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Sundance: Participant Media, Magnolia Team For New York Times Docu ‘Page One’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Participant Media and Magnolia are partnering on the U.S. distribution rights to Andrew Rossi’s Page One. Deal was mid-six figures and a commitment for a strong theatrical release. Participant will provide the backing it did past documentary successes Food Inc, Waiting for Superman and An Inconvenient Truth. The documentary is what director Andrew Rossi brought back after spending 14 months camped out at the media desk of The New York Times. He followed reporters like David Carr and Brian Stelter as they reported on technological changes, the same ones that were walloping the newspaper’s circulation and advertising, causing newsroom layoffs. Deal was brokered by Submarine’s Josh Braun after the film had its premiere on Sunday. IFC, Goldwyn and Magnolia battled late into the evening. When things were well along with Magnolia, Participant Media emerged, and the decision was made to partner.

It’s intriguing the deal comes the same morning that the Times wrote a long article about troubles at rival LA Times, and how that paper is losing standing with homegrown readers. “The conceit of the film was I followed editors and reporters on the media desk as they covered stories about changing technology as the paper itself underwent tumultuous change and layoffs because of that technology,” Rossi told me days ago when Deadline ran a clip about Stelter’s first story involving WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange. Here is it again:

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Hot Sundance Clip: New York Times Docu ‘Page One’ And WikiLeaker Julian Assange

Mike Fleming

One of the Sundance documentaries showing up on buyer priority lists is Page One. Director Andrew Rossi camped out at the media desk of The New York Times for 14 months. Trust me, a chronicle of the day to day activities of out-of-shape journalists ordinarily would be like watching grass grow. But Rossi had timing on his side: he shot while the newspaper was struggling through a print decline that hobbled circulation and advertising. Rossi was on hand when the paper laid off 100 reporters. “The conceit of the film was I followed editors and reporters on the media desk as they covered stories about changing technology as the paper itself underwent tumultuous change and layoffs because of that technology,” Rossi said. Here’s an exclusive clip where reporter Brian Stelter chases an early story about WikiLeaker Julian Assange.

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