Exclusive: Zeitgeist Films Takes US Rights To Powerful, Lauded Doc 'Let The Fire Burn'

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by Tambay A. Obenson
July 15, 2013 3:20 PM
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Shadow & Act has learned exclusively that Zeitgeist Films - the distribution company responsible for the releases of a few critically-acclaimed S&A highlight titles (like Raoul Peck's Lumumba, and Carl Deal & Tia Lessin's Katrina documentary Trouble The Water), has acquired all U.S. rights (excluding first window television) to Jason Osder’s powerful feature film directorial debut, Let The Fire Burn, a film that gives audiences an unbiased and thorough account of the incidents leading up to, and during the 1985 standoff between the radical African American MOVE organization and Philadelphia authorities. 

The widely-unfamiliar story goes...

On May 13, 1985, Philadelphia police dropped two pounds of military explosives onto a city row house occupied by the radical group MOVE. The resulting fire was not fought for over an hour although firefighters were on the scene with water cannons in place (It was later learned that authorities made the decision to “let the fire burn”). Five children and six adults were killed and sixty-one homes were destroyed by the six-alaThe film documents the personal stories of neighborhood residents, MOVE members and officials through extensive archival footage of court hearings, news broadcasts, home movies and interviews. rm blaze, one of the largest in the city’s history. 

We screened the 94-minute doc (said to be ten years in the making) here in NYC, at the Tribeca Film Festival, a couple of months ago, and it was reviewed enthusiastically by Zeba HERE, calling it powerfully and masterfully structured, as well as, an illustration of how prejudice, intolerance and fear can lead to unthinkable acts of violence.

Zeitgeist has set a theatrical release date of October 2, at Film Forum in NYC, with a national roll-out to follow.

Let The Fire Burn is a co-production with The George Washington University.  

The deal was negotiated by Zeitgeist Co-Presidents Nancy Gerstman and Emily Russo and Andrew Herwitz of The Film Sales Company, who also served as the film’s Executive Producer.

Zeitgeist is currently in release with Hannah Arendt, now playing in theaters throughout the USA.

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More: Coming Soon, Zeitgeist Films

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