Entries in National Geographic Entertainment (2)


The First Grader US Release May 13, 2011

National Geographic Entertainment

The First Grader will be released in the United States on May 13, 2011 by National Geographic Entertainment. The film will be launched in New York and Los Angeles and then expanded to other US cities in the forthcoming weeks. The First Grader, based on a true story, is set in a remote primary school in the Kenyan bush where hundreds of children are jostling for a chance for the free education promised by the new Kenyan government. One new applicant causes astonishment when he knocks on the door of the school. He is Maruge, an old Mau Mau veteran in his eighties, who is desperate to learn to read at this late stage of his life. He fought for the liberation of his country and now feels he must have the chance of an education so long denied - even if it means sitting in a classroom alongside six-year-olds.

Moved by his passionate plea, head teacher Jane Obinchu, supports his struggle to gain admission and together they face fierce opposition from parents and officials who don’t want to waste a precious school place on such an old man.

The First Grader has been a hit at prestigious international film festivals since its debut at the Telluride Film Festival last September. The film went on to the Toronto Film Festival where it was the runner up for the Audience Prize and then to the Doha and Pan African Film Festivals where it won the coveted Audience Prize. The First Grader trailer can be viewed at here.

The First Grader is an uplifting true story which realistically portrays the triumph the human spirit against all odds. We urge you to go watch the film and also tell your friends about the film. Hereunder is a list of US cities and theaters at which The First Grader will be playing :

MAY 13, 2011
New York The Beekman

Angelika Film Center
Los Angeles Landmark
May 20, 2011
Atlanta Tara Cinemas 4
Boston Kendall Square 9
Chicago Century Center 7

Renaissance Place Cinema
Dallas Landmark Magnolia Pictures
Houston Greenway Palace Stadium 24
Los Angeles Westpark 8
Philadelphia Ritz 5
San Diego La Jolla Village 4
San Francisco Embarcadero 5
Washington DC Shirlington 7

Bethesda Row
May 27, 2011
Albuquerque Devargas Mall Cinema 6
Austin Arbor Cinemas at Great Hills
Charlotte Regal Cinemas Manor Twin
Dallas Angelika Film Center & Café
Detroit Maple Art 3
Indianapolis Keystone Art
Kansas City Glenwood Arts
Knoxville Regal Downtown West Cinema 8
Los Angeles Playhouse 7

Town Center 5
Minneapolis Edina
New York Cinema 100 Quad

Clairidge 6

Roslyn 4
Phoenix Camelview 5
Portland Fox Tower Stadium 10
Salt Lake City Broadway Centre 6
San Francisco Shattuck 10
Seattle Metro Cinema
St. Louis Plaza Frontenac

National Geographic Snags First Grader

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.

Directed by Justin Chadwick from a script by Ann Peacock, the pic is based on the true story of an 84-year-old Kenyan man’s battle to get an education.

“First Grader,” which garnered favorable critical response at the Telluride and Toronto fests, stars Oliver Musila Litondo and Naomie Harris.

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.

Distant Horizon’s Singh repped domestic rights to “First Grader” (Distant Horizon co-financed the pic). Goldcrest International’s Penny Wolf is handling international sales.