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EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros. Unscripted Television, the division run by Mike Darnell, is entering the feature documentary acquisitions market with its first big purchase – rights to Canadian true-con doc The Talented Mr. Rosenberg.
While the unit has produced documentaries such as HBO Max’s LGBTQ series Equal and Epix’s Charles Manson series Helter Skelter as well as an upcoming DC Comics doc, this marks the first time that it has picked up the global rights, outside of Canada, to a doc coming out of a market.
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The Talented Mr. Rosenberg, which tells the story of Canadian jet-setting con artist Albert Rosenberg, who is described as a cross between Bernie Madoff and The Tinder Swindler Simon Leviev, recently premiered at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.
Warner Bros. Unscripted Television, in association with its sibling Warner Horizon, will now shop it to broadcasters and streamers in the U.S. and internationally outside of Canada, where it will air on CBC.
The move puts the two Warner Bros. divisions in line with its new sister company Discovery+, which has been aggressively moving into the feature doc space, snapping up festival titles such as Introducing, Selma Blair and Keith Maitland’s Dear Mr. Brody.
The Talented Mr. Rosenberg tells the story of how journalist Courtney Shea exposed septuagenarian Rosenberg, a handsome, fashionable man with a taste for the finer things in life, who is also a lifelong con artist with a history of heartbreaking betrayal, outrageous lies and elaborate masquerades.
Dubbed the Yorkville Swindler, Rosenberg is now ready to set the record straight—or is he? In the film, he attempts to provide insight into his mind and motives. To balance Rosenberg’s self-aggrandizing tales, The Talented Mr. Rosenberg talks to some of his victims, the people who fell for his cons over and over again. These include not only his ex-wife and ex-girlfriend, but also one of his own daughters.
The Talented Mr. Rosenberg is directed by Melbar Entertainment Group’s Barry Avrich, who directed The Last Mogul, a film about Lew Wasserman, as well as a number of projects about Harvey Weinstein. It is produced by Avrich, Shea, Caitlin Cheddie and Mark Selby.
Mike Darnell, President, Warner Bros. Unscripted Television, said, “Several years ago, Warner Bros. Unscripted Television became a major player in the documentary space and securing the rights to The Talented Mr. Rosenberg is a continuation of that momentum and success.”
Brooke Karzen, Head of Warner Horizon, added “We are excited to partner with Barry on his latest project because we immediately recognized and appreciated the film’s combination of outrageousness and entertainment. In a world that has become obsessed with capers, con artists and crime, The Talented Mr. Rosenberg is a delicious guilty pleasure.”
Avrich is repped by APA.
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