O'Hair murder focus for new pic

British documentary helmer Leslie Woodhead is making a film examining what it is like to be an atheist in contemporary America.

“Godless in America,” produced by U.K. indie October Films for the BBC and the Sundance Channel in the U.S., follows the struggle of American atheists interwoven with the story of Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the founder of American Atheists, who was murdered in 1995 at age 76.

Woodhead, whose films have been shown widely by HBO, is one of the pioneers of drama-documentary.

“The story of Madalyn Murray O’Hair is a classic piece of American Gothic and is highly appropriate for the Sundance audience,” said Woodhead. “The campaign of the people who choose to be godless in America has a very special relevance now. It will be a dark, funny and scary film.”

Film is being financed by the BBC’s Storyville strand and exec produced by Storyville topper Nick Fraser. Other coin is being invested by the Sundance Channel and Woodhead hopes to find backers for the one-hour film elsewhere in Europe and in Oz.

“Godless in America” will be shown in the U.S. before the end of the year. In the U.K. it will air on BBC4 at a date to be decided.

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