Realscreen January/February 2019

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030 JANUARY / FEBRUARY '19 hen Amy Entelis joined CNN in 2012, she was on a mission to transform CNN from a solely news-based cable net to a prime destination for long-form premium storytelling. "I think we have achieved that," Entelis, executive vice president for talent and content development for CNN Worldwide, tells realscreen, at the close of a year that suggests she's right. Entelis was responsible for launching four content brands for the network's global platform, including the non- fi ction focused CNN Original Series and HLN Original Series; and the documentary platforms, CNN Films and CNN Films Presents. Since joining CNN six years ago after 30 years with ABC News, Entelis and her team have developed more than 35 non-fi ction series. The most successful of those, the Zero Point Zero-produced Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, aired its 12th and fi nal season in 2018. Bourdain tragically took his life in the midst of shooting the new season, and several episodes aired posthumously. Meanwhile, CNN Films has acquired, co-produced, or commissioned more than 40 feature and short fi lms, including three of the year's buzziest docs: RBG, directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen; Three Identical Strangers, directed by Tim Wardle; and Love, Gilda by Lisa D'Apolito. The variety and quality of storytelling Entelis has overseen through her tenure has drawn in a new and younger audience for CNN. "We did it very purposely because we wanted new voices, we wanted new points of view, and we felt that the documentary community was rich in those kinds of people that could provide that kind of programming," she says. What are the criteria you're looking for when investing in a fi lm? It starts with a topic and theme. We rely heavily on CNN to support CNN Films and Original Series, so we do companion programming. It has to fi t the zeitgeist of the network. Beyond that, it has to have a defi ned narrative. Films do well on CNN that are character-based, and that are illustrating larger themes and issues that we talk about on CNN. In 2019 CNN is producing a biographical documentary on Anthony Bourdain. What can you tell me about the project and of Bourdain's importance to the network? On the Original Series side, it's impossible to overstate how impactful Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown has been for CNN. It set a path for other people who wanted to work with CNN and do original series. His loss to us, and his family and his team, is really immeasurable. In terms of the documentary, we want to honor Tony. I think we want to explore more deeply how he did what he did, why he did what he did, how his craft developed, how his view of the world developed, and somehow capture that in a documentary fi lm. What does the success of RBG, Three Identical Strangers and Love, Gilda mean for CNN? We are immensely proud of those projects and to be identifi ed with those fi lmmakers... We feel like CNN is in a groove where we have been able to defi ne what we are about, what stories we care about and what we are seeing — at least theatrically and through performances on CNN — is that audiences agree with us. I think we hit our mark. Selina Chignall W AMY ENTELIS EVP, talent and content development CNN Worldwide

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