Zeitgeist Films ready to break 'Silence' in U.S.


NEW YORK -- Zeitgeist Films has acquired all U.S. rights to "Into Great Silence," a look behind the walls of a French Alps monastery that won the world cinema special jury prize for best documentary feature at January's Sundance Film Festival.

It took director Philip Groening 16 years to get permission to film the Carthusian monks of the Grand Chartreuse monastery. Even then, the director was only allowed to silently observe the monks in the main Carthusian monastery with no other crew members for almost six months.

The meditative 21?2-hour film shows the monks alone in their small cells eating, praying, painting, gardening, tailoring and doing other activities in their attempt to find communion with God.

The German director's credits include "Love, Money, Love" and "Philosophie." "Silence" was produced by Groening, Elda Guidinetti, Andres Pfaffli and Michael Weber.

Zeitgeist co-president Nancy Gerstman negotiated the deal with Thorsten Schaumann of Bavaria Film International.