Viacom’s BET is exploring the men and women on the front lines fighting police brutality and injustice in a ten-part series from Critical Content-backed Renowned Films.
Copwatch America marks the biggest commission to date for the British production company, which has offices in LA and which Tom Forman’s Critical owns a stake.
The series is a character-centric ob-doc that follows copwatchers from two U.S. cities including lifelong activists. The copwatchers, armed with cameras, fight every day to protect citizens, amplify the truth, and keep abuses of power in check. It will examine all sides of the story, also featuring police officers who insist they’re just trying to build up their communities.
The show was created by Renowned Films, which was set up by Max Welch, Duane Jones and Tim Withers in 2012, and is co-produced by Critical Content. Welch, Jones and Withers exec produce alongside Forman. The indie has previously made Copwatchers for the BBC, The Women Who Kill Lions for Channel 4 and Bravo reality series Backyard Envy.
“BET Networks is committed to bringing important stories of systemic issues of race and justice across our nation to light. We are taking this on in a way no other brand and network can, through platforms like our powerful Finding Justice franchise and Copwatch America,” said Marisa Levy, VP Head of Unscripted, BET Networks. “We look forward to partner with acclaimed storytellers Renowned Films and Critical Content and continue to empower our community and focus on activists who use video cameras to protect the rights and in some cases, the lives of African Americans in police encounters.”
Welch said, “We’re incredibly excited to be working with BET and the Copwatch movement on such an important and powerful series. Copwatch America will be shocking, eye opening, exhilarating, explosive must watch action getting to the core of one of the biggest issues facing America, its police and the communities they serve today. Prepare for plenty of confrontation, powerful personal stories, injustices and debate, as we capture the groundbreaking stories of those on both sides of the story in search of truth.”
Jones said, “It has never been more of an important time to bring the remarkable stories of copwatchers across the U.S. and their continued fight against injustice to the public. Renowned understands how important the conversation sparked by Copwatch America will be, and we look forward to working with BET to dig deep into this complex narrative. With before seen, unprecedented access to the frontline over ten compelling episodes, we will detail the personal experiences of those affected on all sides by this deadly epidemic.”
“I’ve spent my career telling law enforcement stories, but never from this perspective. Not even close. Hats off to BET for allowing us to tackle this subject matter in a way that speaks to their audience and this time,” added Forman.