Company acquires North America, U.K. rights for docu on serial killer

IFC Midnight has acquired all North American and U.K. rights to director Chris James Thompson’s documentary “The Jeffrey Dahmer Files,” which explores the city of Milwaukee via interviews with people surrounding the infamous serial killer during and after his murder spree.

IFC Midnight is planning an early 2013 release for the documentary.

Thompson produced the film with Jack Turner and also co-wrote the script with Andrew Swant and Joe Riepenhoff. Chris Smith and Barry Poltermann exec produced the project, which had its world premiere in competition at the SXSW Film Festival earlier this year. Pic also played this year’s Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto.

In 1991, Dahmer was arrested in Milwaukee and sentenced to 957 years in prison for killing 17 people and dismembering their bodies. Recollections from Milwaukee medical examiner Jeffrey Jentzen, detective Patrick Kennedy and neighbor Pamela Bass are interwoven with archival footage and everyday scenes from Dahmer’s life, working collectively to disassemble the facade of an ordinary man leading an ordinary existence.

“Chris James Thompson has made one of the creepiest documentaries of the year that lingers in the mind long after the film has ended,” said Sundance Selects/IFC Films prexy Jonathan Sehring. “He’s approached the well-known subject of Jeffrey Dahmer in a new and inventive way that managed to completely unnerve us. It also promises you will never eat a sandwich quite the same way.”

“Having grown up on watching IFC films – for them to pick up my first feature feels like a dream come true,” added Thompson. “I couldn’t be more proud of this film and everyone from Milwaukee to Bombay that helped mold it from a four-year meandering experiment into the fresh cinematic oddity it is today – the world needs to see it!”

Deal was negotiated by Arianna Bocco of Sundance Selects/IFC Films with Josh Braun of Submarine Entertainment on behalf of the filmmakers.

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