Docs gain Canadian distribution

'Prom Night,' 'Burma' find deals with Kinosmith

TORONTO -- Market activity at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival began picking up steam Friday as Canadian distributor Kinosmith acquired Canadian rights to HBO's "Prom Night Mississippi" and "Burma VJ: Reporting From a Closed Country," a Danish film about Burma's undercover journalists.

Kinosmith's Robin Smith bought the Canadian rights to "Burma VJ," Anders Hogsbro Ostergaard's film about indie video journalists who risked their lives to capture the country's 2007 popular uprising, from the film's U.S. distributor, Oscilloscope.

Kinosmith and Oscilloscope plan a joint North American release in July. HBO earlier picked up the U.S. TV rights to "Burma VJ," which also screened at IDFA and Sundance.

And Kinosmith picked up another Sundance doc on HBO, Canadian filmmaker Paul Saltzman's "Prom Night Mississippi," from the film's producer, Patricia Aquino.

"Prom Night" recounts efforts last year to stage the first racially integrated high school senior prom night in Morgan Freeman's hometown of Charleston, Miss.

Previously, Charleston held separate white- and black-attended prom nights, until Freeman offered to pay to hold a racially integrated affair.

Smith anticipates a September theatrical release in Canada.

The Hot Docs festival got under way Thursday after Zeitgeist Films picked up the U.S. rights to opening night film, Jennifer Baichwal's "Act of God" (HR 4/29).