Channel 4 is planning to challenge perceptions of paedophilia in a potentially controversial documentary co-directed by Werner Herzog’s son (pictured).
C4’s chief creative officer Jay Hunt told the Belfast Media Festival on Friday that it is applying the finishing touches to a Testimony Films doc, The Paedophile Next Door, in which a man will out himself as a paedophile.
Hunt said the film, which will be directed by Rudolph Herzog and Testimony founder Steve Humpries and air later this month, will feature its subject talking “straight to camera” about his attraction to children.
“He has never offended, he’s never actually touched children, but he is attracted to children. It ends with him writing a letter to his mother explaining that he is about to come out on television on paedophile,” she said.
“It is an incredibly thoughtful piece made by Steve Humphries, an extraordinary documentary maker, looking at how we feel as a society about paedophilia because it’s not going away and we are demonising these people. It raises some difficult questions about: is that right?”
Hunt said it was a good example of C4’s risk-taking mantra. “We constantly need to be in that space where we are probing the big issues and raising those questions,” she added.
It will be C4’s second examination of paedophilia this year after it broadcast Amos Pictures film The Paedophile Hunter last month. It drew a consolidated audience of 2m (11.1%).
Rudolph Herzog has worked on documentaries for UK television in the past, including the BBC’s Hitler’s Third Reich. His father is renowned for films such as Rescue Dawn and Grizzly Man.
Director Steve Humphries said the aim of the film was to help discover how children can best be protected from sexual abuse.
“It examines radical new theories on how to deter paedophiles from carrying out such abhorrent abuse which include encouraging them to seek help and support before they offend,” he added. “Coupled with the harrowing testimonies of adult survivors of abuse, it provides new insight and new perspectives on how to tackle this vital issue.”