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SUNDANCE: HBO Picks Up Documentary Competition Opener 'Project Nim'

Chimpanzee tale is from the team behind "Man on Wire," director James Marsh and producer Simon Chinn.

Project Nim
Courtesy of the Sundance Institute

HBO has acquired all U.S. rights to the documentary Project Nim, just days ahead of its world premiere in competition at the Sundance Film Festival Thursday night. Those rights include theatrical, video and TV broadcast.

Directed by James Marsh, who helmed the Oscar-winning Man on Wire, the film follows the life of a chimpanzee who was raised like a human child as part of a pioneering 1970s experiment. The film combines interviews with participants in the experiment and archival footage to depict the chimpanzee’s experience living in New York. Named for the late chimp, Nim Chimpsky, the film has generated significant buzz in advance of the festival.

Simon Chinn, who was also behind Man on Wire, which won a grand jury prize and an audience award at Sundance in 2008, produced Nim.   Josh Braun of Submarine Entertainment negotiated the deal and will be seeking distribution deals for theatrical and DVD releases of the film at the fest. Icon Entertainment International reps global rights.

HBO picked up the 2010 Sundance docs Teenage Paparazzo and Smash His Camera.