Magnolia Pictures announced today that it has acquired North American theatrical rights to "Countdown To Zero" from Participant Media. Lucy Walker's documentary follows the escalating global nuclear arms crisis, and recently bowed at the Sundance Film Festival. In addition, Participant announced that History Channel has acquired the US television broadcast rights.
"Lucy Walker's 'Countdown to Zero' is a tremendous achievement," said Magnolia Pictures President Eamonn Bowles in a statement. "It's beautifully composed and powerfully compelling. Above all it has an incredibly important message that the world needs to hear--sooner rather than later."
Written and directed by Walker ("The Devil's Playground," "Blindsight"), the film features an array of international statesmen, including President Jimmy Carter, Mikhail Gorbachev, Pervez Musharraf and Tony Blair. It makes a case for worldwide nuclear disarmament, an issue "more topical than ever with the Obama administration working to revive this goal today," the press release noted.
The film was produced by Academy Award-winner and current nominee Lawrence Bender ("Inglorious Basterds," "An Inconvenient Truth") and developed, financed and executive produced by Participant Media, together with World Security Institute.
"The peril of nuclear terrorism or accident has us closer to Armageddon then most people realize," Bender said in a statement. "This film is an opportunity to communicate the danger and the urgent need for our world to be more secure, and one day free of nuclear arms."
The deal was negotiated on behalf of the filmmakers by Josh Braun and Jason Janego of Submarine and Jeff Ivers, COO of Participant Media with SVP Tom Quinn and VP of Acquisitions Dori Begley for Magnolia and with Peter Gaffney for HISTORY.
Magnolia is planning a theatrical release for the film later this year.