As Sundance 2009 prepared to roll into action tonight (January 15) Submarine Entertainment and First Hand Films announced they had closed a deal with HBO for US television rights to Magic Hour Films’ documentaryBurma VJ.

Submarine’s Josh Braun and Esther van Messel of First Hand Films brokered the deal with HBO Documentary Films ahead of Saturday’s North American premiere in Park City in the World Cinema Documentary Competition.

Braun will be meeting with buyers to discuss US theatrical and DVD sales. Zurich and Berlin-based First Hand Films handles international rights.

Anders Ostergaard’s film chronicles the 2007 uprising of Burmese monks and received its world premiere screening at CPH: Dox followed by the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam in November, winning top prizes at both festivals.

Magic Hour’s Lise Lense-Moller produced and brought together co-production partners that include DR of Denmark, UK’s CH4, Sweden’s SVT and WDR/Arte in Germany.

Prior to the television premiere on HBO in early 2010 the film will screen at New York’s Film Forum on May 20.

Burma VJ ultimately touches on the basics of what this industry does every day and what these video journalists live and die for - getting stories told,’ van Messel said. ‘The film is so incredibly well put together on all its levels -
production, drama, music - that it manages to convey its message in the most breathtaking way.’