Oprah’s New Network Starts a Film Club

OWN partners with “Jesus Camp” producer Ro*Co Productions for a monthly series designed to give more exposure to documentaries

Last Updated: December 9, 2009 @ 12:46 PM

Oprah Winfrey is getting into business with the distributor behind "Jesus Camp" and "Born Into Brothels."

Winfrey’s OWN has struck a partnership with Ro*Co Productions that will result in the creation of a documentary film club not unlike Winfrey’s famed book club. OWN will air one Ro*Co documentary each month and build a multiplatform "experience" around the film to turn it into what the network calls an "event."

OWN didn’t say Winfrey would participate in the series, though it’s not hard to see a scenario where the franchise is dubbed "Oprah’s Film Club."

"The … films will give the audience a festival experience by creating communities nationwide that can screen the film together and participate in a live, moderated panel discussion," according to the OWN press release.

The deal was announced by OWN CEO Christina Norman and is the biggest programming announcement to date for the long-delayed network. OWN is scheduled to launch in January 2011.

"OWN’s commitment to self-discovery provides the ideal platform to elevate documentary films and the real, compelling stories they tell," Norman said. "Partnering with Ro*Co productions, OWN will deliver the very best documentaries to our audience and give them ways to connect through stories that move them."

Ro*Co founder/managing director Annie Roney said there’s a "wide-ranging audience" for her company’s films.

"Our partnership with OWN will bring these films to a broader audience, but it doesn’t stop there; community discourse and engagement is encouraged and supported as soon as the final credits roll," she said.

Financial details of the partnership weren’t revealed. However, given the relatively small budget for docs, it’s likely not a huge sum.