The project was announced Thursday by Film4 president Daniel Battsek, SKE President John Penotti and Raw’s Dimitri Doganis. The feature garnered widespread interest and multi-studio bidding for the life rights of Robert Shafran and David Kellman, two of the identical triplets at the heart of the documentary.
Set in New York over several decades, Three Identical Strangers documented the true story of Shafran, Kellman and Eddy Galland, three complete strangers who inadvertently discover that they are identical triplets who were separated at birth. When the 19-year-olds’ joyous reunion catapults them to international fame, it also sets a chain of extraordinary and disturbing events in motion.
Raw’s documentary, directed by Tim Wardle and financed and executive produced by CNN Films and the U.K.’s Channel 4, was the highest-grossing limited release documentary, per screen, of the year thus far on its opening weekend. Currently nearing $3 million at the U.S. box office, the film is still expanding into more cinemas.
CNN Films retains U.S. television rights to Three Identical Strangers. Neon, which acquired the North American distribution rights from CNN Films, released the documentary on June 29. Channel 4 has U.K. TV rights.
Raw’s Doganis and Katherine Butler, SKE’s Kimmel and Penotti will produce the as yet untitled narrative feature film. Film4’s Battsek and Sam Lavender, Submarine’s Josh Braun and Dan Braun, and doc director Wardle will serve as executive producers. Mark O’Connor will oversee development on behalf of SKE.