ThinkFilm boards doc ‘Bus’

Company to distribute fest-winning pic

ThinkFilm has acquired North American theatrical rights to acclaimed Brazilian documentary “Bus 174,” in one of two deals closed — along with Shadow Distribution’s purchase of Hungarian festival favorite “Hukkle” — out of the New Directors/New Films event unspooling in New York.

One of the standout critical successes of the world docu program at Sundance and an award winner at the Rio, Rotterdam and Miami fests, “Bus 174” was directed by Jose Padilha. It chronicles a 2000 bus hijacking in Rio de Janeiro that froze the city and galvanized media attention, ending with the death of a hostage and the police’s mishandled capture and killing of the perpetrator.

HBO previously had acquired pay TV rights to the docu, which will go out in theaters as a ThinkFilm presentation in association with HBO/Cinemax Documentary Films. Same formula is in place on Think’s release later this month of Oscar-nominated docu “Spellbound.” Think acquired rights in all other media to “Bus 174.”

Deal was concluded late Friday prior to the film’s ND/NF screening, negotiated by Think director of acquisitions Daniel Katz, head of distribution Mark Urman and senior VP of acquisitions and business affairs Randy Manis; law firm Epstein, Levinsohn, Bodine, Hurwitz and Weinstein represented Padilha and his Zendo Entertainment production banner.

“We’ve been chasing ‘Bus 174’ since Sundance and are extremely proud that Jose Padilha has selected us as the best home for his astonishing debut feature,” Urman told Daily Variety.

Think is planning an Oct. 8 release in New York, with other cities to follow.

Also picked up out of ND/NF over the weekend was “Hukkle,” the diploma film of 27-year-old writer-director Gyorgy Palfi. Shadow Distribution, a micro-specialty division based in Waterville, Maine, acquired distribution rights for all media in the U.S. for the unclassifiable, almost dialogueless film in which a murder mystery unfolds against the droll backdrop of tranquil village life.

“Hukkle” won the European Film Award for discovery of the year and has been praised by critics at fest showings in Toronto, San Sebastian, Chicago, Paris and Santa Fe. Release date is being finalized.

ND/NF is an international showcase for work by emerging talent, jointly programmed by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art and running through Sunday in New York.

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