National Geographic Secures 1st Look Deal With Chai Vasarhelyi & Jimmy Chin
Jimmy Chin (l) and Chai Vasarhelyi
  • WASHINGTON, D.C.
  • --

National Geographic has entered into a first-look deal with the award-winning documentary team of Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin and their company, Little Monster Films. The deal covers all unscripted projects, including series and specials as well as feature documentaries. Additionally, the network has greenlit their next feature documentary, with details to be announced at a later date. The announcement follows the extraordinary wins by Chin and Vasarhelyi's Free Solo at this year’s Emmys, where the documentary swept the seven categories for which it was nominated, including directing honors for Vasarhelyi and Chin, making it the most Emmy-winning documentary in history. 

The Emmy success adds to such other accolades for Free Solo as the Best Feature Documentary Oscar and a BAFTA Award.

In a joint statement, Vasarhelyi and Chin shared, “National Geographic offered unconditional support and enthusiasm for Free Solo from day one, and we truly could not have asked for better partners. We are excited to have an outlet to grow our production company’s work in television, expanding the stories we are able to tell, as well as a partner for our next feature doc.”

Courteney Monroe, president of National Geographic Television Networks, described Vasarhelyi and Chin as “extraordinary filmmakers and tremendous partners.”

The first-look deal encompasses development of unscripted ideas for all of National Geographic’s television platforms. This marks the first expansion of Little Monster Films beyond feature documentaries. Vasarhelyi and Chin have tapped former Cinetic Media executive Anna Barnes to serve as VP of development and production under the new venture. Barnes will be responsible for overseeing the growth of the company, and will work closely with Vasarhelyi and Chin in identifying, developing and producing new projects. Additionally, the team is in early production on their next feature documentary, which will be released by National Geographic Documentary Films. 

The deal was negotiated by WME on behalf of the filmmakers.

Vasarhelyi and Chin are represented in the ad/branded content arena by Nonfiction Unlimited.

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