MSNBC Films mulls feature bow for doc


MSNBC is going on a "Witch Hunt," picking up the Toronto International Film Festival and AFI Fest documentary for MSNBC Films, its nascent feature banner.

Sean Penn executive produced "Witch," which centers on a Bakersfield, Calif., district attorney who the film alleges overstepped his powers in pursuing child-molestation cases in the 1980s. Journalists Dana Nachman and Don Hardy ("Doing Time") helmed the doc, which plays this weekend at AFI.

MSNBC Films will air the doc on the network in the spring and could explore options for theatrical release. Submarine Entertainment repped the filmmakers in the sale.

The NBC Universal cable network launched a feature banner this year, acquiring the festival favorite "Dear Zachary" as its inaugural title. That film, too, looked at some dark themes: the death of a well-liked man at the hands of his violent ex-girlfriend and his family's subsequent quest for justice. (partialdiff)