Kino Lorber is to give Keith Maitland’s SXSW-winning doc Tower (pictured) a U.S. theatrical release this fall.
The New York-based distributor has acquired the U.S. rights to the animated film, which uses archival footage and rotoscopic animation to explore America’s first mass school shooting in 1966, when a gunman climbed a clock tower at the University of Texas and shot 49 people, killing 17.
Kino Lorber is to release Tower theatrically on October 12 at New York’s Film Forum, followed by a national roll-out that will mark the 50th anniversary of the shooting.
The doc counts journalist and presenter Meredith Vieira as an executive producer, and picked up the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at SXSW, where it world premiered. It also won the Grand Jury Prize at the Dallas International Film Festival and Special Jury Prize at the Montclair Film Festival.
Tower’s executive producers include Steve Eckelman, Amy Rapp, Sandy Boone, Louis Black, Pamela Colloff and Lois Vossen. Megan Gilbride and Susan Thomson are producers on the film.
Richard Lorber, CEO of Kino Lorber, calls Tower “that rarest of documentaries” that blends artistry with advocacy.
“In Keith’s brilliant filmic strategy, animation distances us from the numbing historical reality that began as a painful unprecedented news event. Watching this graceful, immersive work of art, we let down our defenses to fully absorb the meaning of the nightmare and deeply feel the emotions of his characters.
“It could not be a more important and timely contribution to the coming congressional confrontation over gun control, in light of the latest tragedy in Orlando. It’s a must see for every community in America and we could not be more committed to help make that happen,” he continued.
Cinetic’s Linzee Troubh negotiated the sale with Kino Lorber’s Wendy Lidell, senior VP of acquisitions.
Cinetic will launch international sales for the film at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, which runs from July 1 to 9.