New York-based specialty distributor Zeitgeist Films will give a U.S. theatrical release to pluriprized U.K. director Tom Roberts’ timely Pakistan-set docu “Every Last Child,” which examines efforts to fight the polio epidemic in Pakistan, where the Taliban have imposed a ban on the vaccine.
“Every Last Child” is produced by Roberts in tandem with ImageNation Abu Dhabi, the UAE government-funded production company with Hollywood ties, which financed it. The docu recently world preemed at DOC NYC to critical acclaim and will screen at upcoming Hot Docs fest in Toronto. Zeitgeist has acquired all U.S. rights, excluding TV. It plans to release it in select Stateside cities this summer.
In early 2014 the UAE launched the Pakistan Assistance Program, which aimed to vaccinate 3.65 million Pakistani children over the course of three months, especially targeting remote areas of the country where the Taliban are most active.
In the docu Roberts delves into the effort by courageous volunteers, the World Health Organization, and local police as they join forces to combat the Taliban’s murderous opposition to the polio immunization. The situation is seen through the different perspectives of a polio-crippled beggar, the father of an afflicted toddler, a key WHO official and a family of vaccinators.
“We are thrilled to be working on bringing this important and timely film to U.S. audiences in collaboration with ImageNation Abu Dhabi,” enthused Zeitgeist co-presidents Nancy Gerstman and Emily Russo in a statement. “The controversy of vaccination has become a close-at-home topic, and ‘Every Last Child’ is a powerful work that we know will resonate on these shores,” they added.
“Every Last Child” is executive produced by Danielle Perissi, who heads ImageNation’s recently established doc productions unit, and also by Ziad F. Fares and Nassar A. Al-Mubarak.
Perissi and Dana O’Keefe at Cinetic Media, who are handling U.S. rights on the docu, brokered the deal with Zeitgeist’s Gerstman and Russo.
Cercamon is handling international rights on other territories.
Zeitgeist Films has released several groundbreaking docus including “The Corporation,” Laura Poitras’ “My Country, My Country,” and Philip Groning’s “Into Great Silence.”
ImageNation last year launched its docu division, dedicated to pics on strong societal topics, with “As One: The Autism Project,” a joint effort between Emirati director Hana Makki and Tricia Regan (“Autism: The Musical”), followed by “Child.”
Upcoming on their docu slate is “He Named Me Malala,” the Davis Guggenheim docu exploring the life of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani student activist who survived a Taliban assassination effort, became a campaigner for children’s rights worldwide and won the Nobel Peace Price. Fox Searchlight recently acquired worldwide rights to the “Malala” docu, which is produced by Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald under their long-term production partnership with ImageNation Abu Dhabi and co-financed by Participant Media.