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by Eugene Hernandez
June 24, 2006 8:25 AM
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Al Franken Doc, "God Spoke," Coming to Theaters This Fall; Balcony Planning Pre-Election Release

Fresh from the festival circuit, Nick Doob and Chris Hegedus' "Al Franken: God Spoke" is set for a theatrical release later this year from Balcony Releasing. The film, shot over the course of two years, is a mostly verite look at the life of author and political satirist Al Franken.

Balcony is targeting a mid-September release in theaters, according to the company's Connie White. She said that the goal is to start with an exclusive run in New York City but quickly expand the release to include up to ten more cities, including Minneapolis (where Franken lives), Washington D.C., Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

Talking with indieWIRE about the film, White said that the goal is to rapidly release the movie in September and October, ahead of the upcoming mid-term Congressional elections. White and partner Greg Kendall feel that the film is, "a nice way to energize people as they are thinking about the future of our country," She explained, adding, "And its also a very entertaining movie."

The film's producer Frazer Pennebaker, son of legendary documentary director D.A. Pennebaker, who executive produced the film, told indieWIRE Friday that TV and DVD deals for "Al Franken: God Spoke" are still pending. He added that the film was pre-sold to the BBC. The Pennebaker Hegedus Films, Inc. & Nick Doob Productions, Inc. co-production was also produced by Rebecca Marshall.

After witnessing Franken's public spat with Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly, filmmakers Hegedus and Doob decided to film Franken on a series of public appearances including a book tour, radio and TV interviews and a trip to the Republican convention. In the documentary, Franken himself emerges as an outspoken political candidate and he is planning to run for the Senate in Minnesota. Among those featured in the humorous portrait of a political provocateur are Ann Coulter, Michael Moore, Al Gore, Robert Kennedy Jr., Sean Hannity, William Safire, Karen Hughes and Henry Kissinger.

The film kicked off its successful festival run at SXSW this year, launching a tour that included stops at Full Frame, the San Francisco International Film Festival, Tribeca, Nantucket and others, drawing large crowds along the way and featuring a number of appearances by Franken.

Launched four years ago to distribute the Sundance Film Festival grand jury prizewinning doc, "Daughter From Danang," which also received an Oscar nomination, White and Kendall's Balcony Releasing specializes exclusively in theatrical distribution and does not take rights to their films. They will partner with Pennebaker Hegedus Films on the release of "God Spoke." The company recently handled the distribution of "Sir! No Sir!" and has also distributed "Trudell," "39 Pounds of Love," "Senorita Extraviada, and "Love & Diane.

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