A&E IndieFilms announced today that Magnolia Pictures has acquired domestic rights to Alexis Bloom’s documentary Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes about the late Fox News Chairman and CEO. Magnolia will open the movie on Dec. 7 after a fall festival run. A&E Network has television rights to the film.
Take a look at a clip from the film above featuring former Fox News show host Glenn Beck reflecting on his emotional departure from the network, and his sitdown with Ailes.
Divide and Conquer sheds light on the current moment in American political life by following the arc of Ailes, the long-time Republican svengali and controversial founder of Fox News. He coached an unrivaled stable of politicians over the course of 50 years, greatly impacting Republican politics, and steering the conservative movement from Nixon, to the Tea Party, to Trump. Under his tutelage, anger and fear became the coin of the realm, both on the ballot and on national television. Diagnosed with hemophilia at an early age, it took someone intimate with fear to skillfully manipulate the fear of others.
With Rupert Murdoch behind him, Roger Ailes started Fox News and turned it into a money-making juggernaut, with profits exceeding those of all its rivals combined. He discarded notions of traditional journalism and turned prime time television into flame-throwing TV. Short skirts and low necklines mesmerized his audience and, as long as Fox made money, there was little oversight of his fiefdom. But the carnival house mirror Ailes put up to America reflected his own distorted personal life. In the end before his death, Ailes dealt with his undoing when many victims of sexual harassment stepped forward.
Divide and Conquer makes its TIFF premiere tomorrow Sunday and will stop at the New York Film Festival on Oct. 3. The deal for the documentary was made by Magnolia SVP of Acquisitions John Von Thaden and EVP Dori Begley with Cinetic Media on behalf of the filmmakers.
“Alexis Bloom’s film is a provocative and disturbing deep dive into the story of one of the most consequential political operatives in modern history,” said Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles. “We are excited to be working with our friends at A+E Networks, Jigsaw and Impact Partners on this timely and important film.”
“We are thrilled to be on board with Magnolia, who have been tremendous partners to us in the past and share our passion for documentaries that ignite conversation,” commented Molly Thompson, SVP of Feature Films, A+E Networks. “The legacy of Roger Ailes remains politically and socially relevant to this day, and we couldn’t imagine a better distributor to help share Alexis’ powerful project with the world.”
“Jigsaw and A&E have been incredibly supportive of this film, and brave about tackling the controversies in it,” said Bloom. “Magnolia instantly appreciated the story we’re trying to tell, and we’re lucky to have them. The breadth of their films, and the high quality of them, is inspiring. The film couldn’t be in better hands.”
Alex Gibney said: “We are delighted to be working again with Magnolia, with whom Jigsaw has partnered successfully on so many films, going back to Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room”
Divide and Conquer was also produced by Bloom with Will Cohen of Jigsaw Productions. A&E IndieFilms’ Molly Thompson, Elaine Frontain Bryant and Robert Sharenow executive produced the project alongside Alex Gibney and Stacey Offman of Jigsaw Productions. Dan Cogan, Jenny Raskin, Regina K. Scully and Geralyn White Dreyfous of Impact Partners and Maiken Baird also served as EPs on the film.