A new film about the development, regulation and roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines from “How to Survive a Plague” director David France has scored a raft of international sales.
Documentary specialists Dogwoof have sold the film — which will debut on HBO and HBO Max in 2022 — into Sky in the U.K., Germany and Italy; NRK for Norway; DR for Denmark; SVT for Sweden; Channel 8 and YesDocu for Israel; and HBO and HBO Max in Latin America.
Filming on the documentary, which is still untitled, began in April 2020 and wrapped in October. The project is now in post-production.
“COVID-19 has proved one of the most challenging and deadly diseases for vaccine scientists,” said France in a statement. “From the first effective vaccine to the current scramble to respond to an ever-changing virus, to their politically perilous efforts reaching patients in the far corners of the earth, we have been embedded in every aspect of this historic undertaking to produce the most heart-pulsing story of our time. Science and humanity will never be the same.”
France — who is also an investigative reporter and author — has become a prominent voice for LGBTQ issues in the documentary community. He is best known for the Oscar-nominated 2012 documentary “How to Survive a Plague,” which detailed the early years of the AIDS epidemic. (The film was followed in 2016 by an eponymous book, penned by France.) His other films include “The Death and Life of Martha P. Johnson” (2017), about a prominent trans rights activist in New York, and most recently “Welcome to Chechnya” (2020), on the Russian republic’s anti-gay purges in the 2010s.
Cleo Veger, sales manager for Dogwoof, added: “This film is a landmark investigation inside the COVID-19 vaccines with access from the initial stages of development and following through to community distribution and everything in between.”
An HBO documentary produced by Public Square Films in association with Impact Partners and Sandbox Films, the feature is directed by France and produced by Mira Chang.
Shot across five continents, the film boasts some of the science community’s leading figures, including Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID); Dr. Dan Barouch, director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and head scientist for Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine; Dr. Albert Bourla, chairman and CEO of Pfizer; Dr. Glenda Gray, president and CEO of South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), and the face of the South African COVID-19 response; and Science Magazine’s Jon Cohen, one of the preeminent reporters on COVID-19 vaccines, who also serves as consultant and project advisor.