"The Queen of Versailles" has found its North American distributor at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. In the second sale on Friday, January 20, Magnolia Pictures obtained the theatrical rights to the Lauren Greenfield documentary, which was screened to a sold-out opening night at the annual film festival.
The documentary focuses on developer David Siegel, his wife Jackie and their family, who build a 90,000-square-foot Florida home modeled after the palace outside of Paris. Greenfield directed the film with her husband Frank Evers serving as the executive producer.
The movie has sparked a controversy at the festival as Siegel filed a defamation suit against the filmmakers earlier this month. The developer claimed that the promotional materials used for the film have "mischaracterized" him and damaged his reputation. Nonetheless, that didn't stop the movie from being screened at the event.
Of the newly signed partnership with Magnolia, Greenfield said, "I am really excited to be working with Magnolia, who we huddled with late into last night." She added, "I feel like we have found a true kindred spirit, who cares as much about our film as we do. I am really looking forward with such smart, impressive team."
As for why he decided to acquire the documentary, Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles explained that the film "brilliantly encapsulates the salient issues of the American economic downturn, while also being one of the jaw-dropping entertaining films I've seen in a very long time."
He went on praising Greenfield as a talented moviemaker, saying, "Lauren Greenfield is an exactly talented filmmaker with a wonderfully humanistic touch, and she has found a truly magnetic, charismatic star in Jackie Siegel." Magnolia has planned to release the documentary in the U.S. theaters this summer.
In addition to "Queen of Versailles", another movie which has also found its North American distributor at Sundance on Friday was "Searching for Sugar Man". Sony Classic has bought the rights to the Malik Benhelloul film, which follows two South Africans who set out to discover what happened to their unlikely musical hero, the mysterious 1970s rock 'n' roller, Rodriguez.