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Magnolia, Topic Studios Acquire ACLU Doc ‘The Fight’

Sundance 2020: Doc premiered last Friday at the festival

Magnolia Pictures and Topic Studios have acquired the ACLU doc “The Fight” out of the Sundance Film Festival, the distributor officially announced Wednesday.

Earlier on Wednesday, TheWrap reported that Magnolia was close to a deal worth low seven figures. The documentary, directed by Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman and Eli Despres, premiered last Friday at the festival. Steinberg, Kriegman, Depres, Maya Seidler, Peggy Drexler and Kerry Washington produced. Sean McGing co-produced.

Matthew Perniciaro, Michael Sherman, Florence Sloan, Harry Sloan, Pilar Savone and Maria Zuckerman executive produced. Topic Studios was an early investor in the project.

“The Fight” follows lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union, fighting to protect people’s civil liberties shortly after Donald Trump’s inaugurations. The ACLU launched a wave of lawsuits against the Trump administration.

“Not all heroes have superpowers and ‘The Fight’ thrillingly shows us that committed people can make a huge difference in our world,” Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles said. “Directors Elyse Steinberg, Joshua Kriegman and Eli Despres have made an incredibly emotional, funny and human look at folks striving to do what’s right.”

CAA Media Finance and Submarine represented the film at the festival. This is Magnolia’s first deal out of the festival — last year, the distributor acquired the documentary “Hail Satan?” as well as “The Brink,” the documentary about Steve Bannon.

The deal was negotiated for Magnolia by EVP Dori Begley and SVP of Acquisitions John Von Thaden and for Topic Studios by Ryan Heller, SVP, Film & Acquisitions, with CAA Media Finance and Submarine Entertainment on behalf of the filmmakers. Magnolia Head of International Sales, Lorna Lee Torres, will be selling international rights at EFM.