Docs

Sundance ’13: “Pussy Riot,” “Dirty Wars” find buyers

Capping a frenetic weekend of Park City doc deals, HBO Documentary Films acquired U.S. TV rights to Pussy Riot — A Punk Prayer (pictured), while Sundance Selects nabbed North American rights to Dirty Wars.
January 21, 2013

Capping a frenetic weekend of Park City doc deals, HBO Documentary Films acquired U.S. TV rights to Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer (pictured), while Sundance Selects nabbed North American rights to Dirty Wars.

The agreements take the doc deal tally to 10, following the conclusion of deals for The Summit, Twenty Feet from Stardom, an as-yet-untitled Roger Ebert doc, History of the Eagles, The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear, After Tiller, Sound City and American Promise.

Pussy Riot, from directors Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin, enjoyed its sold out world premiere on Friday night (January 18) in Utah.

The doc, for which BBC ‘Storyville’ has the UK TV rights, tells the story of Nadia, Masha and Katia, three members of Russian feminist art collective Pussy Riot, who were arrested and imprisoned for performing a “punk prayer” inside one of Russia’s main cathedrals.

In a joint statement, the directors said they were “thrilled to be working with HBO on bringing this important story to the world.”

The doc is executive produced by Martin Herring and Havana Marking for Roast Beef Productions; Maxyne Franklin for the Britdoc Bertha Fund; Nick Fraser and Kate Townsend for BBC ‘Storyville’; and Nick Quested and Christina Willoughby for Goldcrest Films International.

Meanwhile, IFC Films affiliate Sundance Selects made its second acquisition of the 2013 festival, after buying Nick Ryan’s The Summit.

The distributor picked up 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 Scahill, Anthony Arnove and Brenda Coughlin.

The film follows investigative reporter Scahill as he “chases down the truth” behind America’s covert wars. Jonathan Sehring, president of Sundance Selects and 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.”

Scahill added: “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 was negotiated by Josh Braun at Submarine on behalf of the filmmakers, with Sundance Selects/IFC Films senior VP of acquisitions and productions Arianna Bocco, director of acquisitions and productions Jeff Deutchman, and senior VP of legal and business affairs Betsy Rodgers.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.

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