Sundance Selects Buys John DeLorean Documentary (EXCLUSIVE)

John DeLorean
AP/REX/Shutterstock

Sundance Selects has bought all domestic rights to an untitled documentary about the rise and fall of automaker John Z. DeLorean.

The film is directed by Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce, produced by Tamir Ardon, XYZ Films and 9.14 Pictures and backed by Ingenious. Production is currently under way, with filming in Italy and in the U.K., including the site of the original DeLorean Motor Car factory in Belfast.

XYZ is handling worldwide sales and is in talks for a multi-territory deal with a major studio distributor.

The film will be told through the eyes of family, colleagues and competing Hollywood filmmakers who have struggled to bring his story to the big screen.

DeLorean is best remembered for the DMC-12, a sports car simply called the DeLorean with a stainless steel body and gull-wing doors. He had worked for General Motors and designed the Pontiac GTO, the Pontiac Firebird and Pontiac Grand Prix, before starting the DeLorean Motor Company in 1973.

The DeLorean did not reach the consumer market until 1981 and did not catch on, resulting in the company being liquidated in 1982. DeLorean was also charged by the U.S. government in 1982 with trafficking cocaine and was acquitted two years later after his lawyers argued successfully that he had illegally entrapped.

The DeLorean was immortalized in the “Back to the Future” trilogy as the vehicle used for time travel.

Ardon is a DeLorean historian and began development on the documentary in 2005 following DeLorean’s death.

“DeLorean’s story is one that is still woefully misunderstood,” he said. “We intend to take advantage of recently released documents by the US Federal Government, as well as the British Government, to piece together the definitive John DeLorean story.”

The deal for domestic rights was brokered by Arianna Bocco for Sundance Selects and by Nate Bolotin on behalf of XYZ Films and 9.14 Pictures.

Several members of the DeLorean family are participating, including his children Zachary and Kathryn, his brother and his nephew.

9.14 Pictures has most recently produced the Hulu documentary “Batman & Bill,” “The Art of the Steal” and “Last days Here.”

XYZ’s slate includes “Apostle,” directed by Gareth Evans and staring Dan Stevens; “I Kill Giants,” staring Zoe Saldana and Imogen Poots; and “Sweet Virginia,”starring Poots, Jon Bernthal and Christopher Abbott. XYZ also just wrapped production on the Anthony Scott Burns thriller, “Our House,” which stars Thomas Mann and Nicola Peltz, and is currently in production on Brian Taylor’s thriller, “Mom and Dad,” starring Nicolas Cage.

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