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HBO Acquires Worldwide Rights To Documentary Foster, From Oscar®-Winners Mark Jonathan Harris and Deborah Oppenheimer


Earcylene Beavers and Casi from Foster

 NEW YORK, NY (Aug. 23, 2018) – HBO Documentary Films has acquired worldwide TV and streaming rights to Participant Media and Emerson Collective’s documentary feature film FOSTER. Producer Deborah Oppenheimer and writer-director Mark Jonathan Harris (HBO’s Oscar®-winning “Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport”) reunite to upend some of the most enduring myths about foster care, going beyond the sensational headlines and stereotypes. The Sabine Films production, which recently had its world premiere at AFI DOCS Film Festival in Washington, D.C., will debut on HBO in 2019.

 There are currently more than 400,000 children in foster care in the U.S., a number that continues to grow each year. Drawing on unprecedented access, FOSTER traces a complex path through the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services, interweaving first-hand stories of those navigating the system with insights from social workers, advocates and others working in the justice system. The film offers a realistic but hopeful perspective on a community that needs society’s support.

Committed to ensuring that FOSTER makes a positive difference, Participant Media is developing a multi-stakeholder social impact campaign that hopes to engage elected officials and other leaders, as well as organizations across the country, in a coordinated effort to create more visibility, support, and resources for children and families in the foster care system. This initiative will highlight successful practitioners and programs that accelerate solutions focused on strengthening families.

Mark Jonathan Harris and Deborah Oppenheimer note, “We're thrilled to be partnering with HBO and can't imagine a better place for FOSTER. We had a wonderful experience working with them on ‘Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport,’ and we look forward to collaborating with them again in bringing our new film to as many viewers as possible. We're grateful to HBO for their passion and support and are excited to be working with their outstanding team.”

Diane Weyermann, president of Documentary Film and Television for Participant Media, adds, “FOSTER, beautifully crafted by Mark and Deborah, is an honest and deeply committed account of a community that deserves our attention and support. We are incredibly pleased to be working again with our friends at HBO as they bring this important story to audiences around the world.”

Featuring the original song “Tiny Victories,” performed by Atlantic Records singer-songwriter Christina Perri, FOSTER was also made possible by a grant and support from Casey Family Programs, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and the Barry and Wendy Meyer Foundation.

The deal for FOSTER was negotiated with HBO by Submarine Entertainment’s Josh Braun, as well as Gabriel Brakin, Participant Media’s General Counsel and EVP of Business Affairs, and Krista Wegener, Participant’s SVP of Sales and Distribution.

Participant Media and Emerson Collective present FOSTER, a Sabine Films Production; writer/director, Mark Jonathan Harris; produced by Deborah Oppenheimer, p.g.a.; a film by Deborah Oppenheimer and Mark Jonathan Harris; producers, Lisa Remington, Samantha Polan; executive producers, Jeff Skoll, Diane Weyermann; editor, Kate Amend, ACE; director of photography, Nick Higgins; music, Gary Lionelli; sound designer, Gary Rydstrom; music supervisor, Tracy McKnight; original song “Tiny Victories” performed by Christina Perri. 

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Participant MediaAbout Participant Media

Founded in 2004 by Jeff Skoll, Participant Media’s (www.participantmedia.com) content combines the power of a good story well told with opportunities for real world impact and awareness around the most pressing global issues of our time. As an industry content leader, Participant annually produces up to six narrative feature films, five documentary films, three episodic television series, and more than 40 hours of digital short form programming, through its digital subsidiary SoulPancake—all aimed at entertainment that inspires social awareness and engaging audiences to participate in positive social change. Participant’s content and social impact mandate speaks directly to the rise of today’s “conscious consumer,” representing over 2 billion consumers who are compelled to make impactful content a priority focus. Through its worldwide network of traditional and digital distribution, aligned with partnerships with key non-profit and NGO organizations, Participant is positioned uniquely within the industry to engage a rapidly growing audience while bringing global awareness and action to today’s most vital issues.

Participant’s more than 80 films, including Spotlight, Contagion, Lincoln, The Help, He Named Me Malala, The Look of Silence, CITIZENFOUR, Food, Inc. and An Inconvenient Truth, have collectively earned 56 Academy Award® nominations and 12 wins, including Best Picture for Spotlight and Best Foreign Language Film for A Fantastic Woman. Participant’s digital entertainment division, SoulPancake (www.soulpancake.com), is an award-winning provider of thought-provoking, joyful, and uplifting digital content including such widely popular series as Kid President and The Science of Happiness and reaches an audience of nearly 9 million fans. Follow Participant Media on Twitter and on Facebook and Instagram. Follow SoulPancake on Twitter and on Facebook and Instagram.