Magnolia Pictures picks up 'Food, Inc.'

Doc looks at American food industry

Magnolia Pictures found itself hungry for a new documentary at AFM.

The Wagner/Cuban company picked up domestic theatrical and DVD distribution rights to "Food, Inc.," produced by Participant Media and River Road Entertainment.

An in-depth look at the American food industry from producer-director Robert Kenner and investigative authors Eric Schlosser ("Fast Food Nation") and Michael Pollan ("The Omnivore's Dilemma"), "Food, Inc." premiered at the Toronto film festival in September and screens at the Berlin fest in February. Magnolia plans the U.S. release for the first half of 2009.

Fortissimo Films was repping overseas territories for the film; Submarine Entertainment repped it in North America. The deal was negotiated by Josh Braun of Submarine on behalf of Participant and River Road and senior vp and head of acquisitions vp Tom Quinn on behalf of Magnolia.

"'Food, Inc.' is a thought-provoking, beautifully crafted doc that not only addresses an issue of fundamental importance to many Americans, but tells them what they can do an individual to make a difference," said Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles. "It's an enthralling, empowering take on the subject."

PublicAffairs will publish a companion book -- "Food Inc.: How Industrial Food Is Making Us Sicker, Fatter and Poorer – And What You Can Do About It" -- that elaborates on the issues raised in the doc. And Participant, as it has on past releases such as "Good Night, And Good Luck" and "Syriana," will launch a social action and public education campaign to address labor and health issues, child nutrition and public advocacy.