HBO Films has scooped up political thriller “The Whistle Blower” in turnaround from Focus Features, based on the real-life tale of a female Nebraska cop who served as a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia and outed the U.N. for covering up a sex scandal.
Producing are Christina Piovesan of Toronto’s First Generation Films and former Focus exec VP of production Amy Kaufman, who had brought the project into U’s specialty arm.
Larysa Kondracki will direct from a script she penned with Eilis Kirwan. The tyro scribes drew extensively from the story of Kathryn Bolkovac, who traveled to Bosnia in 1999 as a U.N. peacekeeper.
Bolkovac, whose post with the Intl. Police Task Force was arranged by DynCorp Inc., was assigned to run the IPTF office that investigated sex trafficking, domestic abuse and sexual assault. She ultimately alleged that peacekeepers, U.N. workers and international police were visiting brothels and facilitating sex trafficking by forging documents and aiding the illegal transport of woman into Bosnia.
DynCorp responded by firing Bolkovac, who returned to the U.S. and filed a wrongful termination case. She won the suit but says she’s still blacklisted.
Script was developed while Kondracki was a film student at Columbia U. and after she and Piovesan secured the life rights to Bolkovac’s story.
Kaufman left Focus last year to form her own shingle, the Gotham-based Primary Prods. Among her projects is an untitled thriller she’s producing for Rogue Pictures. Pic will be helmed by Victor Garcia in his directorial debut.
HBO Films has a number of films slated for release in the coming months through Picturehouse, including Brit romantic comedy “Starter for Ten” and Russian nuclear drama “The Half Life of Timofey Berezin.” It’s also in production on Jeff Bridges-starrer “A Dog Year.”