Zak Penn to Direct First Film in Documentary Series for Xbox


Two-time Academy Award-winning producer Simon Chinn and Emmy Award-winning producer Jonathan Chinn today announced the launch of Lightbox, a new multi-platform media company focused on creating high quality non-fiction programming for the small screen. The company’s first project is a landmark series of films for Xbox Entertainment Studios about the start of the digital revolution.

Drawing on successful careers in different areas of non-fiction, the Chinns – who are cousins – are intent on pooling their collective experience and shared creative vision to build a distinctive brand. Through his existing company Red Box Films (which will be strongly aligned with Lightbox), Simon has built a career as one of the world’s most successful feature documentary producers with two Academy Award-winning documentaries, Man on Wire and Searching for Sugar Man, to his credit among many others. Jonathan has become one of the most respected non-fiction television showrunners in the US, with an Emmy for “American High” (Fox/PBS) and the Television Academy’s prestigious Honors Award for “30 Days” (FX).

“Our careers have taken different paths, but we have always had a strongly shared sensibility and approach to non-fiction – mine at the more commercial end of feature documentary, Jonathan’s at the more thoughtful end of reality. I am incredibly excited by the creative opportunities that exist to break new ground and find new audiences for our content,” said Simon Chinn, co-founder of Lightbox. “Being able to work with top industry talent is what will set us apart.”

Added Jonathan Chinn, co-founder of Lightbox, “With so many new distribution opportunities now available, our ability to combine the highest quality content with broad commercial appeal will, we hope, make us stand out for a whole array of buyers hungry for the best in non-fiction programming.”

Lightbox’s first greenlit project is a multi-film series shedding light on how the digital age was born. The first film in the groundbreaking series investigates the events surrounding the great video game burial of 1983. The Atari Corporation, faced with overwhelmingly negative response to ET the Video Game, buried millions of unsold game cartridges in the middle of the night, in the small town of Alamogordo, New Mexico.

Each film will be helmed by a different director and will range from an hour to feature length. Zak Penn (X-Men 2, Avengers, Incident At Loch Ness) has signed on to direct the first film.

Headquartered in London and Los Angeles, Lightbox is currently developing projects for outlets ranging from broadcast network and cable, to on-demand subscription services and online distribution platforms in both the U.S. and U.K.