Fremantle acquired global distribution rights for Expectation TV's “Hell Jumper”

The documentary, produced by Adriana Timco and directed by Paddy Wivell, will air on BBC Two and iPlayer in the summer of 2024,

24 JUN 2024

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Fremantle has acquired the global distribution rights for "Hell Jumper", a new feature documentary from Expectation TV. Produced by Adriana Timco. Directed by Paddy Wivell. Executive Producer is Colin Barr. Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Carl Callam. The documentary is distributed internationally by Fremantle and will air on BBC Two and iPlayer summer 2024. "Hell Jumper" will air on BBC Two and iPlayer in summer 2024.

At the heart of the film is 28-year-old Chris Parry from Cornwall who, without telling his family, decided to head to Ukraine where he met other civilian evacuators from all over the world. The so-called Hell Jumpers’ crowdfunded vehicles and equipment to help people escape their homes. "Hell Jumper" is the story of the war in Ukraine as you’ve never seen it, captured through the eyes and the extraordinary first-person footage of a group of volunteers saving strangers’ lives in one of the most dangerous places on Earth. It is an unforgettable, immersive story of courage, passion and loss among idealistic young people risking their lives in the middle of a war zone, without military support.

Chris Parry and his friends uploaded footage of their rescue missions to social media, as a way of raising money to fund their operations. He also fell in love with a young Ukrainian woman called Olya, and the film features their voice notes and texts as they attempt to build a normal romance together against the backdrop of war. Chris Parry died alongside another volunteer Andrew Bagshaw, as they tried to help evacuate a woman from an area of heavy bombardment in eastern Ukraine. For the first time Chris’ story will be told, sharing this uniquely personal and modern perspective of war. "Hell Jumper" remembers Chris’ extraordinary story and hears from his family and fellow excavators.

Colin Barr, Creative Director, Factual & Factual Drama, Expectation TV, said: “When I first saw Chris’ footage and spoke to his amazing family, this felt like a film that had to be made. It’s tragic, inspiring, and deeply moving. This story of idealistic and courageous young people risking everything on the frontline is a unique lens on a terrible war. We know Chris is thought to have saved more than 400 people and was awarded a medal by the Ukrainian government, but his legacy is truly felt in the love and sense of loss expressed by those who knew him. We’re very proud that the BBC worked with us to make the film and thrilled that Fremantle will help us take it to a worldwide audience.”

Céire Clark, Senior Acquisitions Manager, International at Fremantle said: "This is a remarkable tale of resilience and we’re looking forward to sharing this extraordinary and heart-wrenching story. ‘Hell Jumper’ not only illuminates the bravery and idealism of youth in times of crisis but also underscores the power of love in the darkest moments. We’re delighted to be working with Expectation TV, and look forward to bringing this story to a global audience.”

The announcement follows the news that Fremantle is also handling global distribution for “Elizabeth Taylor: Rebel Superstar w/t” (Passion Pictures, BBC) and “A Brief History of the Future” (Futurific Studios, DreamCrew, PBS). Fremantle has made several strategic investments to support and bolster their growth strategy within the documentary and non-scripted market which includes more than 20 Fremantle documentary labels, producing in over 12 territories. Most recently, the company welcomed Beach House Pictures and Asacha Media Group to the Fremantle family. This follows the acquisition of 72 Films, Wildstar Films and Silvio Productions in 2022, as well as the launch of premium documentaries label, Undeniable last year at the CPH:DOX.