New York, NY September 1, 2011 – Sundance Selects announced today that the company is acquiring North American rights to acclaimed documentarian Werner Herzog’s upcoming film, Into the Abyss. The documentary, produced by Erik Nelson (Cave of Forgotten Dreams) and executive produced by Dave Harding, Amy Briamonte, Henry Schleiff, Sara Kozak, Andre Singer, and Lucki Stipetic, explores a triple homicide case in Conroe, Texas, probing the psyches of those involved, including the 28-year old death row inmate who was executed just 8 days after appearing on-screen. Herzog’s inquiries unveil layers of humanity against an American Gothic landscape. As he’s so often done before, Herzog makes an enlightening trip out of ominous territory.
Jonathan Sehring, President of Sundance Selects/IFC Films, said: "Earlier this year, Werner Herzog took us to unseen Chauvet Cave in Cave of Forgotten Dreams which became one of our company’s most successful releases and the year’s highest grossing documentary. Now he has gone a step further and shown us the human soul in one of his most remarkable films Into the Abyss. This is a hard-hitting, emotional and enlightening film that probes a crime and the legacy of the people involved and shows Herzog to be one of our great filmmakers. We are thrilled he has entrusted us with this film and are happy to be in business with him, our friends at Creative Differences and Investigation Discovery.”
Producer Erik Nelson describes an ongoing collaboration with Herzog, "Although I have done three other films with Werner, I am always surprised at what he comes back with. In this case, I feel like I’m getting a privileged look at his creative machinery at work. For me, hearing Werner’s off-screen interactions with these haunted people is like eavesdropping on Truman Capote as Capote researched In Cold Blood. Even I’m impressed, and I was lucky enough to watch Werner put together Grizzly Man! Werner and I are delighted to be working with IFC again, and the opportunity to build on their success with Cave of Forgotten Dreams.”
The deal for Into the Abyss was negotiated by Sehring and Betsy Rodgers, Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs for Sundance Selects/IFC Films with Nelson and Briamonte at Creative Differences with counsel from Marc Simon at Cowan DeBaets Abrahams & Sheppard LLP.
“It’s been an honor working with Werner and Erik on this incredibly moving and impactful film over the last two years,” said Henry Schleiff, President and General Manager, Investigation Discovery. “We are in awe of the deeply emotional and personal interviews Werner conducted with the participants and we are proud to work with Werner, Creative Differences and Sundance Selects to bring this documentary to an international audience.”
In its first year, Sundance Selects has had several successes including Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Sundance Film Festival Audience Award winner Buck and Abbas Kiraostami’s Certified Copy for which Juliette Binoche won the Best Actress award at Cannes. The new label will also present 7 films at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival including Wim Wender’s Pina, Joshua Marston’s Berlin Silver Bear winner The Forgiveness of Blood and the Dardennes’ Cannes Grand Prix winner The Kid with a Bike. Other upcoming releases include SXSW Audience Award winner Weekend, Sundance award winner The Black Power Mixtapes 1967-1975 and Cannes Jury Prize winner Poliss.
Sundance Selects is a sister division to IFC Films and IFC Midnight, and is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc.
About Sundance Selects:
Established in 2009 and based in New York City, Sundance Selects is a leading U.S. distributor of prestige films focusing on American independents, documentaries and world cinema. Its unique distribution model makes independent prestige films available to a national audience by releasing them in theaters as well as on cable’s Video On Demand (VOD) platform, reaching nearly 50 million homes. Some of the company’s successes include Abbas Kiarostami’s Certified Copy starring Juliette Binoche, Sundance audience award-winner Buck, Academy Award® winner Errol Morris’ documentary Tabloid, and Werner Herzog’s 3D documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams, which at $4.9 million and counting has become the company’s biggest grossing success since My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Upcoming Sundance Selects releases include Sundance award-winning The Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1974, SXSW award-winner Weekend, director Wim Wenders’ 3D Pina, Cannes Grand Prix winner The Kid with a Bike directed by the Dardennes brothers, and Maiwenn’s Cannes Prix du Jury winner Poliss. Sundance Selects is a sister division to IFC Films and IFC Midnight, and is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc.
About Creative Differences
Creative Differences is a Los Angeles and Vancouver based production company. Over the past fifteen years, Creative Differences has produced a wide range of programming for an even wider range of television networks, including: HISTORY, A&E, Animal Planet, Discovery, National Geographic, Fox, CBS, MTV and PBS. The company has produced notable series such as “Unsolved History,” “Time Warp,” “Blood Dolphins” and “Dinosaur Revolution”, as well as the feature documentaries "Grizzly Man" and the Academy Award®-nominated "Encounters at the End of the World".
About Investigation Discovery
Investigation Discovery (ID) is America’s leading investigation network and the fastest-growing network in television. As the source for fact-based analytical content and compelling human stories, ID probes factors that challenge our everyday understanding of culture, society and the human condition. ID delivers the highest-quality programming to approximately 78 million U.S. households with viewer favorites that include "On the Case" with Paula Zahn, "Disappeared", "Unusual Suspects", "Stolen Voices/Buried Secrets" and the prestigious ID Films franchise. For more information, please visit InvestigationDiscovery.com, facebook.com/InvestigationDiscovery, or twitter.com/DiscoveryID. Investigation Discovery is part of Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the world’s #1 nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.5 billion cumulative subscribers in 210 countries and territories.