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'Friedmans' docu redefines use of format

NEW YORK — After redefining the dysfunctional family drama with “Capturing the Friedmans,” director Andrew Jarecki is pushing the boundaries of the DVD format with a double disc set of his documentary feature hit through HBO Video.

Released theatrically in the spring by Magnolia Pictures in collaboration with HBO, the Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning docu has grossed an impressive $3.1 million in the U.S. and is considered a strong candidate for Oscar attention.

Jarecki is cutting together more than two hours of new material for the Jan. 27 DVD release of his portrait of the upper-middle-class Jewish family embroiled in a decade-long sex-crime investigation, which used extensive material from the Long Island clan’s home movie archives.

“Essentially, there was a 5½ hour cut of the film,” Jarecki told Daily Variety. “We thought the DVD presented an opportunity for further ruminations on the case, on the family and on the heated debates that have happened since the film was released.”

Disc one contains the feature plus standard DVD extras such as the theatrical trailer and director’s commentary. Disc two contains 27 short films that go deeper into various aspects of the film, as well as unseen home videos.

One segment recaps the New York premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in May, when the judge, detectives, lawyers, assistant DA, postal inspector, investigative journos and others involved in the case saw the film for the first time, resulting in a verbal altercation during the Q&A that followed.

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