(Deadline freelancer Sharon Swart is helping cover the Sundance Film Festival)
EXCLUSIVE: Deadline has learned that Oprah Winfrey’s upstart cable network OWN has acquired Becoming Chaz, the Fenton Bailey/Randy Barbato-directed feature documentary that will make its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and follows the gender reassignment journey that transformed Cher’s and the late Sonny Bono’s daughter Chastity into their son, Chaz Bono. The network is prepping a soiree up at the festival, where OWN will likely make a formal announcement of this deal. The network has already acquired more than half a dozen documentaries. Oprah’s chief content officer Lisa Erspamer will be at the fest looking for more. More importantly for the film, Chaz Bono will be on hand for a film that makes its first festival premiere on Sunday, January 23. Bailey and Barbato are Sundance vets whose credits include The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Party Monster, and Inside Deep Throat. World of Wonder, the production shingle of Bailey and Barbato, previously set the Sarah Ferguson series Finding Sarah with OWN, and they are the executive producers of another doc at the fest this year, the Billy Luther-directed Grab.