Teen tale sails to bigscreen

Pic follows Abby Sunderland's attempt to circumnavigate globe

Steve Longi’s Longitude Entertainment has come on board a feature version of 16-year-old Abby Sunderland’s 2010 attempt to sail solo around the world.

Sunderland was rescued in a remote part of the Indian Ocean after a rogue wave tore off the mast on her 40-foot sailboat, Wild Eyes. Her brother Zac Sunderland became first person under the age of 18 to complete a circumnavigation in 2009.

The film will be a co-production with Going Long Prods. with Longi producing and financing development. Joe Lawless is exec producing. Abby Sunderland’s parents, Laurence and Marianne Sunderland, will act as consultants.

Sunderland’s voyage was chronicled in “Unsinkable,” a tome she co-wrote with Lynn Vincent, and examined in her father’s documentary “Wild Eyes.”

The decision by her parents to let their daughter follow in her brother’s footsteps sparked controversy and catapulted the voyage on to the world stage.

“Abby’s story is perfect for the bigscreen,” Longi said. “It is one of courage and determination and should serve as an inspiration to everyone in these challenging times.”

The Sunderlands said in a statement, “We are excited at the possibility of sharing our story with the world and hope that others are inspired to pursue their dreams.”

Longi’s credits include “Youth in Revolt,” “Charlie Bartlett” and “Struck by Lightning.” He is developing the book “Without a Badge” with David Permut and Christie Hsiao’s Serenity Media Group, and Walden Media’s “The C.O.” with Randall Wallace directing.

The rights deal for Abby Sunderland was negotiated by her parents, Cary Kozlov and Chris Barrett of Metropolitan Talent Agency and attorney Richard Rosenthal.

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