2018 Sundance Docs in Focus: THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS

Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Tim Wardle reveals the stranger than fiction tale of triplets separated at birth.

Festival Section:
US Documentary Competition

Sundance Program Description:

New York, 1980. Three complete strangers – Bobby Shafran, Eddy Galland, and David Kellman – make the astounding discovery that they are identical triplets. Separated at birth, adopted, and raised by three different families, the 19-year-olds are reunited by chance. Their story sets the tabloids on fire, and the triplets suddenly become famous around the world.

The brothers forge a relationship and become fast friends. They move in together in a swinging bachelor pad and open a restaurant that skyrockets to success. The toast of Manhattan, the triplets are living the high life. But their fairytale reunion sets off a chain of events that ultimately unearths an extraordinary and sinister secret that could answer controversial questions at the heart of human behavior.

Director Tim Wardle, teaming with production company Raw and CNN and Channel 4, has crafted a gripping, juicy conspiracy thriller that becomes so much more complex. THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS evolves from pulp nonfiction into a multi-layered deliberation on nature versus nurture and the existential dilemma of what makes us who we are.

Some Background:

  • Tim Wardle

    Raw’s Wardle received support from the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program for this project. He has been nominated for BAFTA Awards for his previous television documentaries and has worked as head of development for Raw and BBC Documentaries.


  • Becky Read

    Read has previously worked with Raw to produce several factual television series. This marks her first Sundance credit.

  • Grace Hughes-Hallett

    Hughes-Hallett developed this project with Wardle and previously produced the Toronto doc THE DARK MATTER OF LOVE. This is also her first credited Sundance project.

Executive Producers:

  • Dimitri Doganis
    Past Sundance docs:

    THE IMPOSTER (2012, producer)

    Raw’s founder is also the producer of THE IMPOSTER director Bart Layton’s 2018 US Dramatic Competition entry AMERICAN ANIMALS.

  • CNN’s Amy Entelis and Courtney Sexton
    Recent past Sundance docs:

    FRESH DRESSED (2015)

    The Emmy-winning Entelis, CNN’s EVP for talent and content development, and Sexton, VP for CNN Films, are also executive producers of 2018 Doc Premieres title RBG.

  • Sara Ramsden

    The former Channel 4 commission editor for science and specialist factual events is now the creative director of UK-based production company Love Productions. This is her first Sundance credit.

  • Raw’s Adam Hawkins and Tom Barry

    This is the first Sundance credit for Hawkins, EVP of US television, and Barry, executive producer.


  • Michael Harte

    This also marks Harte’s first Sundance project.

Why You Should Watch:
Wardle constructs an always-engaging and surprising story that successfully keeps its focus on the titular trio while also expanding beyond their experiences to uncover a fascinating mystery with wider ramifications.

More Info:
Sundance’s Meet the Artist

For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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