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Magnolia Pictures Acquires North American Rights to Alex Gibney and Alison Ellwood’s MAGIC TRIP

In Alex Gibney, History Films, Magic Trip, Magnolia Pictures on February 14, 2011 at 11:17 am

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, February 14, 2011
Contact:
Matt Cowal
212-924-6701 x 212
mcowal@magpictures.com

Magnolia Pictures Acquires North American Rights to Alex Gibney and Alison Ellwood’s MAGIC TRIP

Berlin – February 14, 2011 – The Wagner/Cuban Company’s Magnolia Pictures announced today they have acquired North American rights to Alex Gibney and Alison Ellwood’s MAGIC TRIP, a freewheeling portrait of Ken Kesey and the Merry Prankster’s fabled road trip across America in the legendary Magic Bus. Co-directed and co-written by Oscar winner Gibney and his frequent collaborator Ellwood, the film was produced under HISTORY’s feature documentary banner, HISTORY Films, and the network will follow the film’s theatrical and home video release by Magnolia with a television broadcast premiere. Gibney produced along with Will Clarke, founder of Optimum Releasing, and Alexandra Johnes, another frequent Gibney collaborator.

In 1964, Ken Kesey, the famed author of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” set off on a legendary, LSD-fuelled cross-country road trip to the New York World’s Fair. He was joined by “The Merry Band of Pranksters,” a renegade group of counterculture truth-seekers, including Neal Cassady, the American icon immortalized in Kerouac’s “On the Road,” and the driver and painter of the psychedelic Magic Bus. Kesey and the Pranksters intended to make a documentary about their trip, shooting footage on 16MM, but the film was never finished and the footage has remained virtually unseen. With MAGIC TRIP, Gibney and Ellwood were given unprecedented access to this raw footage by the Kesey family. They worked with the Film Foundation, HISTORY and the UCLA Film Archives to restore over 100 hours of film and audiotape, and have shaped an invaluable document of this extraordinary piece of American history.

Magnolia will release the film this summer as part of its Ultra VOD program, premiering the film on VOD platforms a month prior to its theatrical release—a model that proved very successful last year for another Magnolia/Gibney collaboration, Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer. MAGIC TRIP will mark the sixth collaboration between Gibney and Magnolia, who distributed three of the prolific filmmaker’s projects in 2010 alone: Client 9, Casino Jack and the United States of Money, and the Freakonomics omnibus, featuring a segment by Gibney.

“Alex Gibney and Alison Ellwood have done a masterful job piecing together this incredibly amazing footage,” said Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles. “It is truly like a taking a trip in a time machine back to the cultural beginning of the sixties.”

“I’m delighted to tune in and turn on with Magnolia and MAGIC TRIP,” said director Gibney. “Magnolia has the mind-expanded consciousness to be able to make the most out of this film. We’re on the bus. Further!”

The deal was negotiated by Magnolia SVP Tom Quinn with Cinetic’s John Sloss.

About Magnolia Pictures
Magnolia Pictures (www.magpictures.com) is the theatrical and home entertainment distribution arm of the Wagner/Cuban Companies, a vertically-integrated group of media properties co-owned by Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban that also includes the Landmark Theatres chain, and the high definition cable network HDNet. Magnolia’s eclectic slate includes such critically acclaimed films as the Oscar nominated documentary Food, Inc., Oscar winner Man on Wire, James Gray’s Two Lovers, Bong Joon-Ho’s Mother, Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love, Oscar-winner Alex Gibney’s documentaries Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Gonzo and Casino Jack, Tanya Hamilton’s Night Catches Us, and Andrew Jarecki’s All Good Things. Upcoming releases include Andrew Rossi’s New York Times Documentary Page One, Mark Pellington’s I Melt With You, Fred Cavayé’s Point Blank, Max Winkler’s Ceremony and many more.


About HISTORY Films

HISTORY Films brings cinematic stories by outstanding independent filmmakers to the widest possible audience. Through HISTORY Films, the network will pursue dramatic non-fiction films about extraordinary people and those singular moments in our past, present and future that stand out forever, demonstrating that History is Made Every Day. The HISTORY Films roster currently includes: Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010) (produced by Creative Differences for HISTORY Films in association with MORE 4); Countdown to Zero (2010) (produced by Creative Differences for HISTORY Films in association with MORE 4); and Magic Trip (2011) (produced by HISTORY Films in association with Jigsaw, Phoenix Wiley and Optimum Releasing Imaginary Forces).

