Alex Gibney's pic debuted at Tribeca fest

Magnolia Pictures has snagged U.S. rights to Alex Gibney’s untitled Eliot Spitzer docu, one of the buzz titles of the 2010 Tribeca film fest.

Deal marks the fifth time Magnolia has pacted to distribute a Gibney pic, following “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,” the recent release “Casino Jack and the United States of Money” and the upcoming “Freakonomics,” to which Gibney contributed one seg.

Doc was produced by A&E Networks’ A&E IndieFilms along with Wider Film Projects; A&E will air the cable preem of the movie after the theatrical and homevid release. No dates have yet been set.

Docu, still untitled, focuses on Spitzer’s rise and fall in New York politics, examining not only his transactions with the prostitution ring that contributed to his public downfall but also concurrent political tides at work. Movie’s single screening at Tribeca, where a nearly-finished cut was shown, attracted the fervent interest of the hometown aud and earned some local media attention.

Given the story’s New York-centric subject matter, some in the industry wondered whether the doc had a broad enough appeal to warrant a theatrical release, while others believed the Spitzer scandal had achieved enough national prominence to attract theatergoers.

Distribution deal was negotiated by Magnolia senior veep Tom Quinn with John Sloss and Victoria Cook for Cinetic Media, Molly Thompson of A&E Indie Films and Todd and Jedd Wider of Wider Film Projects.

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