Studio nabs rights to film on former president

Sony Pictures Classics has acquired North American rights to producer-director Jonathan Demme’s “Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains” from Participant Prods.

The documentary will debut at the upcoming Venice Film Festival, followed by screenings at September’s Toronto fest.

The specialty division of Sony Pictures Entertainment will unveil nine pictures in Toronto, including “The Jane Austen Book Club,” “Sleuth” and the animated “Persepolis.”

Invited by Participant to follow ex-president Carter’s recent controversial book tour for “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” Demme and a camera crew led by Declan Quinn filmed an intimate portrait of Carter as he dealt with the slings and arrows generated by his provocative public appearances across the country.

Demme, who recently announced his first project with SPC, “Dancing With Shiva,” said Sony Pictures Classics’ “imagination, commitment and expertise are unparalleled in bringing off-formula filmmaking to the widest possible audience.”

Demme produced and directed “Jimmy Carter” for his company Clinica Estetico. Neda Armian also produced. Executive producers are Participant’s Jeff Skoll, Diane Weyermann and Ron Bozman.  

Based in Los Angeles, Participant’s upcoming releases include Mike Nichols’ “Charlie Wilson’s War”; Marc Forster’s “The Kite Runner”; Errol Morris’ “S.O.P.”; “The Visitor,” Tom McCarthy’s follow-up to “The Station Agent”; Brett Morgen’s docu “Chicago 10″; and Louise Hogarth’s AIDS in Africa doc “Angels in the Dust.”

SPC acquired “Jimmy Carter” from Participant with Jeff Ivers and ICM negotiating on its behalf; ICM, which represents Demme, is handling worldwide sales on the project.

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