Docs

Magnolia Pictures boards North American sales for “Cunningham”

New York-headquartered film distributor Magnolia Pictures has acquired the North American rights to Alla Kovgan’s immersive feature-length documentary Cunningham, about one of the world’s most visionary choreographers. The 90-minute film traces ...
April 16, 2019

New York-headquartered film distributor Magnolia Pictures has acquired the North American rights to Alla Kovgan’s immersive feature-length documentary Cunningham, about one of the world’s most visionary choreographers.

The 90-minute film traces the artistic evolution of Merce Cunningham, who was at the forefront of American modern dance for more than 50 years. The project documents Cunningham’s early years as a struggling dancer in post-war New York to his rise to fame as a distinguished and sought after choreographer with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.

Cunningham, who died at the age of 90 in 2009, frequently collaborated with artists from other disciplines. Notable partnerships included musicians John Cage, David Tudor, Brian Eno, Radiohead; artists Robert Rauschenberg, Bruce Nauman, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Frank Stella, Jasper Johns; and costume designer Rei Kawakubo.

Filmed in both 2D and 3D, the doc weaves together Cunningham’s philosophies and stories with never-before-seen archival material, creating an in-depth journey into the dancer’s innovative work.

Magnolia will release the film across North America in both 2D and 3D later this year. Dogwoof will release the doc in the UK, while Sophie Dulac Distribution will launch the film in France, and Camino Films in Germany.

“3D technology inspired me to think of dance as a truly cinematic experience,” said Kovgan in a statement. “Merce, with his dedication to exploring every technological invention of his time, and 3D felt like an ideal fit. I was particularly moved by his story of becoming Merce in the 1950s and 1960s, his love for dance and his triumphant spirit persevering against all odds.”

Cunningham is produced by Kovgan, Helge Albers, Ilann Girard, Elizabeth Delude-Dix, Kelly Gilpatrick and Derrick Tseng for Achtung Panda! Media GmbH, Arsam International and Chance Operations in association with DocWorks and Bord Cadre Films, with the participation of La Maison and CowProd. Major funding was provided by Arte/BR.

The deal was negotiated by Magnolia EVP Dori Begley and John Von Thaden, SVP of acquisitions, with Dogwoof CEO Anna Godas and Ana Vicente, head of sales, on behalf of the filmmakers.

In conjunction with Cunningham’s centenary, BAM in New York City, CAP UCLA in Los Angeles and the Barbican in London will live-stream Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event, which will consist of 90-minute performances comprised of 100 solo presentations choreographed by Cunningham.

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