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Toronto: Magnolia Nabs James Baldwin Documentary (EXCLUSIVE)

Magnolia Pictures has picked up North American rights to “I Am Not Your Negro,” Variety has learned. The film is based on James Baldwin’s unfinished novel “Remember This House,” considered one of the great uncompleted works in American literature.

It is directed by Raoul Peck (“Murder in Pacot”) and narrated by Samuel L. Jackson.To craft the film, Peck was entrusted with the author’s notes and unfinished, 30-page manuscript by the Baldwin estate. The book would have looked at the lives and assassinations of three of Baldwin’s friends, the civil rights icons Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. The film will get a theatrical release.

Baldwin wrote eloquently about racial issues and gay rights, and earned his place in American letters with such novels as “Giovanni’s Room” and “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” and the essays “Notes on a Native Son” and “The Fire Next Time.”

James Baldwin has clearly become intellectually and politically unsurpassable – in fact, a visionary,” Peck said in a statement. “Ironically and tragically, he is becoming more so by the day. It is truly a pleasure to partner with such a great team to re-introduce James Baldwin to the American audience.”

The deal was negotiated by Magnolia co-EVP Dori Begley and SVP of acquisitions John Von Thaden with ICM Partners and Del Shaw on behalf of the filmmakers. Wide House is representing international rights.

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