The Eagle Huntress and Tickled to see theatrical release
Two documentaries that premiered at Sundance will earn theatrical distribution, in deals announced just as the 2016 film festival closed.
The Eagle Huntress, the stirring story of a Mongolian girl who attempts to upend the male-dominated world of hunting with eagles, was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics, according to David Magdael and Associates, the public relations firm that represented the film at Sundance.
SPC will distribute the documentary directed by Otto Bell in North America, Latin America, Germany, Australia/New Zealand, Scandinavia and Asia.
Tickled, which explores the dark side of "competitive endurance tickling" [yes, there is such a thing], was acquired by HBO and Magnolia Pictures.
HBO's deal is for the US television rights to Tickled, which was co-directed by David Farrier and Dylan Reeve. Magnolia Pictures acquired North American and worldwide theatrical rights, excluding Australia and New Zealand, according to the PR film Sunshine Sachs, which repped the film at Sundance.
"I'm just over the moon it will be on HBO, alongside my favourite shows. I'm tickled pink," said co-director Farrier in a release from Sunshine Sachs. "When we started out on this journey my expectations for the film were very modest. To have the film headed to the big screen in the U.S. is beyond exciting!" co-director Reeve said in the release.
"Josh Braun of Submarine negotiated the [Tickled ]HBO deal and Braun, Matt Burke, Dan Braun, David Koh and Ben Braun of Submarine negotiated the Magnolia deal with SVP of Acquisitions Dori Begley and VP John Von Thaden," according to Sunshine Sachs.
The Eagle Huntress features astoundingly beautiful photography of the Altai Mountains in Northwestern Mongolia, described as the "most remote part of the least populated country on Earth." In a place closely governed by tradition, 13-year-old Aisholpan seeks to win an eagle hunting contest that had been the unique province of male eagle trainers.
“Without question Sony Pictures Classics is the dream distributor for our film,” Bell said in a release from David Magdael and Associates. “Now audiences around the world can enjoy Aisholpan's story on the big screen. We are all very grateful for SPC's passionate belief in this film.”
Morgan Spurlock and British actress Daisy Ridley, from the new Star Wars movie, are among the film's executive producers.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and Documentary.org.