Sundance breakout 'Three Identical Strangers' to be adapted by Film4


Channel 4

Raw, which produced the Sundance breakout documentary Three Identical Strangers, will partner with Film4 and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment (SKE) on a feature film adaptation, it was announced today by Director of Film4 Daniel Battsek, SKE President John Penotti, and Raw’s Dimitri Doganis.

Raw, Film4 and SKE will develop a new narrative feature film based on the story, after widespread interest and fierce, multi-studio competitive bidding in the life rights of Robert Shafran and David Kellman, two of the identical triplets at the heart of the documentary. The sale was handled by Josh Braun of Submarine Entertainment, who also brokered the distribution deal for the documentary out of Sundance. Head of Creative Ollie Madden and Senior Legal and Business Affairs Executive Louise Long handled the negotiation for Film4, Head of Business and Legal Affairs Executive Brian Kornreich represented SKE, and Evan Krauss of Gray Krauss Sandler Des Rochers LLP handled negotiations for Shafran and Kellman. Raw will produce the film, in partnership with SKE.

Raw’s original documentary feature Three Identical Strangers premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was awarded the Special Jury Prize for Documentary Storytelling. The documentary, directed by Tim Wardle and financed and executive produced by CNN Films and Channel 4 (UK), was the highest-grossing limited release documentary, per screen, of the year thus far on its opening weekend. Currently nearing $3million at the US box office, the film is still expanding into more cinemas. CNN Films retains U.S. television rights to Three Identical Strangers. Neon, which acquired the North American distribution rights from CNN Films, released the documentary on June 29. Channel 4 has UK TV rights.

Set in New York over several decades, Three Identical Strangers documents the fascinating true story of Shafran, Kellman and Eddy Galland, three complete strangers who inadvertently discover that they are identical triplets separated at birth. When the 19-year-olds' joyous reunion catapults them to international fame, it also sets a chain of extraordinary and disturbing events in motion.

Raw’s Katherine Butler and Dimitri Doganis and SKE’s Sidney Kimmel and John Penotti will produce the as yet untitled narrative feature film. Film4’s Daniel Battsek and Sam Lavender, Submarine’s Josh Braun and Dan Braun, and doc director Tim Wardle will serve as Executive Producers. Mark O’Connor will oversee development on behalf of SKE.

Raw’s Katherine Butler said, “This is an incredible series of true events that naturally lends itself to a narrative telling, and we are delighted to be working with SKE and Film4 to bring Robert, David and Eddy’s story to the widest audience possible”

Film4’s Daniel Battsek commented, “Robert, David and Eddy’s extraordinary story made a huge impact on me when I saw Three Identical Strangers at Sundance. We were all struck by its dramatic potential and look forward to the challenge of capturing the emotion and revelations of the triplets’ journey, with our partners at Raw and SKE.”

SKE’s Penotti said of the documentary, “The early morning Sundance screening of Three Identical Strangers was a deeply moving and compelling experience. We were absolutely blown away by the story and Raw’s extraordinary work in bringing it to the screen. Being granted the opportunity to expand upon this story in a narrative feature is an honor and a privilege.”

Shafran and Kellman add, “We are delighted and honored to partner with such a talented and creative team. We trust that they will treat our story with respect and create an amazing dramatic version of our lives.”

Raw and Film4’s most recent collaboration American Animals, directed by Bart Layton, also premiered at Sundance and was released on June 1st in the US by The Orchard and MoviePass. STX will release the film in the UK on September 7th.

Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, a division of SK Global, counts among its upcoming projects the comedy Crazy Rich Asians, a co-production with Warner Bros. from director Jon Chu (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) and starring Constance Wu and Michelle Yeoh, set for release in the US on August 15, 2018; and the psychological thriller The Widow, from writer/director Neil Jordan (The Crying Game) and starring Isabelle Huppert and Chloë Grace Moretz.


Press contacts:

For SKE – Christine Foy, The Angellotti Company 818-506-7887

For Raw – Kerry Marmion, Raw +44 (0) 207 456 0815

For Film4 – Phil Cairns, Film4 +44 (0) 20 7306 1049


Film4 is Channel 4 Television’s feature film division. Film4 develops and co-finances films and is known for working with the most distinctive and innovative talent in UK and international filmmaking, both new and established.

