Ken Burns and partner Lynn Novick are producing and directing a documentary film on the Vietnam War, completing a war trilogy that includes their previous PBS efforts The Civil War (1990) and the World War II doc The War (2007). Vietnam will run 10 to 12 hours and is set for broadcast in 2016. From the release: “It will focus primarily on the human experience of the conflict, using eyewitness testimonies of so-called ‘ordinary’ people –- Americans as well as Vietnamese –- whose lives were touched by the war. Parallel to the unfolding military narrative, the series will also tell the story of the millions of American citizens who became deeply opposed to it, taking to the streets in some of the largest protest demonstrations the nation has seen.” As in the previous two films, Geoffrey C. Ward is the writer.
PBS is airing The Civil War from April 3-7 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War.
Those 2011 Sundance Film Festival entries keep finding distribution deals. The Cinema Guild acquired U.S. rights to The Interrupters, a documentary about former gang members who disrupt and defuse violent situations as they happen. Pic was directed by Hoop Dreams‘ Steve James and author Alex Kotlowitz. The plan is to open in theaters this summer then broadcast on PBS’ Frontline, with PBC Distribution handling home video and digital in 2012.
Sony Pictures Classics has released a trailer for the Morgan Spurlock-directed documentary POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. SPC bought rights just before the film debuted at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, and it’s about Spurlock’s humorous efforts to get a film financed through sponsorships. Judging by the NASCAR-like formal wear he sported at the premiere party that was covered with sponsor logos, he succeeded.
Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, the Rodman Flender-directed documentary about the chat host’s 32 city music and comedy tour undertaken after he took a $30 million payout to leave The Tonight Show, has wrapped a distribution deal in a multi-platform acquisition and distribution deal. AT&T is in as a P&A and distribution and marketing partner, and it will sneak the film to AT&T U-verse TV subscribers on the eve of the film’s theatrical release. Abramorama, the consulting company headed by indie distribution vet Richard Abramowitz, will steer theatrical distribution. Magnolia Home Entertainment acquired the remaining VOD and home entertainment rights in a deal brokered by WME Global, right after the film made its debut at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas.
It’s the second SXSW deal of the day for WME, after brokering one with The Weinstein Company for the documentary Undefeated. O’Brien started the wheels moving on a documentary about his days in talk show absentia right after he was removed from Tonight Show duty a year ago. Unable to go on TV, he grew a beard and toured the country with the Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour, a musical and comedy act that gave O’Brien the chance to test his chops as a musical artist, and tell a lot of jokes at the expense of NBC. I saw a performance at Radio City and while I wouldn’t suggest O’Brien give up his day job to sing … Read More »
Endemol has acquired a majority stake in actual/reality/documentary producer Authentic Entertainment in the USA. Founded in 2000 by Lauren Lexton and Tom Rogan and headquartered in Los Angeles, Authentic produces more than 200 hours of programming per year for such networks as Bravo, Food Network, Sundance, Discovery, TLC and Animal Planet. Its credits include series Ace of Cakes, Flipping Out!, My First Home, The Best Thing I Ever Ate and Toddlers and Tiaras as well as specials The 750 Pound Man, My Husband’s Three Wives, Help I’m a Hoarder! and Incredibly Small: Kenadie’s Story.
Endemol has been on a buying spree over the past 18 months, acquiring Australia’s largest drama producer, Southern Star; leading German drama producers Wiedemann & Berg Television (The Lives of Others); Weit Media in Russia; and three leading UK most independent production companies, Tiger Aspect, Darlow Smithson and Tigress.
I hear top unscripted producer Tom Forman, CEO of RelativityReal, is taking out a reality series project based on this year’s hit Sundance documentary Catfish, which is being distributed by Relativity Media’s Rogue Pictures. There is significant interest in the unscripted format, a segmenteddoc series revolving around relationships that have started online.
Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman’s documentary Catfish chronicles a 24-year old photographer’s search for the truth after he starts a cyber romance with the sister of a youth who takes an interest in his work but soon becomes suspicious that his online friends may not be who they say they are. The docu was a big crowd pleaser at Sundance and sparked a bidding war before getting snagged by Relativity. The company reportedly payed close to $1.5 million for an U.S. and UK rights to Catfish, which is eyeing a release later this year through Universal.