THINKFilm has acquired worldwide rights to War/Dance, a new documentary that will have its world premiere in competition at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, it was announced by the company’s Head of US Theatrical, Mark Urman. Directed by husband and wife Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine, the idea for War/Dance was originated by Academy Award Nominated Producer Albie Hecht and his wife Susan MacLaury, and produced thru their new nonprofit production company, Shine Global, in conjunction with Fine Films. The film centers around a group of African children who overcome the brutal realities of war by participating in a national musical competition that can change their lives immeasurably. THINKFilm will release War/Dance in the 4th Quarter of 2007.
Set in Northern Uganda, a country ravaged by more than two decades of civil war, War/Dance tells the story of Dominic, Rose, and Nancy, three children whose families have been torn apart, their homes destroyed, and who currently reside in a displaced persons camp in Patongo. When they are invited to compete in an annual music and dance festival, their historic journey to their nation’s capital is also an opportunity to regain a part of their childhood and to taste victory for the first time in their lives.
Of the acquisition, Urman says, “The emotional power of ‘War/Dance’ is more than matched by the beauty of its imagery and the eloquence of its storytelling. Though we are still in the midst of this year’s awards season, I am already confident that ‘War/Dance’ will figure prominently in next year’s race.”
Sean and Andrea Fine added, “After spending over 14 weeks living with these children in a war zone we felt we had to get their story out to the rest of the world in their own words. ‘War/Dance’ reflects both the hope and horror of these children’s difficult lives and it was inspiring for us to watch how music and dance transformed them.”
Though War/Dance was only recently completed, THINKFilm actually came on board months ago after Urman saw several minutes of assembled footage at a fundraiser for Shine Global, the nonprofit subsidiary of Producer Hecht’s Worldwide Biggies, Inc. dedicated to ending the abuse and exploitation of children thru the production of documentary films. THINKFilm then worked with the filmmakers to finalize the documentary and prepare for its Sundance unveiling, much as it did two years earlier with the Oscar-nominated Murderball.
The deal was negotiated by Richard Rapkowski, THINKFilm VP of Business and Legal Affairs and Daniel Katz, THINKFilm VP of Acquisitions, and Andrew Herwitz from The Film Sales Company for the filmmakers.
Also premiering in the Documentary Competition category at Sundance is Zoo, another title THINKFilm nabbed worldwide rights to on the basis of a few minutes of footage. Directed by Robinson Devor, the film tells the story of a seemingly average businessman whose secret sexual life led to his shocking death. Zoo was written by Devor and Charles Mudede, and produced by Peggy Case. The deal was also negotiated by Katz and Rapkowski at THINKFilm, with Stacey Walters from Graham & Dunn PC on behalf of the filmmakers.