the Brothers” and Michelle Buteau in “Weekend Getaway with Michelle Buteau,” executive produced by Queen Latifah.

“Pushing the Line,” which premieres June 5, gives viewers a taste of what it is like to walk on a line, hundreds of feet above the ground, on a one-inch rope that’s thinner than your belt. The series follows the top highliners and the up-and-comers of the sport, both in action and behind the scenes.

“Relentless,” which debuts June 28, follows the case of 21-year-old Christina Whittaker, whose disappearance in the small town of Hannibal, Mo., triggered a frantic search. Eight months later, filmmaker Christina Fontana met Whittaker’s mother when filming a documentary about the families of missing persons — and her focus changed to explore the intricacies of that one case. Using more than 400 hours of footage from field investigations and video diaries filmed over 11 years, this documentary follows not only a complex search for a missing person, but the journey of a filmmaker who becomes dangerously ensnared by the story she’s documenting.

“Too Large,” launching June 2,  introduces viewers to seven desperate hopefuls, each weighing between 400 and 800 pounds, who seek the help of renowned bariatric surgeon Dr. Charles Procter as they attempt to lose weight and change their lives forever.

“Battle of the Brothers” (June 17) pits Bryan and Michael Voltaggio against one another as they each lead a team of aspiring chefs in a culinary competition.

And “Weekend Getaway With Michelle Buteau” (June 10) finds the comedian, actor and author hitting the road for a few weekends of fun, food and wild times, from the Gulf Coast of Mississippi with Tig Notaro to New Orleans with Sasheer Zamata to Malibu with Chelsea Peretti.

Other new shows include “Shock Docs: The Devil Made Me Do It” (June 11), which follows a bizarre murder case in which a Connecticut man insists “the devil made me do it”; “90 Day Journey: Pride Month” (June 6), a curated miniseries of “90 Day” couples’ love stories from the beginning to the present day; and “The House My Wedding Bought” (June 16), which follows designer and real estate expert Breegan Jane (from “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” as she helps couples on a budget who want to pay for a dream wedding as well as put a down payment on a house.