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Duane Baughman's Feature Documentary "BHUTTO"

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First Run Features Acquires North American Rights from Icon TMIto Duane Baughman's Feature Documentary


Theatrical Release to Begin in Late Fall 2010

First Run Features announced today its acquisition of BHUTTO, the award-winning documentary by Duane Baughman that chronicles the life of one of the most complex and fascinating characters of our time: Benazir Bhutto.

A World Premiere at this year's Sundance Film Festival and now a smash theatrical hit in the UK, BHUTTO is a tale of Shakespearean dimension - an epic story about the first woman in history to lead a Muslim nation - Pakistan.

TIME Magazine called Pakistan "the most dangerous place in the world" with good reason: the 6th largest country on the planet  (population: 180 million), Pakistan is bordered by Iran, Afghanistan and long-time rival India, with whom it has engaged in a decades-long and smoldering conflict.  Pakistan is riven with often violent internal dissent between various tribes and political factions.  And Pakistan remains the world's only nuclear-armed Muslim nation.

Benazir Bhutto was born into a wealthy family that has become Pakistan's dominant political dynasty. Often referred to as the "Kennedys of Pakistan," the Bhuttos share a painful history of triumph and tragedy, played out on an international stage.

Educated at Harvard and Oxford, Benazir's life changed forever when her father, Pakistan's first democratically elected president, chose Benazir, instead of his eldest son, to carry his political mantle. After her father was overthrown and executed by his handpicked Army Chief, Benazir swore to avenge him and to restore democracy - or die trying.

Benazir lived a life of contradictions.  She broke the Islamic glass ceiling, but was wed in a traditional arranged marriage to Karachi playboy Asif Ali Zardari. Her two terms in power saw acts of courage and controversy as she restored democracy, eradicated polio, helped advance the status of women, and fought extremism, all the while battling politically-charged accusations of corruption and cronyism.

In 2007, with the country rolling in turmoil and under the thumb of yet another military dictator, Benazir was called back onto the world stage as Pakistan's best hope for democracy. With her assassination she transcended politics, but left behind a legacy of simmering controversy and undeniable courage that will be debated for years.

The deal was negotiated between Glenn Aveni of Icon TMI and Seymour Wishman, President of First Run Features. "We're pleased to be working with Duane, Glenn, and their team on the release of BHUTTO," said Wishman in a statement.

"The story of Benazir Bhutto and the Bhutto family is Shakespearean in its scope and drama, and Duane's comprehensive and revealing film will entertain and enlighten audiences around the world."

Executive Producer Glenn Aveni states, "Bhutto was a global leader of our times and we're confident this story will resonate with North American audiences. First Run Features is the perfect theatrical partner for Bhutto and we're thrilled to be working with them."

A November theatrical release is planned for North America, with home video, internet platforms, and television to follow. Educational sales begin immediately. First Run Features has been a leading indie film distributor since 1979. Last year the company celebrated its 30th Anniversary with a retrospective at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Recent releases include Joe Berlinger's CRUDE and the Academy Award-nominated documentary THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN AMERICA: DANIEL ELLSBERG AND THE PENTAGON PAPERS.

Advance praise for BHUTTO: "A worthy portrait of a phenomenal woman, 'Bhutto' is as thorough a history of the late Pakistani prime minister and her country as one can imagine...not just coherent but exciting."-John Anderson, Variety

"Lively, thorough and involving. The history not just of Benazir Bhutto but also of her star-crossed family and the Pakistan their lives revolved around." -Kenny Turan, Los Angeles Times

"Breathes life and heart into a history little known in the West."-Sean Means, Salt Lake Tribute

"AN EPIC PORTRAIT. This remarkable new documentary is a shattering tale of political and personal tragedy. Benazir Bhutto’s martyrdom did not get the attention of, say, Princess Di, but its impact was more profound, and the conspiratorial intrigue ran deeper. The long lens of a documentary, which telescopes history, has a way of asserting perspective. ­And Bhutto frames its controversial subject as one of the most charismatic and courageous women ever to wade into the political fray." -Brian D. Johnson, Macleans (Canada) More about the film:


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