Sundance: 'The Lovers and the Despot' Doc Nabbed by Magnolia

The Lovers and the Despot still 2 - H 2016
Courtesy of Sundance Institute

The stranger-than-fiction doc follows the story of two South Korean filmmakers kidnapped by North Korean dictator and film fanatic Kim Jong-il.

Magnolia Pictures has acquired the worldwide rights to The Lovers and the Despot.

The Rob Cannan and Ross Adam stranger-than-fiction documentary follows the story of the kidnappings of a celebrated South Korean actress and her ex-husband, a leading director from Seoul, by late North Korean dictator and film fanatic Kim Jong-il. Choi and Shin planned their escape, but not before producing 17 feature films for the dictator and gaining his trust in the process.

“Rob and Ross have captured a jaw-dropping, true-life story whose plot could have been pulled straight out of a Hollywood spy thriller,” said Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles. “The Lovers and the Despot is a powerful, elegantly crafted film that needs to be seen to be believed.”

The film, which had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, was produced by Natasha Dack Ojumu, Christoph JorgCannan and Adam, with Lizzie Francke, Richard Holmes, Nick Fraser, Kate Townsend, Sheryl Crown, Maggie Monteith, Victoria Steventon, Cristina Ljungberg, and Sandra Whipham executive producing. 

The deal was negotiated by Submarine on behalf of the filmmakers. 

All international rights are available through Magnolia International.