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Death Row Documentary About Nun Who Inspired ‘Dead Man Walking’ Set at Universal Pictures Content Group (EXCLUSIVE)

Universal Pictures Content Group and Passion Pictures have wrapped on a new documentary about the nun who inspired 1995 Oscar-winning hit “Dead Man Walking,” Variety can exclusively confirm.

Titled “Rebel Nun,” the doc follows the story of Catholic nun and leading death penalty abolitionist Sister Helen Prejean. Susan Sarandaon won her first and only Oscar playing Prejean in “Dead Man Walking,” which was written and directed by Tim Robbins and co-starred Sean Penn as a convicted murderer.

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“Rebel Nun” will explore Sister Helen’s life to date and her ongoing fight against the death penalty.

“Sister Helen Prejean was a humble nun from Louisiana who embarked on a controversial battle that would change the world,” reads the logline. “Now 84 years old, Sister Helen is currently fighting to stop the execution of a Death Row inmate in Oklahoma even lawmakers are convinced is innocent.”

The doc is directed by Dominic Sivyer (“The Masked Scammer”), who was granted unprecedented access to Sister Helen as well as unseen archive footage dating back six decades and interviews with key people involved in her work, including victims’ families.

Dawn Porter (“Gideon’s Army”) is an exec producer alongside Universal Pictures Content Group EVP Helen Parker, Oscar winner Andrew Ruhemann (“Searching for Sugarman”), Amy Foster (“The Masked Scammer”), Kari Lia (“Break Point”) and Hamish Fergusson (“Once Upon a Time in Iraq”) of Passion Pictures.

“Sister Helen has been such an inspirational force for justice, it was a true honor to join this talented team,” said Porter. “There is so much work to do to reform the criminal justice system in the United States. Films like these shine a light on pressing social justice issues.”

Parker said: “We knew a project like this needed creative powerhouses behind the scenes to match Sister Helen’s passion, dedication, and commitment; and we have found just that in Dominic, Dawn and the team at Passion Pictures.”

Lia added: “‘Rebel Nun’ is an honest, unflinching portrait of Sister Helen, tireless advocate against the death penalty. Director Dominic Sivyer isn’t afraid to ask the difficult questions, blasting through the public, at times controversial, persona to reveal a character of both incredible strength and fragility.”

Submarine Entertainment Sales are repping worldwide sales.

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