Pic chronicles exploits of two prankster-activists

United Artists has acquired rights for North America, Australia and New Zealand for docu feature “The Yes Men,” which recalls the subversive approach to sociopolitical commentary that made “Bowling for Columbine” a breakout hit for the distrib.

Directed by Chris Smith, Dan Ollman and Sarah Price, the feature was one of a handful of key docu titles that caught distribs’ attention last month in Toronto, where it world preemed. Smith and Price produced for the former’s Milwaukee-based company Bluemark Prods.

The filmmakers skewer globalization, free trade and institutional gullibility by chronicling the exploits of Andy and Mike, two prankster-activists who set up a fake World Trade Organization Web site that was mistaken for the real thing. The ruse resulted in the pair being invited to speak at trade conferences in the U.S. and abroad.

“When the United Artists team saw ‘The Yes Men’ in Toronto, we knew it belonged with us,” said UA president Bingham Ray. “It is a wild, irreverent and funny movie. We are excited to add to our slate a film that takes such a provocatively satirical look at issues facing our society.”

“The work Bingham and his team did on ‘Bowling for Columbine’ was incredible, and we are really happy to have their expertise and experience for the release of this film,” said Smith.

Smith’s previous features include “American Job” and “Home Movie.” He co-directed “American Movie” with Price, winning the grand jury prize at Sundance in 1999. Price’s most recent feature, “Caesar’s Park,” premiered on the Sundance Channel last month.

John Sloss of Cinetic Media negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers with Ray and Danny Rosett for United Artists.

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