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Magnolia Pictures Acquires Rights to Merce Cunningham Documentary

Magnolia Pictures has acquired distribution rights to Merce Cunningham documentary “Cunningham,” which includes never-before-seen footage of the choreographer.

“Cunningham,” written and directed by Alla Kovgan, will be an immersive look into the life of the choreographer who started as a dancer in post-WWII New York. The film will be released in honor of what would have been Cunningham’s 100th birthday. He died of natural causes in New York in 2009.

“Alla Kovgan’s stunning cinematic tribute to the genius of Merce Cunningham is destined to end up as a classic of the genre,” said Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles. “We’re thrilled to be bringing it to the public.”

Cunningham is considered to be one of the greatest modern dancers, earning two Guggenheim fellowships in the 1950s and a Kennedy Center Honors and MacArthur Fellowship in the 1980s. Over Cunningham’s 70 year career, he worked closely with composer John Cage to produce original dance compositions to Cage’s scores.

“3D technology inspired me to think of dance as a truly cinematic experience,” said Kovgan in a statement. “Merce, with his dedication to exploring every technological invention of his time, and 3D felt like an ideal fit. I was particularly moved by his story of becoming Merce in the 1950s and 1960s, his love for dance and his triumphant spirit persevering against all odds.”

Along with the film, BAM in New York City, UCLA in Los Angeles, and the Barbican in London will host performances of Cunningham’s “Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event.”

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