Sundance ’15: HBO, Magnolia, Netflix acquire documentaries

Marking a trio of Park City pick-ups, Magnolia Pictures bought The Wolfpack, while HBO acquired 3½ Minutes (pictured) and Netflix nabbed Hot Girls Wanted.
February 2, 2015

Marking a trio of Park City pick-ups, Magnolia Pictures bought The Wolfpack, while HBO acquired 3½ Minutes (pictured) and Netflix nabbed Hot Girls Wanted.

Magnolia took worldwide rights to Crystal Moselle’s The Wolfpack, which on Saturday night (January 31) picked the Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Documentary.

The film offers a portrait of six teenagers who have lived their formative lives in solitude in an apartment in New York, but obsessively watch and recreate movies to connect to the outside world. In a statement, Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles said: “The Wolfpack is an artfully crafted, utterly unique and profound film about insuppressible creativity and intellectual curiosity. It’s also a jaw-dropper.”

The deal was negotiated by Magnolia’s senior VP of acquisitions Dori Begley and director of acquisitions John Von Thaden, with Josh Braun, Dan Braun and David Koh of Submarine acting on behalf of the filmmakers.

Christina Rogers will be handling international sales for the doc for Magnolia at the European Film Market (EFM) in Berlin this month.

Elsewhere, HBO struck a deal with Participant Media to secure U.S. television rights for Marc Silver’s documentary 3½ Minutes, which looks at the death of black teenager Jordan Davis, and the subsequent trial of his killer Michael Dunn.

The film will debut on HBO this fall, preceded by a U.S. theatrical release. Sheila Nevins, president of HBO Documentary Films, said that “by bringing this powerful film to HBO audiences, we hope to elevate the national conversation around these tragic issues.”

The deal was negotiated by HBO, Josh Braun at Submarine, and Jeff Ivers at Participant Media.

Finally, VOD service Netflix has secured worldwide rights to Ronna Gradus and Jill Bauer’s documentary Hot Girls Wanted, which looks at the amateur porn industry.

The digital service plans to release the film later this year. “Netflix is the ideal partner for us,” said producer Rashida Jones. “Not only do they understand this film, but they’re the perfect platform to reach the many people who need to see it.”

Netflix’s VP of global independent content Erik Barmack added: “The filmmakers gained unprecedented access into a world never documented until now, and we are proud to bring their unflinching work to a global audience.”

Earlier in the festival, Relativity Sports acquired In Football We Trust, as previously reported.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.