November 2, 2008

Penn Produces, Narrates Documentary

MSNBC Films and sales agent Submarine Entertainment say they have finalized their distribution deal for the U.S. documentary "Witch Hunt."

Dana Nachman and Don Hardy's film was executive produced and narrated by Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn.

The documentary is about eight parents in Bakersfield, Calif., who in 1984 "were falsely accused and convicted of child molestation by an overzealous district attorney" and the impact it had on all their lives, the companies said.

The film has screened at the AFI Fest in Los Angeles and the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival and marks the feature-film directorial debut for Nachman and Hardy -- broadcast journalists in the San Francisco Bay Area.

MSNBC FILMS said it will have all North American television rights and plans are being worked out for a world premiere broadcast on MSNBC television early next year after an Academy Award-qualifying run in theaters.

"What more could you wish for your film than to find a home on a gutsy, issue-oriented, national television outlet?" Nachman said in a statement. "That's exactly what we found in MSNBC."

"We're thrilled to partner with MSNBC Films in order to bring this important story to the public," added Hardy. "Their proven track record of hard-hitting, social-justice programming provides 'Witch Hunt' the best opportunity to reach the broadest audience of millions of viewers."