EXCLUSIVE: Phil Rosenthal's 'Raymond' Doc Acquired by Samuel Goldwyn Films

'Exporting Raymond' follows Rosenthal as he travels to Russia to meet about doing a local version of 'Everybody Loves Raymond.'

The sought-after feature documentary "Exporting Raymond," starring former "Everybody Loves Raymond" creator, producer and writer Phil Rosenthal, who also makes his big-screen directing debut, has been acquired for distribution by Samuel Goldwyn Films. The film is expected to open in limited release in major cities across the U.S. in second-quarter 2011.

Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions will handle ancillary market sales.

Since it was screened in August by CAA, which handled the negotiations, "Exporting Raymond" has been generating buzz as an unusually funny documentary. That packed screening produced numerous comments about how funny it was and how well the audience reacted.

That was also the case earlier this week when it became the first documentary of open the Austin Film Festival, earning two standing ovations at the end.

"I honestly cannot remember ever hearing an audience laugh so loudly or so often as I did when the film was shown," reported KXAN radio in Austin.

The documentary, which Rosenthal also wrote and is executive produced by John Woldenberg, follows him as he travels to Russia to meet about doing a Russian version of "Raymond."

"We think Goldwyn is a perfect distributor for a specialized movie like this that has a lot of commercial appeal and a potentially broad audience," Woldenberg said. "We feel we are in good hands with Samuel Goldwyn."

Rosenthal was represented by Richard Lovett and associates at CAA, and Peter Goldwyn handled negotiations for Samuel Goldwyn Films, where he is vp acquisitions.

"Part travelogue, part fish-out-of-water story, part behind-the-scenes look at the sausage-making process otherwise known as TV production, 'Exporting Raymond' examines all these themes with notes of frustration and humor," wrote the Austin Chronicle.