Kino Lorber gets rights to ‘King’ doc

Plans to release to the educational market

Kino Lorber has acquired worldwide rights to the 1970 documentary “King: A Filmed Recod … Montgomery to Memphis.”

The doc was produced for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Foundation by Ely Landau and covers the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr., from the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott to his assassination in 1968 as the leader of the non-violent civil rights movement.

Kino Lorber announced the deal Friday.

“King” includes film/newsreel and video/television footage and readings by actors Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee, Ben Gazzara, Charlton Heston, James Earl Jones, Burt Lancaster, Paul Newman, Anthony Quinn, Clarence Williams III and Joanne Woodward. These sections were co-directed by Sydney Lumet and Joseph L. Mankiewicz.

The documentary was nominated for the an Academy Award in the Best Documentary category in 1970 and was deemed “culturally significant” by the United States Library of Congress in 1999 and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

This deal was negotiated between Kino Lorber CEO & President Richard Lorber and Richard Kaplan, who served as associate producer.

Kino Lorber plans a series of special theatrical bookings throughout the country and will then will release “King” to the educational market via its Kino Lorber Edu division before making it available to other platforms.

Kaplan’s company, A Filmed Record, has helped to create a new 35mm print restored from the archival elements of the original held at The Library of Congress. Kino Lorber will create a new HD master for the film’s Blu-ray release from this new print.

“‘King: A Filmed Record’ is a rare record of history in action that captures the momentum of the Civil Rights movement and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” said Kino Lorber CEO Richard Lorber. “It is arguably the definitive film about one of the seminal movements (and political leaders) of 20th Century history.”

“King: A Filmed Record” was screened as a special “one-time-only event” on March 24, 1970 in over 600 theaters throughout the United States.The film, three hours in length, was billed as “An Evening in Tribute to Martin Luther King” and raised over $3 million for the benefit of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Special Fund.

Kino Lorber said a shorter version of the film was subsequently made available to TV stations across the globe, but the original unedited three-hour version has rarely been shown in recent years.

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