SXSW Documentary Winner ‘The Work’ Snagged By The Orchard & First Look Media For Fall Bow

Joe Wigdahl

The Orchard and First Look Media’s new entertainment studio Topic has acquired North American rights to The Work, the documentary co-directed by Jairus McLeary and Gethin Aldous and shot inside Folsom Prison. The pic won the 2017 SXSW Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary. The Orchard plans a fall theatrical release.

McLeary, a court videographer, makes his directorial debut in the pic, about the convicts and civilian volunteers who run a one-of-a-kind social justice program. Aldous directs motion capture at a video gaming company.

“The Orchard was blown away by the power and intimacy of The Work, a film that presents prison, violence, masculinity, and vulnerability in an unprecedented way,” said Danielle DiGiacomo, VP Acquisitions at The Orchard, which is behind recent Oscar-nominated documentaries Cartel Land and Life, Animated. “We are so excited to be partnering with First Look Media’s new Topic studio to bring this film to viewers across all different platforms, and to create meaningful and important discussions around it.”

Said Ryan Heller, VP Acquisitions at First Look: “As we continue to accelerate our efforts in supporting more and more creative voices through Topic, we’re thrilled to partner with The Orchard to acquire this amazing film. The intimate cinematic lens through which Jairus and Gethin share these inmates’ stories provides for a riveting, thought-provoking and incredibly emotional documentary.”

Producers are Alice Henty, Jairus McLeary, Eon McLeary, Miles McLeary and Angela Sostre. James McLeary, Rob Allbee and Aldous executive produced. The deal was negotiated by DiGiacomo and Heller with Andrew Herwitz of The Film Sales Company on behalf of the filmmakers.

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