Sundance 2013 Doc Acquisitions: TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM, DIRTY WARS, PUSSY RIOT, THE BITTER BUDDAH, and WILD IN THE STREETS

by     Posted 1 year, 88 days ago

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Several Sundance documentaries found a distribution deal this weekend:

  • Radius-TWC picked up Twenty Feet from Stardom, a documentary about the back up singers to the world’s greatest industry legends.  Read Matt’s review here.
  • Sundance Selects acquired Dirty Wars, which “follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill on an unexpected journey as he chasesdown the truth behind America’s covert wars.”
  • HBO Documentary Films made a deal for Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer, about the feminist band Pussy Riot, who was arrested after they performed a “punk prayer” inside Russia’s main cathedral.
  • Gravitas Ventures picked up two documentaries.  The Bitter Buddah centers on “comic’s comic” Eddie Pepitone and features original animation and interviews with admiring peers like Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman, and Zach Galifianakis.  Wild in the Streets chronicles Shrovetide Football, a truly unique 8-hour sports game that two small towns in England compete in each year.  Gravitas also acquired Michael Urie‘s comedy He’s Way More Famous Than You, about a struggling actress who sets out to make a movie that will revitalize her career.

Hit the jump for the press releases with all the details.

Twenty Feet From Stardom

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Park City, UTAH January 18th, 2012 – RADiUS-TWC is proud to announce that it has acquired North American rights to the Sundance hit TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM that celebrated its world premiere with an overwhelming standing ovation at last night’s Eccles screening. Produced by the beloved late A&M Records executive Gil Friesen whose dream was to tell this story about the unheralded back up singers to the world’s greatest industry legends, TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM was directed by Grammy nominated Morgan Neville.

The film is a celebration of the voices from the edge, which brought shape and style to the soundtracks of our lives. Neville follows half a dozen diverse and gifted back up singers from throughout music history, each of whom has a story to tell of life in the shadows of superstardom (Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Sting, Joe Cocker, Bette Midler to name just a few). These talented artists represent a range of styles that come from all eras of popular music, but each singer belongs to the first family of American voice. Now is their turn for the spotlight.

RADiUS will release the film theatrically with a target date of late summer 2013.

“We were overwhelmed by this beautiful film that focuses on the underdog – these incredible artists who – until now – have been largely unknown. We’ve been coming to Sundance for more than 15 years and we’ve rarely, if ever, seen an audience reaction like we did last night” said RADiUS co-presidents Tom Quinn and Jason Janego.

Echoes TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein: “I’ve always been drawn to the underdog story and can’t think of a more poignant subject matter that showcases such rare talent. The subtleties and nuances of this incredible story are so delicate and intimately told that we feel a great responsibility to ensure audiences everywhere have the opportunity to see it.”

“I’m so happy that these amazing singers who have spent their careers supporting stars are finally going to get their moment in the spotlight. We’re thrilled to be working with RADiUS and TWC – – it means their voices will finally be heard,” said director Morgan Neville.

TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM is produced by Gil Friesen with Neville’s Tremolo Productions.

Quinn and Janego negotiated the deal with Submarine’s Josh Braun and David Koh on behalf of the filmmakers.

 

 

Dirty Wars

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PARK CITY, UT (January 20, 2013) – Sundance Selects announced today from the 2013 Sundance Film Festival that the company is acquiring North American rights to Richard Rowley’s DIRTY WARS, which premiered in the U.S. documentary competition section. The film, with a screenplay by Jeremy Scahill and David Riker, was produced by Anthony Arnove, Brenda Coughlin, and Scahill.

Rowley’s film follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill on an unexpected journey as he chasesdown the truth behind America’s covert wars.

Jonathan Sehring, President of Sundance Selects/IFC Films, said: “Our entire team was blown away by DIRTY WARS, Richard Rowley’s tough-minded, gripping film that plays out like a detective story.  Jeremy Scahill’s investigation into the war on terror being waged around the world is a vital, disturbing and incredibly humane story that will have people on both sides of the political spectrum talking.  We look forward to working with Richard, Jeremy, David Riker, Brenda Coughlin, Anthony Arnove and the entire team behind the film in bringing this film to the largest public audience, as well as sparking a discussion on the topic.”

“We’re thrilled to be joining the Sundance Selects family,” said director Richard Rowley. Added Scahill: “We made this film to uncover the hidden truth about wars being fought in our name that we as Americans know next to nothing about, and we can’t think of a better partner to do this with than Sundance Selects.”

The deal for the film was negotiated by Arianna Bocco, Senior Vice President of Acquisitions & Productions for Sundance Selects/IFC Films; Jeff Deutchman, Director of Acquisitions & Productions, for Sundance Selects/IFC Films; and Betsy Rodgers, Senior Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs for Sundance Selects/IFC Films, with Josh Braun at Submarine on behalf of the filmmakers.

This is the second documentary acquired out of Sundance this week by Sundance Selects.  The company also acquired North American rights to Nick Ryan’s THE SUMMIT.

