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Artisan’s dot-com docu drama

Firm clicks on rights to nonfiction 'Net film

NEW YORK — Artisan has acquired North American rights to the latest docu from D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

The filmmakers’ investigations of such timely subjects as Bill Clinton’s 1992 election campaign in “The War Room” (1993) have made them leading practitioners of the genre.

Workings of Web

The pic, “Startup.com,” is also directed by newcomer Jehane Noujaim. It chronicles the rise of a successful Netco, GovWorks.com, which provides Web services for government agencies and business.

“For us it is crucial that our characters are doing something that matters to them,” said Pennebaker, “and be doing it at a time when the stakes are high.”

“Startup.com,” which follows two boyhood friends who quit their jobs, lay the groundwork for GovWorks and achieve the first round of capitalization, fits those requirements, said Artisan senior veep Patrick Gunn.

“Everybody sees and hears about ‘Net companies that meet with wild success,” Gunn told Daily Variety. “The film allows for auds to see how that happens on a personal level.”

Art of ‘War’

It’s fitting that Artisan, a pioneer of Internet film marketing, should take on a docu about an online company. And Artisan topper Amir Malin has a longstanding relationship with Pennebaker and Hegedus, having worked with them on “The War Room” when he was co-prexy of October Films.

Artisan has released such noted docus as “The Cruise” and “Buena Vista Social Club.”

“Startup.com” is produced by Frazer Pennebaker, who repped the filmmakers in the deal. Artisan was repped by Gunn and Karen Levin.

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