Miramax takes plunge into ‘Deep’

Docu hopes to follow domestic success of 'Migration'

Representing a rare foray for the distrib into nonfiction films, Miramax has acquired North American rights to feature-length marine life documentary “Deep Blue,” produced by BBC Worldwide and Germany’s Greenlight Media.

Directed by Alastair Fothergill and Andy Byatt and narrated by Michael Gambon, the doc explores life above, below and far beneath the ocean’s surface, doing for sea creatures what “Microcosmos” did for the insect kingdom and “Winged Migration” did for the bird world.

Latter pic has grossed more than $10.7 million in the U.S. for Sony Pictures Classics, indicating a highly receptive theatrical market for this type of nature film, designed more to provide a sensory experience and visual spectacle than animal facts.

Shot over three years in a range of locations including the Maldives, Azores, Cayman Islands and Bermuda, the $5 million production features a George Fenton score performed by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

“Deep Blue” is a “breathtaking film that is at once entertaining and emotionally involving,” said Miramax exec VP of acquisitions and co-productions Agnes Mentre, who announced the deal. “Groundbreaking photography and a fantastic score make this real-life undersea adventure an epic cinematic experience.”

Pic was brought to Miramax by London-based acquisitions director Chiara Trento. Mentre and Miramax senior VP of acquisitions and business affairs David Miercort negotiated the deal with Nikolaus Weil, chief operating officer of Greenlight Media.

“Working with Miramax, with its major expertise in North America, will ensure this amazing cinema experience reaches the widest possible audience in this very important market,” said BBC Worldwide chief exec Rupert Gavin.

Pic world preemed in early fall at the San Sebastian Film Festival and is the first of several co-productions planned between the BBC’s commercial consumer arm and Greenlight Media as part of a multipic deal.

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