Since the company’s inception in 2009, Sundance Selects has quickly established itself as one of the dominant labels for documentary films.  Among the films the company has released are this year’s Academy Award-nominated HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE directed by David France (an acquisition title out of Sundance 2012) and Alison Klayman’s AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY (another acquisition title out of Sundance in 2012); Cindy Meehl’s BUCK; Wim Wenders’ Academy Award nominated PINA; Werner Herzog’s CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS; Bess Kargman’s FIRST POSITION; and Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg’s JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK.

Sundance Selects is a sister label to IFC Films and IFC Midnight, and is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc.

DIRTY WARS was made possible by generous support from Bertha / BRITDOC, The Bertha Foundation, Kindle Project Fund of the Common Counsel Foundation, Sundance Institute Documentary Fund, Vital Projects Fund, and Wallace Global Fund.

 

Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer

pussy riot a punk prayer

Park City, UT (January 20, 2013) – HBO Documentary Films today announced the acquisition of the crowd-pleaser “Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer” at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.   HBO Documentary Films acquired U.S. television rights.  Directed by Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin, the film made its world premiere Friday night to a sold out crowd.

“Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer” tells the incredible story of three young women: Nadia, Masha and Katia.   As members of the feminist art collective Pussy Riot, they performed a 40 second “punk prayer” inside Russia’s main cathedral. This performance led to their arrest on charges of religious hatred and culminated in a trial that has reverberated around the world and transformed the face of Russian society forever.  With unparalleled access and exclusive footage, this film looks at the real people behind their now famous colorful balaclavas.

Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin, the directors of “Pussy Riot” “are thrilled to be working with HBO on bringing this important story to the world.”

Directed and produced by Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin, “Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer” was executive produced by Martin Herring and Havana Marking for Roast Beef Productions; Maxyne Franklin for Britdoc Bertha Fund; Nick Fraser and Kate Townsend for BBC Storyville, and; Nick Quested and Christina Willoughby for Goldcrest Films International.

Cinetic Media negotiated the deal with HBO Documentary Films.  Goldcrest Films International is handling international sales.

 

Gravitas Deals

the bitter buddah eddie pepitone

Park City, January, 21st, 2013 – Gravitas Ventures announced today the acquisitions of three raucous Slamdance films: Steven Feinartz’s documentary The Bitter Buddha, Michael Urie’s comedy He’s Way More Famous Than You and Peter Baxter’s documentary Wild In The Streets. As part of the arrangement, each film will be released in the next three months in over 100 million North American Video On Demand homes.

First up debuting in select theatres on February 15, 2013 and on VOD on February 19th is The Bitter Buddha, Steven Feinartz’s perceptive look at alt-comic genius Eddie Pepitone. Though often revered as a “comic’s comic”, Eddie Pepitone is a man at war with himself. And he has the scars to prove it. The Bitter Buddha takes the viewer backstage in the alternative comedy scene to reveal one of its most undervalued treasures. This portrait of a comedian looks at Pepitone’s off beat humor and lifestyle as he battles the world around him. Stand-up comedy, original animation and interviews with Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman, Zach Galifianakis and others provide insight into this beloved career comedian known as ”the guitarist that all the other guitarists go to see.”

On April 23, 2013 director Peter Baxter and narrator Sean Bean unveil one of the most remarkable and violent sports documentaries ever made. In Wild In The Streets, toward the end of winter on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday the people of Ashbourne, England gather in the center of their town to renew the longest running sports rivalry on earth. The game is called Shrovetide Football and originates from two medieval communities living opposite the river Henmore. Today, they are known as the Up’ards and Down’ards. Each team consists of hundreds if not thousands of people. The field of play…the town itself. There is no referee and few rules. Each game begins at 2pm and ends at 10pm. The ball cannot be carried in motorized transport. Cemeteries, churchyards and memorials are out of bounds. Under no circumstances is manslaughter to be tolerated.

And finally, Gravitas Ventures has nabbed the hilarious comedy He’s Way More Famous Than You directed by Michael Urie which premiered in dramatic competition at Slamdance.  Plans are to take the film out on VOD April 8, 2013 followed by a theatrical run on May 10, 2013. Archstone Distribution will handle the remaining domestic rights and all foreign rights for the picture. The film was produced by Christopher Sepulveda & Michael Anderson of Logolite Entertainment, and Geoffrey Soffer with Imagination Pictures and Ur-Mee Entertainment. The deal was negotiated by Noor Ahmed of Reder & Feig LLP on behalf of the producers and Melanie Miller of Gravitas Ventures. When once-up-and-coming indie film starlet Halley Feiffer loses her boyfriend, her agent and her career in one fell swoop she finally realizes that something has got to change…she has to become WAY MORE FAMOUS! Armed with a stolen script and two pitchers of sangria, Halley enlists the help of her brother Ryan and his boyfriend to make a movie, starring herself (of course), and any A-list celebrity she can land. She will stop at nothing, even if it means hurting the only people who truly care about her.

“We are thrilled to be working with such an array of talent coming out of Slamdance,” remarked Melanie Miller, VP of Acquisitions of Gravitas Ventures. “Nobody channels the cultural zeitgeist quite like Eddie Pepitone, no one with a competitive edge would want to be left out of hundreds of years of bloody town tradition in Wild In The Streets. And, who doesn’t want to work & co-star in a movie with Halley Feiffer? At least that is what Halley believes & she’s got the moxie to convince you too!”

wild in the streets




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