Lions Gate to dance with ‘Death’

Co. gets foreign rights to Morris' docu of an execution technologist

Lions Gate Intl. has acquired all foreign rights to the docu “Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter Jr.,” directed by Errol Morris.

Pic debuted as a work in progress at Sundance 1999 and preemed Dec. 29 in New York and Los Angeles.

Pact reflects Lions Gate’s desire to increase synergy between its domestic and international divisions — with Nick Meyer, veep of sales and distribution of Lions Gate Films Intl., collaborating more closely on future acquisitions with Tom Ortenberg and Mark Urman, co-prexies of Lions Gate domestic releasing.

Execution technologist

“Mr. Death” concerns an execution technologist who became known as the Florence Nightingale of Death Row.

Though his mission was to design and repair “humane” gas chambers, electric chairs and lethal injection systems, Leuchter became infamous for his work with anti-Holocaust writer Ernst Zundel, who commissioned Leuchter to conduct a forensic investigation into the use of poison gas at Auschwitz. Leuchter’s findings eventually led him to hypothesize that the Holocaust never happened.

Morris has directed and produced such pics as “Fast, Cheap & Out of Control,” “A Brief History of Time” and “The Thin Blue Line.”

David Collins, Michael Williams and Dorothy Auffiero produced “Mr. Death,” which was exec produced by IFC Prods., Jonathan Sebring, Caroline Kaplan and attorney-producers rep John Sloss.

Pact was negotiated by Joe Drake on behalf of Lions Gate Films Intl., along with Sloss of Sloss Law.