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Acquisitions – Documentary Films

SPC Knock off Johannes Vermeer; Tim’s Vermeer Set for TIFF & 2014 Theatrical Release

Right up there with the Mona Lisa, she is one of the centuries’ many curiosities and subject of endless fascination, Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” will be included in Sony Pictures Classics fall curriculum. After recently picking up Alex Gibney’s Lance Armstrong docu, they’ve now acquired the worldwide rights to Teller’s (of Penn & Teller fame) Tim’s Vermeer and as reported earlier this morning, the docu will be shown at TIFF and other fall fests before receiving a theatrical release next year.

Gist: This follows Tim Jenison, a Texas based inventor, as he attempts to solve one of the greatest mysteries in all of art: How did 17th century Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer (“Girl with a Pearl Earring”) manage to paint so photo-realistically, 150 years before the invention of photography? Jenison’s epic research project ultimately succeeds as he uses 17th century technology — lenses and mirrors — to develop a technique that might have been used by Vermeer, supporting a theory as extraordinary as what he discovers. Spanning a decade, Jenison’s adventure takes him to Delft, Holland, where Vermeer painted his masterpieces; on a pilgrimage to the North coast of Yorkshire to meet artist David Hockney; and eventually even to Buckingham Palace, to see the Queen’s Vermeer.

Worth Noting: Perhaps a worthy companion piece, Vermeer’s masterwork was the subject of Peter Webber’s 2003 title, Girl with a Pearl Earring starring Scarlett Johansson.

Do We Care?: With a TIFF showing locked, and SPC making a pre-fest buy, early interest indicates a potentially strong docu-offering – cinematographer Shane F. Kelly (A Scanner Darkly) is among the tech team.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, 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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