Film4 has developed and co-financed many of the most successful UK films of recent years, Academy Award®-winners such as Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Lenny Abrahamson’s Room, Alex Garland’s Ex Machina, Asif Kapadia’s box office record breaking documentary Amy, Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire and Phyllida Lloyd’s The Iron Lady, in addition to critically-acclaimed award-winners such as Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here, Andrea Arnold’s American Honey, Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Lobster, Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner, Chris Morris’s Four Lions, Shane Meadows’ This is England, Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant, Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin, Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years and David Mackenzie’s Starred Up.

Film4’s recent releases include Andrew Haigh’s Lean on Pete, Clio Barnard’s Dark River, Michael Pearce’s Beast, Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Rungano Nyoni’s I Am Not a Witch, and Danny Boyle’s T2 Trainspotting. Forthcoming releases include Bart Layton’s American Animals, Sebastián Lelio’s Disobedience, Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War, Lenny Abrahamson’s The Little Stranger, Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Favourite, Tinge Krishnan’s Been So Long, Iain Morris’s The Festival, Mike Leigh’s Peterloo, Steve McQueen’s Widows, Stephen Merchant’s Fighting With My Family, Tom Harper’s Wild Rose and Jim Hosking’s An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn. Films in production or pre-production include Armando Iannucci’s The Personal History of David Copperfield, Asif Kapadia’s Maradona, Nick Rowland’s Calm With Horses, Justin Kurzel’s True History of the Kelly Gang, Coky Giedroyc’s adaptation of Caitlin Moran’s How To Build a Girl, and Chaplin from Peter Middleton and James Spinney.

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Raw is an award-winning London-based film and television production company producing high-end scripted and unscripted projects for broadcasters worldwide, alongside a substantial feature film slate.

Founded in 2001 by Dimitri Doganis, and now part of ALL3 Media, Raw’s senior management team also includes CEO Joely Fether, Creative Director Bart Layton, Head of Film and TV Drama Katherine Butler, EVP of US TV Adam Hawkins, and Managing Director Piers Vellacott.

Raw’s narrative feature film, American Animals, directed by Bart Layton premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2018 in US Dramatic Competition, alongside Tim Wardle’s documentary feature Three Identical Strangers which won the Jury Prize for Storytelling in US Documentary Competition. Raw currently has nine feature films in funded development, with 2 scheduled for production in 2018.

Raw has enjoyed a string of successful series and one-offs in the UK and US originally in documentary and unscripted genres, including Bart Layton’s BAFTA-winning feature documentary The Imposter, Discovery’s top long-running TV series Gold Rush, eleven seasons of Locked Up Abroad (National Geographic Channel), and ratings hit Race for the White House (CNN). UK credits include the recent Chris Packham – Aspergers and Me (BBC), BAFTA-winning Drug Trial (BBC), and feature documentary The Silk Road: Drugs, Death and the Dark Web. Raw moved into scripted production following the appointment of Katherine Butler to head the Scripted Film and Television Department in 2014. Scripted credits include the critically acclaimed Cyberbully (C4) in the UK, and the ratings hit US mini-series Harley and the Davidsons (Discovery) with a large slate of TV projects to follow.


Founded by financier and producer Sidney Kimmel in 2004, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment is a Los Angeles-based, wholly independent finance and production company focused on financing and producing high profile, quality entertainment projects—in association with studio distribution partners—for global audiences. Their recent films include the box office hit Hell or High Water, which was nominated for 4 Academy Awards including Best Picture; and the Toronto International Film Festival breakout Brad’s Status, written and directed by Mike White (School of Rock) and starring Ben Stiller.

Kimmel and/or SKE have co-financed and produced/co-produced more than 45 motion pictures. SKE releases include the hit thriller The Lincoln Lawyer, starring Matthew McConaughey; The Place Beyond the Pines, co-written and directed by Derek Cianfrance, and starring Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper; and the Oscar-nominated United 93, directed by Paul Greengrass.

In 2017, SKE announced a merger with the international local-language content company Ivanhoe Pictures, to form SK Global. China Cultural and Entertainment Fund (CCEF), a China-focused private equity fund and prominent investment management company, is taking a substantial equity position in SK Global. Together, the new entity will focus on premium content with worldwide reach and local market understanding.

Source Channel 4

July 20, 2018 12:00am ET by Channel 4  

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