Documentary marks directorial debut of Janet Tobias

Magnolia Pictures is acquiring U.S. theatrical distribution rights to Janet Tobias’ documentary “No Place on Earth” from History Films, which has U.S. TV rights. Pic tells the gripping story of a Jewish family who took refuge in caves for 18 months to evade Nazi capture.

Acquisition announcement comes less than 48 hours after the film’s world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival on Monday night. Magnolia will release the film in theaters in 2013.

The docu, which recounts the story of 38 Ukrainian Jews who survived WWII by living in caves, is built upon interviews with former cave inhabitants, as well as Chris Nicola, the caving enthusiast who unearthed the story.

“No Place on Earth” marks the directorial debut of Tobias, a former producer for “60 Minutes,” “Dateline NBC” and “Nightline.” Tobias produced the documentary with Rafael Marmor, Paul Laikin, Nadav Schirman, Susan Barnett and Zita Kisgergely.

In his review, Variety film critic John Anderson called the pic “a substantial contribution to Holocaust cinema that defies the notion that the era has been exhausted of its stories, or the ways they can be told.”

“No Place on Earth” is “an incredibly moving and thrilling story, told with real eloquence and gripping excitement,” said Magnolia prexy Eamonn Bowles. “Janet Tobias has powerfully brought to life a stunning chapter of history that will resonate with audiences of all kinds.”

“We are so happy to have found a home for ‘No Place on Earth’ with Magnolia Pictures. The company has an incredible track record with documentaries, and we are thrilled this special story will be reaching the widest possible audience,” added Tobias.

“History is incredibly proud of our role in bringing this utterly harrowing but also inspiring tale of survival to a wide audience,” said Dirk Hoogstra,  senior VP of programming and development at History.

Deal was negotiated by Josh Braun and David Koh at Submarine with Dori Begley, Magnolia’s senior VP of acquisitions. Submarine is also repping Rob Zombie’s “Lords of Salem,” which is expected to land with Anchor Bay Films.

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