October falls for ‘War Room’ docu

October Films is betting that a little political intrigue will sell big in the nation’s arthouse theaters.

The New York-based independent, an eclectic marketing and distribution company that has tackled several tough box office sells, has closed a deal for all North American rights to the 1992 election documentary “The War Room,” which focuses on President Bill Clinton’s campaign to become president, the company and producer confirmed Monday.

The pic will be released in Manhattan, Washington, Los Angeles and Little Rock, beginning in November.

Campaign exploits

Directed by D.A. Pennebaker (“Don’t Look Back,””Monterey Pop”) and Chris Hegedus, “The War Room” focuses on the exploits of Clinton aides James Carville and George Stephanopoulos during the campaign.

October co-managing partner Jeff Lipsky said the deal for “The War Room” covers the “length of several presidential terms,” while producer Frazer Pennebaker said October has theatrical rights to the pic for 10 years followed by an additional five-year option. October will act as commissioned broker in the sale of the homevideo and television rights, Pennebaker said. Lipsky said October anticipates the free TV deal to be a major component in the package.

“The War Room,” produced on a shoestring by Pennebaker, R.J. Cutler and Wendy Ettinger, who raised the funds for the $ 500,000 project independently, is a likely candidate for the New York Film Festival. The making of the documentary has already been splashed in New York Times and New York Observer features.

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