CNN has created a film unit to acquire feature-length documentaries to air on the cable news organization's U.S. and international networks.
CNN Films has signed development deals with Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer) and director Andrew Rossi (Page One: Inside the New York Times) to create original documentaries for CNN. Gibney has worked closely with HBO, where many of his films including Taxi to the Dark Side and the upcoming Mea Maxima Culpa, about child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, have received their television premieres.
CNN Films will kick off with Girl Rising, Richard Robbins' documentary about ten girls from ten countries who are battling the odds to achieve their dreams. The girls featured were each selected by prominent female writers including Edwidge Danticat (who emigrated from Haiti to Brooklyn when she was a girl) and Egyptian writer and activist Mona Eltahawy. The film is produced by global action campaign 10 X 10, which promotes girls’ education. Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Selena Gomez and Kerry Washington are among the celebrities who narrate the film. Girl Rising will air on CNN’s networks in 2013, in conjunction with a theatrical release.