Altitude Takes ‘I Am Not Your Negro’ for U.K.

Robert Mitchell
Variety

Altitude Film Distribution has acquired U.K. rights to Raoul Peck’s award-winning documentary “I Am Not Your Negro.” The film, which Variety called “transcendent,” takes a journey through the life and mind of African-American writer James Baldwin, telling the story of race in modern America based on notes for an unfinished novel.

“I Am Not Your Negro” looks at the lives and assassinations of three key figures of the civil rights movement, who were friends of Baldwin – Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Medger Evers – while considering the deeper connections between their lives and America’s historical and current relationship with race. It is narrated by Samuel L. Jackson.

The film received its world premiere in Toronto, where it was awarded the People’s Choice Documentary Award.

The U.K. deal was negotiated between Altitude’s Ellie Gibbons and WISE House’s Elise Cochin on behalf of the filmmakers.

“Peck’s feature is fiercely powerful and vital in light of current pressures in the U.S. and will undoubtedly resonate strongly with U.K. audiences,” Gibbons said.

Added Peck: “James Baldwin has clearly become intellectually and politically unsurpassable. His words are as timely in the U.S. as in the rest of the Western world and in the U.K.”

The acquisition is the latest in a slew of pickups for Altitude. The U.K. independent distributor announced deals for British period drama “Lady Macbeth,” which also premiered in Toronto last month, and for acclaimed Sundance documentary “The Eagle Huntress” at the beginning of October. Both titles recently played at the BFI London Film Festival. Altitude also took U.K. rights to British comedy-drama “Daphne” at the end of September.

Altitude recently released Louis Theroux’s documentary “My Scientology Movie” (Oct. 7) in Britain, taking in £769,000 ($955,400) in its first 10 days. Last year the distributor saw its release of Asif Kapadia’s Oscar-winning documentary “Amy” become the fourth-highest grossing documentary of all time in the U.K., with £3.8 million ($5.9 million).

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