Magnolia Pictures has bought the documentary “Assassins,” which explores the 2017 assassination of Kim Jong-nam, half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
Ryan White directed “Assassins,” which premiered on Jan. 28 at the Sundance Film Festival. Magnolia plans to release the film later this year.
Kim Jong-nam was murdered in the departures hall of Malaysia’s international airport in broad daylight, filmed entirely by security cameras. Footage showed two young women approaching Jong-nam from behind, covering his eyes with their hands, and pressing lethal nerve gas into his eyes. He stumbled away and was dead within an hour.
The two women who killed Jong-nam claimed they had simply been hired to pull a video prank and had no idea what they were really doing. An Indonesian woman, Siti Aisyah, and a Vietnamese woman, Doan Thi Huong, were charged with murder. Siti Aisyah was freed last year after the charge against her was dropped. The murder charge against Huong was also dropped and she pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.
Variety critic Owen Gleiberman said in his review at Sundance, “‘Assassins’ is a terrific true-crime story, but it’s also a documentary thriller about the new world disorder.”
“This story is so bizarre and sensational, but we were captivated by the central question: Who are the two mystery women that assassinated Kim Jong-nam?” said White. “It takes a brave distributor to take on this subject matter, so we’re thrilled that Magnolia will be our partner on our third film together.”
“Assassins” was produced by Jessica Hargrave and White. Executive producers are Doug Bock Clark, Dan Cogan, and Geralyn White Dreyfous. The deal was negotiated by Magnolia’s Dori Begley and John Von Thaden with Submarine Entertainment and WME on behalf of the filmmakers.