NEW YORK, NY (September 15, 2020) — IFC Films announced today that it is acquiring North American rights to MLK/FBI, directed by Emmy® Award-winner and Oscar® nominee Sam Pollard. MLK/FBI was part of the Official Selection for the 2020 edition of the Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival and New York Film Festival. IFC Films will release the film on January 15, 2021 ahead of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday.
The film was produced by Benjamin Hedin for Tradecraft Films, in association with Field of Vision, Play/Action Pictures, and Cinetic Media. Executive Producers include David Friend, Field of Vision’s Charlotte Cook, Play/Action Pictures’ Jeffrey Lurie and Marie Therse Guirgis, and Cinetic Media’s Kate Hurwitz, Dana O’Keefe, and Steven Farneth. Based on the book The FBI and Martin Luther King, Jr.: From “Solo” to Memphis by David J. Garrow, MLK/FBI was written by Benjamin Hedin and Laura Tomaselli.
MLK/FBI is the first film to uncover the extent of the FBI’s surveillance and harassment of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Based on newly discovered and declassified files, utilizing a trove of documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and unsealed by the National Archives, as well as revelatory restored footage, the documentary explores the government’s history of targeting Black activists, and the contested meaning behind some of our most cherished ideals. Featuring interviews with key cultural figures including former FBI Director James Comey MLK/FBI tells this astonishing and tragic story with searing relevance to our current moment.
Sam Pollard is an Emmy Award-winning and Oscar-nominated director and producer. His films for HBO, PBS, and the Discovery Channel include the documentaries Four Little Girls, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, Slavery by Another Name, Sammy Davis, Jr.: I Gotta Be Me, ACORN and the Firestorm, Why We Hate, and Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children. Pollard also directed two episodes of the groundbreaking series Eyes on the Prize II. Since 1994 Pollard has served on the faculty of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and lives in New York City.
“What an honor to have IFC support and distribute MLK/FBI,” director Sam Pollard commented. “I can’t think of any other company that will show the care and responsibility to get what I consider an important film out to a viewing audience.”
Arianna Bocco EVP of Acquisitions and Productions of IFC Films added, “Sam Pollard has dedicated his career to social and political activism through film, and we’re honored to partner with him on a project of such magnitude and relevance in the current climate. We’re proud to bring this newly discovered information and restored footage of MLK to audiences nationwide, as his story continues to unfold, inspire and motivate throughout history.”
The deal for the film was negotiated by IFC Films’ EVP of Acquisitions and Productions Arianna Bocco and Director of Acquisitions Aijah Keith with Eric Sloss of Cinetic on behalf of the filmmakers.
ABOUT IFC FILMS
Established in 2000 and based in New York City, IFC Films is a leading U.S. distributor of independent film. Its unique distribution model makes independent films available to a national audience by releasing them in theaters as well as on cable’s Video On Demand (VOD) and digital platforms.
Upcoming releases include THE NEST directed by Sean Durkin (MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE) and OTTOLENGHI AND THE CAKES OF VERSAILLES directed by IFC alum Laura Gabbert (CITY OF GOLD). Some of the company’s successes over the years have included BOYHOOD, THE DEATH OF STALIN, FRANCES HA, MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN, THE BABADOOK, TOUCHING THE VOID, 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS, CHE, SUMMER HOURS, ANTICHRIST, IN THE LOOP, JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK, TINY FURNITURE, and CARLOS. IFC Films has worked with established and breakout filmmakers, including Steven Soderbergh, Gus Van Sant, Spike Lee, Richard Linklater, Miranda July, Lars Von Trier, Gaspar Noé, Todd Solondz, Cristian Mungiu, Susanne Bier, Olivier Assayas, Jim McKay, Larry Fessenden, Paul Dano, Gregg Araki, Jacques Rivette, Claude Chabrol, Abdellatif Kechiche, Kore-eda Hirokazu, Abbas Kiarostami, Alfonso Cuaron, Noah Baumbach, Lena Dunham, Ethan Hawke and many more. IFC Films is a sister label to Sundance Selects and IFC Midnight, and is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc.