Richard Lorber’s documentary label Alive Mind has acquired the U.S. theatrical, public performance and home video rights to John Walter’s “Theater of War.” The film captures Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline finding their characters in her work as Mother Courage in Tony Kushner’s adaptation of the Bertold Brecht play “Mother Courage and Her Children,” which was presented by The Public Theater/NY Shakespeare Festival in Central Park in the summer of 2006. But the film is much more than a study of those actor’s work. As Manohla Dargis wrote in The New York Times, “filmmaker John Walter jumps from art to history and politics and back again, from the theater of the streets to the theater of the stage, without pause. That makes the movie… tough to summarize, which is part of its appeal.”
The deal was negotiated by Sheri Levine and Michael Thornton of Forward Entertainment, Jack Turner of White Buffalo productions, and by Richard Lorber and Elizabeth Sheldon of Lorber HT Digital, for release under its Alive Mind banner.
Alive Mind has set bookings next month at the Coolidge Corner in Boston with other dates at the Walker in Minneapolis, Facets in Chicago, the Loft Cinema in Tucson, the Wexner Center in Columbus, the Kimball Theatre in Williamsburg, and many more to be announced soon. In addition, Alive Mind will offer public performance copies of the DVD for sale to cultural institutions, universities and libraries under its Alive Mind Education label, and will release the DVD to the consumer market next year.
“In the gifted vision of John Walter, Brecht’s work via Tony Kushner takes on a new power, hugely amplified by Streep and Kline, a way of looking at the world through the creation of art and at a work of art from the inside out,” Richard Lorber said in a statement.
John Walter added: “The Alive Mind team has quickly demonstrated that they have an unique and intelligent way of bringing a film to its audience and we are excited to be working with them on ‘Theater of War.’”
Alive Mind’s intent is to release documentary programming in “the areas of enlightened consciousness and cultural transformation.” Alive Mind was launched by Lorber as a specialty distribution arm of his new company, Lorber HT Digital. The company seeks to “provide its audience with intellectually provocative work from leading filmmakers.”
“I had the idea to start a new label for documentaries about a year ago for two key reasons,” Lorber told indieWIRE back in January. “First i realized that many fine non-fiction works were failing to connect not only with general audiences but also even with specialized audiences whose interests were aligned with the focus of the filmmaker. In addition I saw a need to differentiate certain kinds of films in the general documentary category with a better definition, other than just what a program is NOT (that is, fiction).”