Roadside picks up ‘Chicago 10’

Indie distrib draws protest documentary

“Chicago 10,” the 2007 Sundance opener directed by Brett Morgen (“The Kid Stays in the Picture”), has been acquired by indie distributor Roadside Attractions.

Docu centers on antiwar protests at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago and the subsequent trial of members of the revolutionary Yippie movement. Pic captures the theatrics of the infamous trial via archival footage and animation voiced by thesps such as Hank Azaria and Mark Ruffalo.

Eric d’Arbeloff, who co-heads Roadside with Howard Cohen, said the distrib had been interested in the pic at Sundance, but it took a few months to work out all the terms of the deal.

Produced by River Road Entertainment and Participant Prods, doc, which had a special screening Wednesday night at Gotham’s Guggenheim Museum, will undergo a re-edit before its release in early 2008, according to Morgen.

“Nothing too significant will be changed, but it will be a little tighter,” he explained.

After a screening before an audience, Morgen and Participant Prods. felt “there were some judicious tweaks that they could make,” d’Arbeloff added.

Distrib plans on taking advantage of the event’s upcoming 40th anniversary, occurring during a politically charged election year, to launch the film.

“We are probably looking at a platform release starting in the major markets and then expanding from there,” d’Arbeloff said. “I intended this film to be seen by people who weren’t around when the convention happened,” Morgen added. “I think social change in general is brought about by young people, so that was really the intended audience.”

Docu is a follow-up to “An Inconvenient Truth” for Participant Prods., which specializes in socially conscious pics. Previous credits for the banner also include George Clooney’s “Good Night, and Good Luck.”

Pic was also being eyed at Sundance by distribs including Picturehouse, Sony Pictures Classics and Focus Features.

The deal was announced by Cohen and d’Arbeloff; Participant Productions prexy Ricky Strauss and River Road President and CEO, Bill Pohlad. The deal was negotiated by John Sloss of Cinetic Media; Participant’s exec VP Business Affairs, Jeff Ivers and exec VP of Documentaries, Diane Weyermann, and River Road Entertainment Head of Business Affairs, Deborah Zipser and financial consultant Joe Cohen along with Cohen.

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