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Sundance 2012: Sundance Selects Grabs 'How to Survive a Plague' (Exclusive)

Sundance Selects has purchased North American rights to the U.S. competition documentary How to Survive a Plague, the first film from director David France. A source said the deal was in the high six-figures.

The doc, written by France, T. Woody Richman and Tyler Walk, takes a look at early AIDS-awareness activists' efforts to combat the disease in Washington and in the medical establishment. France and Howard Gertler produced the project, which had its world premiere Sunday at the Temple Theatre.

Joy Tomchin and Dan Cogan are executive producers of the film, which was made in association with Ford Foundation/JustFilms, Impact Partners and Little Punk.

"This is a towering film in the history of cinema about social activism," said Sundance Selects/IFC Films president Jonathan Sehring. "Its astonishing use of archival material to reconstruct an era of political indifference in the face of an unimaginable health crisis helps to create a new blueprint for modern activists. David France has made a deeply powerful and unforgettable film which we look forward to bringing to the widest audience possible."

Josh Braun, David Koh, Dan Braun and Dan O'Meara of Submarine Entertainment represented the filmmakers in the sale.

A sister division of IFC Films, Sundance Selects picked up rights to the documentary Buck and the comedy Septien at the 2011 festival.

Other documentary acquisitions during the 2012 fest have included National Geographic Channel picking up TV rights to the competition documentary Chasing Ice, Sony Pictures Classics buying the competition doc Searching For Sugar Man and Magnolia Pictures grabbing rights to The Queen of Versailles. HBO also picked up remake rights to Indie Game: The Movie to turn into a series with producer Scott Rudin and nabbed broadcast rights to competition doc Me @ the Zoo right before the festival started.

Email: Jay.Fernandez@THR.com; Daniel.Miller@THR.com

 Twitter: @Writer730@DanielNMiller