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Magnolia Nabs Andy Goldsworthy Documentary ‘Leaning Into the Wind’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Magnolia Pictures has nabbed U.S. rights to “Leaning Into the Wind,” a documentary look at British artist Andy Goldsworthy, Variety has learned.

The deal comes on the held of the film’s world premiere at the San Francisco International Film Festival. It marks director Thomas Riedelsheimer’s second film on Goldsworthy. The previous effort, 2001’s “Rivers and Tides,” was a surprise art house hit, grossing $2.2 million, a lordly sum for a non-fiction film, particularly one about fine art.

Perhaps its the ecological tinge to Goldsworthy’s work that allowed the picture to connect with audiences. He is a sculptor and photographer, best known for his land art. His installations have appeared at the National Gallery of Art, the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, and the National Museum of Scotland. He lives and works in Scotland.

According to Magnolia, the film follows Goldsworthy as he searches for inspiration along hillsides, rugged terrain, and other outdoor spaces, going on a creative road trip that takes him from Edinburgh and Glasgow to the Ibitipoca Reserve in Brazil, the South of France, and New England.

“Thomas has crafted another extraordinary film in ‘Leaning Into the Wind,’” said Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles in a statement. “Not only is it a visual masterpiece, it’s also one of the most fascinating character studies I’ve seen in years.”

In a positive notice, Variety’s Dennis Harvey writes that “Leaning Into the Wind” has much in common with “Rivers and Tides.”

“‘Rivers and Tides’ clicked with viewers not just because of its beauty and novelty, but because it had a sort of blood-pressure-lowering effect — it was like a relaxation exercise in which you actually learned something,” writes Harvey. “Seeing no reason to mess with a good thing, Riedelsheimer’s very handsome package (including his own cinematography, this time in HD) makes few significant alternations, maintaining the same alert yet tranquil pacing and tenor.”

“Leaning Into the Wind” is a Scottish-German co-production produced by Leslie Hills and Stefan Tolz with support from The National Lottery through Creative Scotland, Robert Hiscox, Roger Evans and Aey Phanachet, Sakurako and William Fisher, Miel de Botton, John Caulkins and Leslie Hills. Fred Frith, who handled the score for “Rivers and Tides,” composed the music for the film.

The deal was negotiated by Magnolia co-EVP Dori Begley and Magnolia SVP of Acquisitions John Von Thaden, with Charlotte Mickie of Mongrel International on behalf of the filmmakers.

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