Distrib nabs domestic rights to Berman's doc

Phase 4 Films has acquired all U.S. rights and nontheatrical Canadian rights to Brigitte Berman’s feature doc “Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel.”

Pic bowed at the Toronto Film Festival in September. Final version is 11 minutes shorter than what unspooled in Toronto.

Berman had unprecedented access to the outspoken founder of the Playboy empire.

Through interviews and Hefner’s own voluminous archives, the Oscar-winning Berman contrasts Hef’s controversial lifestyle with his battles over racial equality, First Amendment rights, abortion rights, sexual freedom, censorship and social justice.

“What fascinates me about Hef is that, while many know him only as a hedonistic, sensual playboy and a legendary lover of countless beautiful women, there is a whole other and far more interesting, far sexier side to him as well,” Berman said.

Doc also includes interviews with George Lucas, Tony Bennett, Joan Baez, Jim Brown, James Caan and Jesse Jackson.

Producers are Metaphor Films, Victor Solnicki, Berman and Peter Raymont.

Phase 4 prexy-CEO Berry Meyerowitz is planning a Stateside theatrical release for late spring. The Toronto-based distrib recently handled the DVD rights to docu “Valentino.”

Deal was negotiated between Phase 4’s Larry Greenberg and Robin Smith’s KinoSmith for Canadian rights and with Cinetic’s Debra Fisher for the U.S.

Berman won an Academy Award for her feature docu “Artie Shaw: Time Is All You’ve Got.”

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