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Seventh Art up to ‘Challenge’

Docu tracks Vietnam bike trek

Indie distribber Seventh Art Releasing has acquired worldwide rights to “The Vietnam Challenge,” a documentary directed by producer/cinematographer Peter Gilbert (“Hoop Dreams”).

Oren Bitan, Seventh Art’s vice president of acquisitions and marketing, made the announcement.

Pic follows a group of U.S. and Vietnamese veterans who undertake a 16-day, 1,200-mile bicycle ride from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City.

Seventh Art’s Zurich-based sales outfit, First Hand Films, will handle international sales on the pic, which is in post-production.

According to Bitan, Seventh Art is planning a late fall, limited theatrical release for “Vietnam” — principally in major urban markets — following the pic’s exposure in several international festivals.

“We hope that the film could get the same kind of (audience) response as ‘Hoop Dreams,’ ” he said.

Later this year, Seventh Art will release the documentary “Split,” from Israeli filmmaker Dan Tal. Doc is about a father who re-visits Germany with his son — 35 years after dad fled to a Kibbutz in Israel. First Hand also is selling international rights on “Split.”

A former television and musicvid cinematographer based in Chicago, Gilbert teamed with writer-director Steve James and producer Frederick Marx to make “Hoop” in 1993. He and James subsequently collaborated on the Hollywood Pictures-backed biopic “Prefontaine,” starring Jared Leto, which James directed and Gilbert produced and shot.

Gilbert’s other cinematography credits include documentaries “The Long Way Home” and “American Dream.”

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