CNN launches digital short doc strand

One of the first online debuts from CNN Films will be The 414s: The Original Teenage Hackers, which was acquired at Sundance.
January 23, 2015

CNN Films is launching a digital strand that will spotlight non-fiction shorts.

As part of that collection of documentary content, CNN Films has acquired the short The 414s: The Original Teenage Hackers (pictured), which saw its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, where CNN unveiled the news. The sum for the acquisition was note disclosed.

The initiative marks a collaboration between CNN Films and CNN Digital Studios. As part of the strand, all of the original short films, directed by both established and rising filmmakers, will debut across CNN’s digital portfolio, including and mobile platform CNNgo.

The 414s will be one of at least four CNN Films shorts premiering online this spring. Additional short docs slated for 2015 include an untitled project by director Joe Berlinger (Whitey, Crude) offering a behind-the-scenes look at how a New York supermodel rose to success; and Sarah Feeley’s Raising Ryland, which explores the transgender experience as lived by a six-year-old boy and his parents.

Future films will include projects from Andrew Jenks (MTV’s World of Jenks) and Oscar-winner Roger Ross Williams (God Loves Uganda, Music By Prudence).

“This new venture into short-form documentary storytelling brings to fruition our vision for a premium, multidimensional film brand for CNN,” said Vinnie Malhotra, senior VP of development and acquisitions for CNN Worldwide. “CNN Films premieres have the ability to capture audiences across theatrical, broadcast, and now digital spaces.”

The 414s was directed by Michael T. Vollmann and produced by Chris James Thompson. It spotlights the first widely-recognized computer hackers, a group of Milwaukee teenagers who broke into dozens of prominent computer systems, including the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in 1983.

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