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Discovery UK buys Idris Elba doc

Idris-PhotoDiscovery Networks has acquired actor Idris Elba’s personal journey documentary Mandela, My Dad and Me.

Elba (The WireLuther) has been in town with his company, Green Door Pictures, and distributor Content Media to promote the doc, and news of his doc’s first sale, into the UK and Ireland, came at a drinks reception yesterday evening.

Mandela, My Dad and Me was initially planned as documentation of Elba’s attempt to make a music album while preparing for his role playing inspirational South African political leader, but morphed into a more personal journey after his father passed away just before filming.

“We had a clear directive in the beginning that was governed by all you expect from a normal documentary, but what we didn’t factor in was life – what happens when the cameras aren’t rolling,” Elba told TBI here in Cannes at MIPTV. “There was a lot going on that was just a bit more interesting than just making an album.”

Elba’s prodco, Green Door, coproduced the film with UK indie Woodcut Media and Shine North, with Content attached as distributor.

Green Door was making a concerted effort in the factual and drama television spaces, Elba told TBI. It has already coproduced Sky1 talent show Launching People with Jamie Oliver Media Group’s Fresh One, and created music docs for Channel 4 in the UK.

“Green Door has been producing for about two years, but I was literally running the business from my laptop with my agents,” he said. “Over the last year, I’ve been building a small development team and hired a CFO, and we’re really starting to grow now. Drama and factual television are my fortés, so we’re spending time in that area, and we’re getting into feature film.”