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Lionsgate, Court TV Present 9/11 Commission Doc

22 May, 2006 By: Thomas K. Arnold

An acclaimed documentary on 9/11 will get a near-simultaneous release on television and on DVD this summer.

Court TV has secured exclusive television rights and Lionsgate has acquired DVD rights to On Native Soil: The Documentary of the 9/11 Commission Report, which focuses on the actual events of Sept. 11, 2001, from the perspective of the victims' families.

The film, based on the best-selling book, is narrated by Kevin Costner and Hilary Swank and features interviews with family members of the victims as well as U.S. senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman and former senator and past 9/11 commissioner Max Cleland.

Court TV will broadcast the film on Aug. 21 at 9 p.m. A day later, on Aug. 22, a special-edition DVD, featuring an extended version of the film, will be released by Lionsgate.

“As a network, we strongly believe in the concept of transparency, and that is what this film is all about: it details how American citizens demanded that their government investigate and explain what went wrong that terrible day,” said Court TV president Art Bell.

He praised the film for presenting the 9/11 Commission findings “in a compelling yet completely nonpartisan, nonpolitical way.”

Lionsgate president Steve Beeks said that while the 9/11 “is the most documented and analyzed event in the history of our nation,” the documentary sheds new light on the tragedy.

“This unbelievably important work not only brings the findings of the 9/11 Commission to light, but it also reveals the human side of the tragedy through never-before-seen interviews, personal stories of triumph, and one of the most comprehensive collections of 9/11 footage ever assembled on film,” he said.

The acquisition for Court TV comes as part of the network's initiative to buy four to six feature films a year.

For Lionsgate, the deal furthers the minimajor's standing in an increasingly competitive DVD market. In addition to 30 minutes of additional material, the DVD will include an extensive array of extras, including additional interviews from some of the family members, a downloadable 9/11 commission report, and an interactive photo gallery.

On Native Soil: The Documentary of the 9/11 Commission Report was directed by Emmy-nominated news and film producer Linda Ellman, whose credits include 13 years with NBC Network News. Ellman also executive produced the film, with Jeff Hays.

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