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Acquisitions – Documentary Films

SPC Grab the Yellow Jersey for Gibney’s Long Awaited Lance Armstrong Docu

Formerly going by the title of Lance Armstrong: The Road Back, and now going by The Armstrong Lie, tipped for a TIFF premiere and most likely a Telluride showing (seeing that Michael Barker and Tom Bernard are big fans of the fest), Sony Pictures Classics peddled ahead of the rest of the peloton grabbing the distribution rights to the long awaited (rags to riches to cancer to victory to rags) documentary from award-winning Alex Gibney — one that probably got re-edited in more ways than one.

Gist: Beginning in 2009, Gibney followed Armstrong for four years chronicling his return to cycling after retirement, as he tried to win his eighth title. Unexpectedly, Gibney was also there in 2012 when Armstrong admitted to doping, following a federal criminal investigation, public accusations of doping by his ex-teammates, and an investigation by the US Anti-Doping Agency, that led USADA’s CEO, Travis Tygart, to conclude that Armstrong’s team had run “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”

Worth Noting: No stranger to controversial figures, Gibney last directed We Steal Secrets (here’s our TIFF 2012 interview with Gibney in which we concluded with a couple of Q’s concerning Armstrong docu).

Do We Care?: While Oprah might have got a premium armchair interview with the fallen cyclist, having worked on the docu for the better part of the new decade and grabbing candid interviews with industry professionals and some of Armstrong’s frenemies, we’re banking on Gibney to deliver an all-exclusive ride on the sport, dig deep into the psyche, the fierce competition that fueled Armstrong’s need to be at the top.

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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