By Indiewire | Indiewire November 17, 2004 at 2:00AM
Wellspring Announces Deal for Oscar Contender "In The Realms of the Unreal"
by Eugene Hernandez
Wellspring announced Wednesday its acquisition of worldwide rights to Jessica Yu's new film, "In The Realms of the Unreal: The Mystery of Henry Darger," adding that the film has made it on the short-list for consideration in the Academy Awards race for a best documentary Oscar. It will open in theaters on December 22nd at Film Forum in New York and at San Francisco's Castro Theater.
Yu's new doc debuted earlier this year at Sundance, later playing at festivals in Seattle and London and winning the best documentary award at the Vancouver Film Festival. It was also recently nominated for a Gotham Award for best documentary of the year.
"In The Realms of the Unreal" looks at the life of artist Henry Darger, a fascinating recluse from Illinois, whose 20th Century paintings and illustrations are provocative and have impacted other arts. Wellspring noted in its announcement that after dying in 1973 he left behind some 300 paintings, as well as a 15,000 page illustrated work entitled, "In The Realms of the Unreal." Art depicting sexuality and challenging images that were only discovered after his passing and that are animated and brought to life in his distinctive documentary.
Marie Therese Guirgis, head of acquisitions at Wellspring, negotiated the deal with Josh Braun of Submarine and Paul Brennan of Sloss Law. The film was produced by Susan West and includes narration from Dakota Fanning and Larry Pine. It was produced for the Independent Television Service and funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
"Jessica Yu is one of the most sophisticated and visionary filmmakers working today and here she has made a landmark contribution to the documentary form," noted Wellspring's Marie Therese Guirgis. "She achieved the near impossible in bringing to life the strange world and genius of one of our country's fascinating artists."
The company is currently releasing Jonathan Caouette's "Tarnation," and its upcoming releases include Jean-Luc Godard's "Notre Musique," Anne Fontaine's "Nathalie," and Todd Solondz' "Palindromes."