Celia Aniskovich & Her Dial Tone Films Partnering With The New Yorker Studios On Docuseries About Arizona Teen Preston Lord’s 2023 Murder

EXCLUSIVE: Dial Tone Films, the production company of director-producer Celia Aniskovich, is joining forces with The New Yorker Studios on a documentary series that will explore the still-unraveling events surrounding the death of teenager Preston Lord near the wealthy community of Gilbert, Arizona in October 2023.

Lord’s death, the result of an attack by a group of teenagers after a party, captured the attention of the surrounding region and is now the subject of a story from Rachel Monroe in this week’s issue of The New Yorker, which was published just this morning. In the piece, Monroe, a contributing writer for the magazine, investigates the fallout after a group of mostly white, upper-middle-class teenagers, who call themselves “The Gilbert Goons,” were implicated in the crime. Monroe speaks with parents and teenagers from the community, who say that Lord’s death was not an aberration but the culmination of an alarming trend: a group of largely unsupervised teenagers had been wreaking havoc in the areas for more than a year, with few consequences.

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This spring, following extensive public pressure, local law enforcement officially named the Goons a criminal hybrid street gang and released an 1100-page police report related to the attack on Lord. Now, seven young men who the police claim to be affiliated with the Goons are awaiting trial on first-degree murder charges. The case has become a lightning rod for questions, speculation, and allegations, and Dial Tone and The New Yorker Studios are embedding within the community in order to deliver a fair, nuanced, and truthful account of what really happened.

Said Aniskovich in a statement on the project, “I have spent my entire career telling complicated, nuanced, and high-profile stories. This case will be a major national and international news story before all is said and done. If we’re going to tell this story, we at Dial Tone feel it’s important to work alongside the community and the families involved to ensure that they can share their stories, in their own words. We’ve been there since day one and we’ll be there till we get it right.”

Filming has already commenced and will continue through the trial, which is expected to commence in July 2025. Aniskovich will direct and produce for Dial Tone. Helen Estabrook and Sarah Amos will produce for New Yorker Studios, with Monroe to serve as an exec producer.

Stated producer Monroe, “I’m thrilled to be partnering with Dial Tone on this project. The tragic death of Preston Lord raises important questions about teen violence and community responsibility, and Celia Aniskovich and the team at The New Yorker Studios have the skill and insight to tell it with the care and nuance that it deserves.”

Launched in 2019, Dial Tone’s recent projects include Call Me Miss Cleo (Max), Fruitcake Fraud (discovery+), What Happened at Fells Acres? (discovery+) and Taking Back the Groove, to name just a few. Among the company’s other upcoming projects is The Merchants of Joy, another film directed and produced by Aniskovich which looks at the high-stakes world of Christmas tree vendors operating in New York City. In addition to Dial Tone, that project hails from Boat Rocker and Epic Magazine.

The film and television arm of The New Yorker, The New Yorker Studios brings the magazine’s world-class storytelling to the screen. Over the years, its work has received numerous honors, including fifteen Oscar nominations, an Emmy Award, a Peabody Award, and multiple Edward R. Murrow Awards.

Aniskovich and Monroe are both repped by UTA. Monroe is also with PJ Mark at Janklow & Nesbit Associates.

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