Production begins today on Missile from the East (1 x 90, 1 x 52 and 2 x 45), a co-production between Salon Pictures (McQueen, Audrey) and Night Train Media (NTM). Abacus Media Rights will distribute internationally.
Directed by Justin Stokes and produced by Mike Wells and Nick Taussig, the documentary is commissioned for Sky Documentaries by Jack Oliver, Head of Co-Productions and Jamie Morris, Director of Programme Strategy. NTM’s Herbert L. Kloiber and Olivia Pahl serve as executive producers.
Set around the 1961 Swedish Grand Prix, Ernst Degner, a prodigiously talented East German motorcycle racer flees the Iron Curtain – risking his life in the hope of freedom – as he defects to the West in a heart-stopping stunt with his family and Stasi-protected engine technology. Returning to the racetrack the following season with Suzuki, the driver wins the world championship and catapults the Japanese industrial giant into global domination of the motorcycle industry.
Missile from the East marks a new chapter in an expansion into factual programming for the NTM banner that Kloiber, the former Managing Director of Tele München Group, launched in February 2020.
“Worldwide demand for distinctive local and international documentaries has never been greater and this incredible high-stakes true story, a Rush meets Bridge of Spies, instantly struck us as something dramatic, heartfelt, new and aspirational that audiences worldwide can enjoy. We are hugely excited to be partnering with critically acclaimed producers Salon Pictures for our first project in the factual realm.” says Kloiber, CEO of NTM.
Nick Taussig commented: “When Mike brought us this story, we were immediately driven to try and help him make it, not least because of the quality of material he’d already captured with Justin, and his long and exceptional background in commercials, running HLA in London. The story has great stakes and scale, and, set in a seminal moment in Cold War history, lends itself perfectly to a feature-length documentary.”
Mike Wells added: “I am delighted that Salon, Night Train and Sky have seen the potential in this project and that we have it underway. Nick and Salon are the perfect partners for us, providing exactly the right mix of support and experience. Herbert and Night Train’s commitment will ensure that the world learns about Ernst Degner’s extraordinary story 60 years after the Berlin Wall went up.”