National Geographic Entertainment
By Pamela McClintock - Variety
National Geographic Entertainment is going back to school, snagging U.S. rights to Toronto Film Festival entry “The First Grader.”
Festgoers chose the pic as runner-up for the Toronto People’s Choice award. The acquisition caps a particularly busy festival, during which more than a dozen pics found U.S. distribution.
Produced by Sixth Sense/Origin Pictures Productions, “First Grader” is a presentation of BBC Films and the U.K. Film Council in association with Videovision Entertainment, Lip Sync and ARTE France. Producers are David M. Thompson, Sam Feuer and Richard Harding. Joe Oppenheimer, Anant Singh, Norman Merry and Helena Spring exec produced.
“When I saw ‘The First Grader,’ I knew immediately that National Geographic should acquire it. It’s not only about historic political events, but it tells the personal story with great warmth and humor,” National Geographic Entertainment prexy Daniel Battsek said.
Battsek has made a handful of strategic festival buys since arriving at National Geographic from Miramax, including docu “Restrepo” and Mt. Everest adventure “The Wildest Dream,” as well as the upcoming “Desert Flower,” “Flying Monsters 3D” and “Blue Man Group: Mind Blast.”
Origin Pictures’ Thompson called National Geographic a perfect fit for the film.