A film memoir of former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev featuring exclusive interviews has had its North American rights acquired by distributor The Orchard from History Films.
Meeting Gorbachev is a documentary directed by Werner Herzog and André Singer for Spring Films and Werner Herzog Film. The behind-the-scenes look at the eighth and last leader of the Soviet Union features interviews of Gorbachev by Herzog on three occasions across a six-month period, capturing a unique look at a politician who changed the world.
“Meeting Gorbachev is an enthralling look back at a fascinating leader and diplomat, all the more impactful based on what the world looks like today,” said Paul Davidson, The Orchard’s EVP film and television. “Werner and Andre’s own sensibilities make the film engaging and personal in a way no other filmmakers could.”
The documentary is produced by Lucki Stipetic and Svetlana Palmer. The executive producers are Richard Melman for Spring Films, and Molly Thompson and Eli Lehrer for History Films. The film premiered at the 2018 Telluride Film Festival and subsequently played at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). An early 2019 theatrical release is planned. History retains all television rights for the documentary.
“We are very pleased to partner with Paul and the team at The Orchard on the release of Meeting Gorbachev,” said Thompson. “Werner and André have brought us a rare and historic interview with Mikhail Gorbachev, which is particularly relevant given the current state of world affairs.”
Meeting Gorbachev marks The Orchard’s third collaboration with A+E Networks, parent company of A&E IndieFilms and History Films, following the Oscar-nominated films Cartel Land and Life, Animated.
Herzog has written, produced, and directed more than 50 films, including previous TIFF selections Bad lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Cave of Forgotten Dreams and Into the Abyss, which he also partnered on with Singer.
The deal was negotiated by The Orchard’s VP of acquisitions Danielle DiGiacomo and Josh Braun and Matt Burke of Submarine Entertainment on behalf of the filmmakers.
The Orchard is behind the recent release of Luis Ortega’s El Angel, Argentina’s official Oscars Submission for 2019; Jeremiah Zagar’s We The Animals, with five Independent Spirit Award nominations; and Bart Layton’s true-crime thriller, American Animals.
Upcoming releases include Karen Gillan’s directorial debut The Party’s Just Beginning, Cristina Gallegos and Ciro Guerra’s Colombian crime drama, Birds of Passage, and Kim Nguyen’s modern epic, The Hummingbird Project, starring Jesse Eisenberg, Salma Hayek and Alexander Skarsgård.
History Films is a hub for non-fiction films by independent filmmakers. Including Meeting Gorbachev, the roster includes Under the Wire from director Chris Martin; Watergate from director Charles Ferguson; Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead from Douglas Tirola; the Sundance 2015 hit film Being Evel from Daniel Junge; the award-winning Cave of Forgotten Dreams from Werner Herzog (National Critics; LA Critics; NY Critics wards); Errol Morris’ 2013 film The Unknown Known; Alex Gibney’s Magic Bus; Page One, directed by Andrew Rossi; and Countdown to Zero from Lucy Walker.