WOWOW Joins Martin Scorsese on NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS Documentary
Continuing to ramp up its international co-production partnerships, WOWOW, Japan's leading premium pay TV broadcaster, announced today that it is partnering on Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi's documentary "The New York Review of Books: A 50 Year Argument."
WOWOW joins HBO Documentary Films, BBC Arena and Scorsese's Sikelia Productions as co-production partners in the film. Margaret Bodde is producing with Scorsese and Tedeschi. Kayo Washio, who runs WOWOW's Los Angeles office, is executive producer for WOWOW, Anthony Wall is executive producer for BBC Arena.
International sales company Cinephil ("Cathedral of Culture") is handling international sales and will be introducing the project to international buyers at MipTV in Cannes. The deal was negotiated by Kayo Washio and Philippa Kowarsky of Cinephil.
"It's only fitting that such an iconic magazine has such an iconic director bringing it to life as a feature film," said WOWOW's Kayo Washio. "I can't think of anyone better to tell this unique story than Martin Scorsese, and am extremely excited to be involved with a project that everyone, including ourselves, is so passionate about."
Since its founding over fifty years ago during the New York City newspaper strike of 1963, America's leading journal of ideas has pursued its goal with rigor, a unique style and more than its share of controversy. "The New York Review of Books: A 50 Year Argument," directed by acclaimed filmmaker Martin Scorsese and his longtime documentary collaborator David Tedeschi, rides the waves of literary, political and cultural history in much the same way as the paper itself.
Provocative, idiosyncratic and incendiary, the film weaves rarely seen archival material, contributor interviews and excerpts from writings by such icons as James Baldwin, Gore Vidal, and Joan Didion with original verité footage filmed in the Review's West Village office. These scenes reflect the humming, restless energy of a magazine that, heading into its second half-century, still feels as vital as its founding editors, Robert Silvers and the late Barbara Epstein. Confrontation and intelligent argument are in its DNA, as illustrated in the documentary by the skirmish between Vidal and Norman Mailer over women's liberation, Mary McCarthy's jeremiad against American hegemony in Vietnam, Mark Danner's investigation into the use of enhanced interrogation during the Iraq war, and Michael Greenberg's analysis of the Occupy movement. Joan Didion's reading from her quietly furious explication of the 1989 Central Park Jogger Case, filmed at the recent fiftieth anniversary event at New York's Town Hall, exemplifies the film's approach: honor the writers, the writing, and the paper's determination to reveal the truth in all its complexity.
The film captures the power of ideas in shaping history. "Magazines don't change the world," says contributor Avishai Margalit, "but they shape a certain kind of climate of ideas. Influence is like the knight in chess, one move straight and then diagonal. It doesn't go in straight lines." The film documents this extraordinary process, through the inimitable filmmaking style of Martin Scorsese.
"When we started the paper, we weren't seeking to be part of an establishment," says Robert Silvers, editor of the New York Review of Books. "We were seeking quite the opposite, we were seeking to examine the workings and truthfulness of establishments whether political or cultural."
WOWOW will serve as co-producer of the documentary and retains Japanese rights. No broadcasting date for the documentary has been set at this time.
WOWOW continues to produce original content and deliver the highest quality entertainment under the concept of their corporate message "new encounter as you watch." Among the new documentary projects currently being produced by WOWOW (with international co-production partners) are "Cathedrals of Culture," directed by Wim Wenders and Robert Redford; "Cameron Carpenter: The Rebirth of Majesty," directed by Thomas Grube; and the new crowdsourced TV documentary "Sacred," about humankind's search for the divine, taking viewers on a spectacular journey through 365 days of spiritual life on Earth.
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