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Magnolia Pictures Acquires North American Rights to Film Version of Smash Bestselling Book FREAKONOMICS

In Magnolia Pictures, Tribeca Film Festival 2010 on April 6, 2010 at 4:59 pm

New York – April 5, 2010 – The Wagner/Cuban Companies’ Magnolia Pictures announced today that it has acquired all North American rights to FREAKONOMICS, the highly anticipated film version of the phenomenally bestselling book about incentives-based thinking by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. Like the book, the film examines human behavior with provocative and sometimes hilarious case studies, bringing together a dream team of filmmakers responsible for some of the most acclaimed and entertaining documentaries in recent years: Academy Award® winner Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Casino Jack and the United States of Money), Academy Award® nominees Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing (Jesus Camp), Academy Award® nominee Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me), Eugene Jarecki (Why We Fight) and Seth Gordon (The King of Kong).

Produced by Chad Troutwine, with Chris Romano and Dan O’Meara of the Green Film Company, FREAKONOMICS is the Closing Night Gala film selection at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Alex Gibney takes a visually arresting look at the crumbling façade of Sumo wrestling and exposes searing and violent truths about this ancient and revered sport. Morgan Spurlock offers up a buoyant and revealing angle on the repercussions of baby names. Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing balance levity and candor with an eye-opening profile of underachieving kids incentivized to learn with cold hard cash. Finally, Eugene Jarecki investigates an unsettling theory to explain why crime rates dramatically dropped in the early ’90s. Seth Gordon weaves the pieces together with brisk interludes, providing context and commentary from the authors.

Magnolia anticipates a particularly wide audience for this documentary, as it is difficult to overstate the impact of the source material. Upon its release, Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything spent multiple years on the New York Times bestsellers list, and became one of the most blogged about books in the world, inspiring a continuing discussion that has spawned a bestselling sequel (SuperFreakonomics), as well as a regular blog on the Times’ website.

“As huge fans of the book, the film version of FREAKONOMICS is something that we’ve been excited about ever since we caught wind of it,” said Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles. “The fact that this dream project is being realized by the ‘dream team’ of documentary filmmakers makes this a major film event. We couldn’t be more thrilled.”

“Dan O’Meara, Chris Romano and I have long admired Magnolia’s maverick approach to the business and their pioneering success with new distribution models. FREAKONOMICS has been an audacious project from its inception, and we could not ask for a more intrepid partner to handle the release of our film than Magnolia Pictures,” said producer Chad Troutwine of Green Film Company.

Magnolia is planning a fall theatrical release for the film. The deal was negotiated by Magnolia SVP Tom Quinn with Troutwine, Romano and O’Meara.

About Magnolia Pictures

Magnolia Pictures (www.magpictures.com) is the theatrical and home entertainment distribution arm of the Wagner/Cuban Companies, a vertically-integrated group of media properties co-owned by Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban that also includes the Landmark Theatres chain, the production company 2929 Productions, and the high definition cable network HDNet. Magnolia’s recent releases include such critically acclaimed films as the Oscar nominated documentary Food, Inc, Oscar winner Man on Wire, James Gray’s Two Lovers, Stephen Soderbergh’s The Girlfriend Expereince, Bong Joon-Ho’s Mother, and Conor McPherson’s The Eclipse. Upcoming releases include Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love, Bob Pulcini and Shari Berman’s The Extra Man, Oscar-winner Alex Gibney’s Casino Jack and the United States of Money, Neil Jordan’s Ondine, Dagur Kari’s The Good Heart, the hard hitting nuclear weapons documentary Countdown to Zero, and many more.

About Green Film Company:
Green Film Company is a New York-based producer of film and television. Chris Romano and Dan O’Meara formed the company in early 2007, combining their years of experience in independent film production, financing, and sales. In 2008, Chad Troutwine joined the company as a partner bringing to the team a wealth of experience in film production, finance, and business development. The company’s first project By The People: The Election of Barack Obama was co-produced with Edward Norton’s Class 5 Films, and picked up by HBO Documentary Films, BBC and Sony Pictures Worldwide. The company’s current projects Freakonomics and Gerrymandering will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival followed by their theatrical release during 2010. GFC is backed by private equity financing and is developing film and television projects, both narrative and non-fiction, with some of most respected writers and filmmakers in the business.