Cable Nets Active In Sundance Fest Marketplace

Documentaries, Films Snapped Up By Premium, Basic Channels

Cable networks have been making a stir at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, snatching up the rights to several films and documentaries.

CNN Films and Magnolia Pictures partnered to acquire the U.S. rights to director Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s whale-themed documentary Blackfish at the festival, which runs from Jan. 17 to 27 in Utah and spotlights top independently-produced films and documentaries.

Blackfish traces a 39-year history of killer whales in captivity leading up to a 2010 incident where an experienced Sea World trainer was killed by the 12,000-pound whale, according to the news network. Magnolia plans a summer theatrical release for the doc, while CNN plans to air it on the network later this year.

HBO Documentary Films has acquired the U.S. television rights to the standout documentary Pussy Riot—A Punk Prayer, which chronicles the recent arrest and imprisonment band members of the rock group Pussy Riot in Russia, said network officials. 

Showtime also tapped Sundance for a music-themed documentary, History Of The Eagles (pictured above), a two-part doc featuring the pop/rock group, according to the network. It's slated to air on the premium channel for two hours on Friday, Feb. 15, and a remaining hour on Saturday, Feb. 16, both at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

IFC Films purchased the North American rights to The Look of Love, which follows the life of British adult magazine publisher Paul Raymond. In addition, IFC’s Sundance Selects subsidiary purchased the Sundance documentaries The Summit and Dirty Wars, according to the Los Angeles Times