Altitude Film Distribution Picks Up UK Rights to Raoul Peck's James Baldwin Film, 'I Am Not Your Negro'
Photo Credit: S & A

Altitude Film Distribution Picks Up UK Rights to Raoul Peck's James Baldwin Film, 'I Am Not Your Negro'

"I Am Not Your Negro" - Raoul Peck
“I Am Not Your Negro” – Raoul Peck

Following Magnolia Pictures pick-up of North American rights to Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck’s documentary “I Am Not Your Negro” – his long-in-development James Baldwin film – Altitude Film Distribution has done the same, acquiring UK rights to the feature documentary that made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last month, and also screened at the New York Film Festival most recently.

Altitude plans to release the film in the UK some time in 2017; no exact date has been given at this time.

It’s a project Peck has been working on for at least 6 years, and it’s made with the full cooperation of the Baldwin estate. Peck has described it as “a very creative documentary.” In short, the film toys with the idea that Baldwin actually wrote what was to be an ambitious book – “a masterpiece” as Peck puts it – on Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., whose lives all ended in assassinations. Baldwin knew it would be a challenge, and didn’t believe it would sell, but he felt that he needed to write it. Baldwin never did write the book (Peck learned about it via letters Baldwin sent to his agent); but Peck’s “creative documentary” will imagine that he did. As the filmmaker has said: “The starting point of the film is to say – yes, he wrote it. He just didn’t bind it together, but if you go through his work, the film is there.”

All Peck had to build on were 30 pages of Baldwin’s notes for the book (which was to be titled “Remember This House”), and the rights to all of Baldwin’s writings, of course, since it’s a project being made with Baldwin’s estate’s blessings.

Why a film on Baldwin? Peck’s response: “Because Baldwin is my life… I started reading Baldwin when I was 14 or 15, and I realized as an adult a lot of the things I was saying came from him.”

Aramide Tinubu saw the film at the New York Film Festival and reviewed it for S&A. Read her critique here.

No trailer or clips from the film at this time, except for the above poster.

Magnolia Pictures hasn’t set a date for the film’s USA release either. Let’s see if they believe it’s Oscar caliber material, and give it a qualifying run before the end of this year.

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