Magnolia Takes on Noujaim's Iraq War Doc "Control Room"
by Brian Brooks
Magnolia Pictures has acquired Jehane Noujaim's compelling doc, "Control Room," the New York-based film company announced yesterday. Noujaim, co-director of "Startup.com," premiered her new film earlier this year at Sundance, provoking often emotional feedback from audiences after screenings of the doc. The film also played at the Berlinale last month.
"Control Room" explores the controversial Qatar-based Arab news network Al-Jazeera during the onset of the U.S. invasion of Iraq last year, offering a behind-the-scenes look at the organization's personalities and their response to blistering criticism from the United States government for its perceived 'bias' in the face of the network's mandate to report "all viewpoints with integrity and balance."
"Over and above the obvious timeliness of the film, 'Control Room' is just great filmmaking," commented Eamonn Bowles, president of Magnolia Pictures in a statement Wednesday. "The filmmakers' clear-eyed handling of such complex, incendiary material is absolutely bracing and transcendent." Bowles negotiated the deal with Micah Green and Josh Braun of Cinetic Media.
"Control Room" will open in New York on May 21st with a run at Film Forum in Manhattan, followed by a national roll-out. "Control Room" is also featured in the New Directors/New Films series presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and MoMA, currently underway through April 4th in New York.
Other current and upcoming Magnolia releases include Lucas Belvaux's "Trilogy" series, while doc "Bukowski: Born into This" is slated for release this spring. Last year, the film company released the highly successful "Capturing the Friedmans," which received an Oscar nomination this year for best documentary.