THINKFilm Plans October Release for John Kerry Doc “Going Upriver”
by Wendy Mitchell
Another hotly anticipated political documentary will be coming to theaters before Election Day. THINKFilm has signed on for domestic distribution of “Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry,” directed by the Democratic presidential candidate’s long-time friend George Butler (“Pumping Iron,” “Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition”). The doc will have its world premiere at September’s Toronto International Film Festival, followed by an October 1 theatrical release in select U.S. cities.
“George Butler is a master storyteller and nobody creates cinematic portraits of daring men at pivotal points in their lives like he can,” said Mark Urman, THINKFilm’s head of U.S. theatrical distribution in a prepared statement. “We are thrilled to be involved with this project and look forward to mounting a campaign and orchestrating a release that, for a number of reasons, will be unlike any we have ever done.”
THINKFilm described the film thusly: “Through footage and photos taken by Butler throughout his 35-year friendship with Kerry and narrative provided by Doug Brinkley’s best-selling book ‘Tour of Duty’ serving as a loose blueprint, Butler tells the story of John Kerry’s remarkable life.” The film includes previously unseen footage, and follows Kerry from the Vietnam War to his anti-war activism and his political career.
“Think is a great company and we are delighted to be working with them,” said Butler in a prepared statement. “With their track record in distributing films such as Jonathan Demme‘s ‘The Agronomist,’ I know my film is in excellent hands.”
The deal was negotiated by Liz Manne of Duopoly, White Mountain Films legal council Steve Dembitzer, executive producer Bill Samuels and CEO of Palisades Pictures and executive producer Vin Roberti, on behalf of the filmmakers, and Randy Manis, EVP of acquisitions and business affairs, on behalf of THINKFilm. Roberti’s Palisades Pictures has committed up to $1 million to help with costs of marketing the film.