First Run Features Acquires Chad Freidrichs’ Feature Documentary THE PRUITT-IGOE MYTH
First Run Features announced today its acquisition of the award-winning documentary THE PRUITT-IGOE MYTH from filmmaker Chad Freidrichs. First Run is planning a March 2012 theatrical launch with VOD, home video and television to follow. The deal was negotiated by Film Sales Company head Andrew Herwitz and First Run’s Marc Mauceri.
THE PRUITT-IGOE MYTH tells the story of the transformation of the American city in the decades after World War II, through the lens of the infamous Pruitt-Igoe housing development and the St. Louis residents who called it home.
It began as a housing marvel. Built in 1956, Pruitt-Igoe was heralded as the model public housing project of the future, “the poor man’s penthouse.” Two decades later, it ended in rubble – its razing an iconic event that the architectual theorist Charles Jenks famously called the death of modernism. The footage and images of its implosion have helped to perpetuate a myth of failure, a failure that has been used to critique Modernist architecture, attack public assistance programs, and stigmatize public housing residents.
THE PRUITT-IGOE MYTH seeks to set the historical record straight. To examine the interests involved in Pruitt-Igoe’s creation. To re-evaluate the rumors and the stigma. To implode the myth.
“Chad’s film is an astonishing feat, encompassing the interweaving histories of urban renewal, race and class segregation, modern architecture, and the death of the American inner city,” said First Run’s Vice President, Marc Mauceri. “THE PRUITT-IGOE MYTH not only reveals our recent past but speaks volumes about where we are now – and where we’re headed in the future. We’re proud to be working with Chad to bring this enthralling film to audiences in North America, and it’s especially appropriate to be doing so on the 40th anniversary of its destruction.”
“We are simply thrilled to be working with First Run,” said Freidrichs.”Their reputation amongst filmmakers speaks for itself; their release on the implosion’s anniversary will provide a timely opportunity to reopen a discussion about affordable housing and America’s past and future urban renewal efforts.”
THE PRUITT-IGOE MYTH has played at dozens of festivals around the world including Los Angeles, True/False, Full Frame, Big Sky and SilverDocs. It won Best Documentary Feature at the Oxford Film Festival and at Kansas City FilmFest and was recently awarded the International Documentary Association’s ABCNews Videosource Award for best use of archival footage. It is slated to receive the American Historical Association’s prestigious John E. O’Connor Film Award for outstanding interpretation of history.
Director Chad Friedrichs has been working as an independent filmmaker for over a decade. His previous feature-length documentaries are “Jandek on Corwood”, a film tracing the cult following of the underground musician Jandek, and “First Impersonator”, a look at the world of presidential look-alikes. Chad teaches film and video courses in the Digital Filmmaking program at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, the second-oldest women’s college in the nation.
Founded in 1979, First Run Features is one of American’s notable distributors of documentary and foreign films. Recent releases include Jason Cohn’s and Bill Jersey’s EAMES: THE ARCHITECT AND THE PAINTER, DA Pennebaker’s and Chris Hegedus’s KINGS OF PASTRY, Ken Bowser’s PHIL OCHS: THERE BUT FOR FORTUNE, Joe Berlinger’s CRUDE, and Judith Ehrlich’s and Rick Goldsmith’s Academy Award-nominated THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN AMERICA: DANIEL ELLSBERG AND THE PENTAGON PAPERS.