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Roadside Attractions has acquired U.S. theatrical rights to the documentary Project Nim from HBO, which had acquired all of the film’s U.S. rights just days before its world premiere in competition at the Sundance Film Festival on Thursday night. HBO will air the film on TV, and Lionsgate will distribute the film on DVD.
Several companies were in pursuit of the documentary, including IFC Films, Magnolia Pictures and Samuel Goldwyn. 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.
Simon Chinn, who also was behind Man on Wire, which won a grand jury prize and an audience award at Sundance in 2008, produced Nim.
Negotiations are currently taking place with distributors for all Canadian rights. That deal could be completed as soon as Friday.
HBO picked up the 2010 Sundance docs Teenage Paparazzo and Smash His Camera; Roadside picked up 2011 Sundance film Margin Call along with Lionsgate.
Josh Braun of Submarine Entertainment is repping the film.
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