Danfung Dennis' Sundance Film Festival award-winning war doc "Hell and Back Again," has been acquired by New Video for North American distribution. The feature debut from Dennis chronicles the life of an injured Marine returning home from Afghanistan to his wife and everyday life. The company plans to launch the film theatrically this October, followed by a VOD and DVD release. The film had its world premiere at this year's Sundance Film Festival, where it won the World Cinema Jury Prize and Cinematography Prize.
"“Hell and Back Again” is a cinematic non-fiction film that is hard to shake even days after experiencing it," wrote Eugene Hernandez on his blog Eugonline after catching it at Sundance. "The film, and its both filmmaker, are ones to watch."
Below is the full press release:
NEW VIDEO ACQUIRES NORTH AMERICAN RIGHTS TO DANFUNG DENNIS’ ACCLAIMED DOCUMENTARY FEATURE, “HELL AND BACK AGAIN”
Theatrical Release in October 2011 Precedes Digital, VOD and DVD distribution; ITVS Partners for PBS’ “Independent Lens” Debut in 2012
Winner: Sundance 2011 World Cinema Grand Jury Prize & Cinematography Prize
“Devastating journalistic clarity...’Hell and Back Again’ is a vivid and moving testament to what’s really going on in Afghanistan.” – Entertainment Weekly
“Hard to shake...an extraordinary portrait of a tormented young war veteran.” – IndieWIRE
Tuesday, May 3, 12:00 am EST – New York, NY – Leading entertainment distributor New Video announced today that it has acquired North American rights to HELL AND BACK AGAIN, photojournalist Danfung Dennis’ Sundance-winning documentary feature debut, which intimately chronicles the life of an injured Marine returning home from Afghanistan to his wife and everyday existence. The deal was negotiated by VP of Acquisitions Mark Kashden on behalf of New Video and by Cinetic Media, and the film’s executive producers, Dan Cogan of Impact Partners and Karol Martesko-Fenster of Thought Engine, on behalf of the filmmakers.
“We are honored to release Danfung’s film, where so much courage is on display – from his breathtaking cinematography to soldiers on the frontline to Nathan and Ashley’s struggles at home,” said Kashden. “Our long-term, multi-platform release schedule ensures that the widest audience, particularly groups and communities most directly impacted at home by war overseas, will have an opportunity to experience this stunning achievement.”
In this groundbreaking work of cinema, two overlapping narratives are brilliantly intercut – the life of a Marine at war on the front, and the life of the same Marine in recovery at home – creating both a dreamlike quality and a strikingly realistic depiction of how Marines experience this war. HELL AND BACK AGAIN is the first feature film to be shot entirely on a customized Digital SLR camera rig with converted professional audio equipment, resulting in an intimate and visceral cinematic experience. The film is edited by Fiona Otway (editor of the Oscar®- nominated, Iraq in Fragments), with sound design by Danfung Dennis and J. Ralph (The Cove) and an original song performed by Willie Nelson (music and lyrics by J. Ralph).
New Video’s Docurama Films will premiere HELL AND BACK AGAIN in theaters in October 2011, after which the film will launch on digital and VOD platforms and DVD. HELL AND BACK AGAIN will debut on television in 2012 on the PBS series “Independent Lens” through a partnership between the producers and ITVS.
In a statement from director Danfung Dennis and producers Mike Lerner and Martin Herring, the filmmakers said, “We are thrilled to be working with the team at New Video on the rollout of HELL AND BACK AGAIN across the United States and Canada. We are confident that their multi-platform distribution expertise will thoroughly engage audiences in theaters, on digital platforms, Blu-ray and DVD. New Video’s willingness to collaborate closely with us and ITVS on the U.S. television premiere promises a consistent and impactful campaign for the film across all outlets.”
“Independent Lens is very excited to partner on this transcendent film,” said Lois Vossen, Founding Series Producer. “The film evolves from war expose into the story of one man’s personal apocalypse, and also underscores the price military families pay when soldiers resume civilian life. We look forward to presenting Hell and Back Again to millions of viewers through the Independent Lens Community Cinema outreach program and our spring 2012 broadcast.”