O'Kane put in charge of Guardian's new film unit

O’Kane: "TV the next logical step for Guardian"

Award-winning foreign correspondent Maggie O’Kane is to lead a new Guardian Newspapers TV film production company to make documentaries under the banner "Films that make a difference".

Aiming to reflect the editorial values of The Guardian, Guardian Films will tap into the expertise of the newspaper’s network of foreign correspondents.

Guardian Films’ first documentary, for the BBC, made with BBC2’s Correspondent series, is about the hunt for the indicted Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. It will be screened this Sunday (19 May).

Its second film, about the murder of prostitutes, made in conjunction with FirstFrame TV, will be screened in the autumn on Channel 4.

Guardian Films will also encourage local film-makers to provide a "ground-view" vision of major world events.

The company has been founded by editorial director O’Kane; head of development and producer/

director Fiona Lloyd-Davies, an award-winning film maker; and head of business and production Jacqui Timberlake, who has many years’ experience running a production company. The three have been working together since 1993.

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger said his journalists were "uniquely placed to respond with immediacy and authority to breaking news, and use their expertise to develop long-term, investigative stories. This facility ensures Guardian Films will offer a resource that will be the envy of other documentary producers.

"Maggie O’Kane has been at the forefront of some of our most powerful journalism in recent years and this, combined with her television successes, has established her as one of the UK’s most influential journalists."

O’Kane said: "Guardian Films is new but it is all about the strengths, traditions and ethos of The Guardian since its foundation as an independent media voice 180 years ago. Guardian Films is about the traditions of campaigning journalism, independence and influencing things that matter. It has always been clear to me that The Guardian has the kind of resources and talents that would make us the envy of any production company – TV is the next logical step." O’Kane, now the paper’s special correspondent, has won various awards, including being named journalist of the year for helping uncover torture, murder and starvation in Serb-run camps in Bosnia; Amnesty International foreign correspondent of the year; a Royal Television Society award and the James Cameron Award for journalism.

By Jean Morgan

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