Exclusive: “Hunting Ground” sells ahead of Sundance debut

Broadcasters in France, Denmark, Israel, Norway and Belgium have acquired Kirby Dick's anticipated campus rape doc The Hunting Ground (pictured), ahead of its Sundance world premiere on Friday (January 23).
January 21, 2015

Broadcasters in France, Denmark, Israel, Norway and Belgium have acquired Kirby Dick’s anticipated campus rape doc The Hunting Ground (pictured), ahead of its Sundance world premiere on Friday (January 23).

In deals brokered by sales agent Ro*co Films, the 102-minute film has been acquired by Canal Plus and Planete in France, with the latter taking a second window; DBS in Israel; BeTV in Belgium; DR in Denmark; NRK in Norway; and RTSR for French Switzerland.

The Hunting Ground sees director Dick reteaming with The Invisible War producer Amy Ziering for a follow-up that examines the widespread problem of sexual assault on U.S. campuses. The film is billed by Sundance as being “a piercing, monumental exposé of rape culture on campuses, poised to light a fire under a national debate.”

The pre-sales have largely been signed based on a three-minute teaser created by filmmakers, and based on the success broadcasters have had with The Invisible War, the filmmakers’ previous doc. CNN has the film’s U.S. TV rights, as previously reported.

Realscreen understands that Dick and Ziering are holding back advance press screenings of the film, on account of the fact that it contains news which they wish to be revealed upon the doc’s Park City premiere.

Annie Roney, Ro*co Films’ founder and CEO, tells realscreen: “We set out with conservative expectations about how the foreign broadcast market would react to a film about rape on U.S. college campuses, but we were very humbled by the response.

“Numerous foreign broadcasters came on board as pre-sales for a few stated reasons; the most surprising one was that many Europeans strive to send their children to our universities. In some cases, the commissioning editors had also been supporters of The Invisible War, which played very well around the world.

“But we were also hearing that rape, and its treatment within any society and its institutions, is a universal issue requiring an honest conversation about the interplay of violence, power and justice,” she added.

In addition to The Hunting Ground, Ro*co is also handling international sales for another Sundance documentary, the Turner Ross- and Bill Ross-directed Western, and is close to finalizing rights deals for several other Park City docs.

With the issue of campus sexual assaults in the news, and continued discussion of the scandal surrounding Rolling Stone‘s discredited University of Virginia report, The Hunting Ground looks set to become one of the key feature documentary titles of 2015.

Realscreen first revealed that the film would be having its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in early December 2014.

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