Gilda Radner Documentary ‘Love, Gilda’ Bought by Magnolia

Magnolia Pictures has acquired North American rights to the Gilda Radner documentary “Love, Gilda,” which opened last month’s Tribeca Film Festival.

CNN Films, which began its collaboration with director Lisa D’Apolito more than a year ago, retains North American broadcast rights to the film.

Along with interviews from those closest to her, including her brother Michael Radner and “Saturday Night Live” alumni Chevy Chase, Lorne Michaels, Alan Zweibel, Laraine Newman and Martin Short, Radner’s writings are read by modern day comedians inspired by her such as Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Cecily Strong, and Bill Hader. Magnolia is targeting a 2018 theatrical release.

Working with the Radner estate, D’Apolito unearthed a collection of diaries and personal audio and video tapes documenting her childhood, her comedy career, her relationships and ultimately, her struggles with cancer. These never-before-seen-or-heard footage and journal entries form the narrative spine of the documentary.

Owen Gleiberman wrote in his review for Variety: “Lisa D’Apolito’s exuberant and moving documentary portrait of Gilda Radner is a movie that captures the fascinating evolution and awesome range of Radner’s talent — the dozens of lovingly, crazily etched characters she did on “SNL” (the dear old deaf crank Emily Litella, the head-cold nerd Lisa Loopner, the wildly cantankerous Roseanne Roseannadanna), and the way she hardly even needed to be playing a character; she could just be dancing with a hula hoop, and you felt the magic pull of her gift.”

“‘Love, Gilda’ is a beautiful tribute to an incandescent spirit,” said Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles. “Lisa D’Apolito has crafted an incredibly moving, inspirational look at a groundbreaking comedian.”

The film is produced by D’Apolito, Bronwyn Berry, Meryl Goldsmith, and James Tumminia. Executive producers are Edie Baskin, Christopher Clements, Amy Entelis, Julie Goldman, Meryl Goldsmith, Carolyn Hepburn, Courtney Sexton, Alan Zweibel, and Robin Zweibel. Associate producers are Griffin Lichtenson and Nina Guzman.

The deal was negotiated by Magnolia’s John Von Thaden with Submarine on behalf of the filmmakers.

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