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Sundance’s ‘Cove’ rides U.S. wave

Lionsgate, Roadside nab rights to film

Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions have acquired domestic rights to “The Cove,” winner of the audience award for documentary at Sundance, with plans for a summer release.

U.K.-based the Works Intl., in conjunction with James Atherton’s Quickfire Films Fund, has acquired all other territories. In addition, Participant Media has signed on to perform outreach for “The Cove,” working with nonprofits and community groups.

“The Cove” follows Richard O’Barry — trainer of the dolphins used in “Flipper” — and Ocean Preservation Society co-founder Louie Psihoyos in their efforts to expose and end the dolphin slaughter in the village of Taiji, Japan, where fishermen use sonar to lure the marine mammals into a cove. The producing team used hidden microphones and cameras in fake rocks to obtain footage.

” ‘The Cove’ brings us some of the most magnificent creatures on the planet and shows us why their peril is our peril,” noted Lionsgate vice chairman Michael Burns.

Pic, helmed by Psihoyos and penned by Mark Monroe, is an Oceanic Preservation Society presentation of a Jim Clark production, in association with Diamond Docs and SkyFish Films. The film is produced by Paula DuPre Pesmen and Fisher Stevens and exec produced by Jim Clark.

Lionsgate’s handled several top-grossing docus, including “Fahrenheit 9/11,” “Sicko” and “Religulous,” while Roadside released “Super Size Me.”

Filmmakers are repped by WMA and Submarine Entertaintment

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