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Acquisitions – Documentary Films

Sony Pictures Classics Trip Out on Jodorowsky’s Dune; Cannes Docu

In the pantheon of all-time, potentially epic unmade films, Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Dune certainly comes across as a major project that got away. Sony Pictures Classics appear to think along the same lines, announcing that they’ve picked up the rights to what is essentially a no frills, awkwardly alluring and basically assembled talking heads docu that appeared in Cannes Directors’ Fortnight this year. Featuring a marvelously animated Jodorowsky, a treasure trove of material that only fanboys such as Nicolas Winding Refn had access to, Frank Pavich’s Jodorowsky’s Dune was probably picked up for the cheap and will easily make its money back with the populous comprised of Dune, fans of the Chilean-French filmmaker, and sci-fi crowds. Last year, in the same section, the distrib grabbed the rights to Pablo Larraín’s No.

Gist: Shot in France, England, Switzerland and the United States, this documentary covers director Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo, Holy Mountain, Santa Sangre) and his 1974 Quixotic attempt to adapt the seminal sci-fi novel Dune into a feature film. After spending 2 years and millions of dollars, the massive undertaking eventually fell apart, but the artists Jodorowsky assembled for the legendary project continued to work together. This group of artists, or his “warriors” as Jodorowsky named them, went on to define modern sci-fi cinema with such films as Alien, Blade Runner, Star Wars and Total Recall.

Worth Noting: This is Pavich’s sophomore docu film, he previously directed N.Y.H.C. (1999) – about the mid-90s New York hardcore music scene.

Do We Care?: A great pre-production tale of a film that never came to fruition and the possibilities of how it might have contributed to film history’s sci-fi genre, Jordan’s take: “this is a fantastic docu-fable that brings to life a mythic failure with such verve that it might almost be better that it allows the film it sketches to live on in the imagination rather than in what could have been a catastrophic failure the likes of Lynch’s attempt.”

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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