Sundance: Amazon Nears Deal for ‘Author: The JT Leroy Story’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Sundance U.S. Documentary Competition 2016
Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival

Amazon is in final negotiations for rights to “Author: The JT Leroy Story,” Variety has learned.

The look at the famous literary fraudster premiered on Friday at the Sundance Film Festival, earning strong reviews. Bidding for the film is competitive, with several distributors making offers, and there’s still a chance that talks will break down.

The film looks at how Laura Albert, a San Francisco punk rocker and phone sex operator, created a wunderkind writer named JT Leroy. A New York magazine investigation that Leroy, whose accounts of drug addiction and neglect made him a sensation, was himself a work of fiction.

Director Jeff Feuerzeig grilled Albert about her creation as well as celebrity admirers such as Courtney Love and Billy Corgan.

This would be the first documentary for Amazon, but the digital giant wants to build up its non-fiction offerings.

Amazon and its online rival Netflix have been among the most aggressive bidders at this year’s Sundance. Netflix has snapped up streaming rights to “Tallulah” and “The Fundamentals of Caring,” among other titles, while Amazon has nabbed rights to Whit Stillman’s “Love and Friendship.”

WME negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.

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