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New Yorker charity case flies on Radar

True story finds new life with Plan B

Radar Pictures and Plan B have won a heated auction for “The Gift,” a New Yorker article by Ian Parker about a man who, after giving away his $45 million real estate fortune to charity, went a step further by donating one of his kidneys to save the life of a stranger.

Zell Kravinsky has sold his life rights as part of the package for a movie that will be written and directed by Jacob Aaron Estes, who wrote and directed “Mean Creek.”

Radar put up the coin for Parker’s article, which drew several bids. Radar’s Ted Field and Joe Rosenberg and Plan B’s DeDe Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner will oversee the project. Hotchkiss and Associates brokered the deal.

The article questions whether one man can give too much. Kravinsky compiled a fortune in real estate, but gave everything away as he became hooked on the principle that he had no right to live better than those around him. Kravinsky’s radical philanthropy has made him a lightning rod for controversy.

“When I donated money, some thought it freakish, but it was not controversial,” Kravinsky told Daily Variety. “But when I gave away my kidney, most felt it was charity bordering on lunacy, and AOL actually ran a poll on whether I was generous or crazy. My family almost split up over this, I’ve been branded too eccentric to deal with, and it has hurt both my business and my philanthropy. Some charities I give money to don’t want to be associated with me.”

Kravinsky has given away so much, in fact, that he may be forced to hang on to his movie paycheck.

“They sent me a form to donate this money, but we need it very much at this point, so I am not sure what we’ll do,” Kravinsky said.

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