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SUNDANCE: HBO Nabs Remake Rights to Irish Brawlers Documentary

The network is finalizing a deal to turn "KNUCKLE" into a TV drama.

A remake rights deal that would see HBO turn KNUCKLE, a documentary about Irish bare-knuckle brawlers, into a television drama for the network is nearly complete.

The director of the documentary, Ian Palmer, and producer Teddy Leifer’s Rise Films will produce the show for HBO along with Rough House Pictures.

The documentary, which premiered at Sundance on Friday at the Holiday Village Cinema and is competing in the festival’s world cinema documentary competition, tells the story of the Travellers, a nomadic ethnic group that settles disputes through ritualized bare-knuckle fighting. The film tracks a long-simmering feud between two Traveller families -- the Quinn McDonaghs and the Joyces.

Content International acquired the foreign rights to KNUCKLE on Saturday.

Leifer previously produced Rough Aunties, which won the World Cinema Documentary Jury Prize at Sundance in 2009. He is also an executive producer of The Interrupters, the Steve James doc that is screening in the festival’s documentary premieres section this year.

HBO picked up U.S. film and TV rights to the James Marsh documentary Project Nim, which screened on opening night, just before the fest began Thursday.