Charlie Siskel’s documentary American Anarchist has landed at Gravitas Ventures. The company secured worldwide rights to the Venice International Film Festival entry about The Anarchist Cookbook creator William Powell. The doc hits theaters and on demand the first quarter of 2017.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with Charlie and his team on this excellent film,” said Dan Fisher, Sr. Director of Acquisitions for Gravitas Ventures. “Equal parts global thriller and compelling history, American Anarchist places the audience in the jury box as Charlie tenaciously questions the man whose creation inspired some of the most tragic events of modern times.”
Powell was a pivotal figure of the 1960s-era counterculture, publishing the Anarchist Cookbook manifesto and bomb-making manual at 19 in 1970. The book sold more than 2 million copies, laying the groundwork, the film posits, for decades of anti-government attacks, abortion clinic bombings, school shootings and homegrown terrorism. American Anarchist presents the late Powell as a man “haunted by his own creation.”
“William Powell’s all-too-universal story shows how a youthful mistake can haunt a man throughout his life,” said Siskel. “Powell, who passed away after filming, is not directly responsible for the death and destruction caused by those influenced by his book. But that didn’t console Bill, who paid a heavy price and showed great courage in sharing his story. He felt he bore some responsibility and was willing to confront his actions and inactions in dealing with the book and his own legacy. I am grateful to him and his family and I believe others will recognize themselves in his experience.”
The doc world-premiered in Venice September 2. A former lawyer and nephew of critic Gene Siskel, Siskel served as the film’s director, producer and writer. Matthew Perniciaro and Michael Sherman of Bow and Arrow Entertainment are the executive producers.
The deal was negotiated by Dan Fisher for Gravitas and UTA on behalf of the filmmakers.