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Posted Sunday, May 23, 1999

More News on the Fred Leuchter film

More news about the new movie by Errol Morris
"Mr Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr."

about Fred Leuchter (right, with Robert Faurisson).
Fourth Floor Productions with Scout Productions, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

See too: Acclaim for Leuchter film at Sundance Film Festival, Jan 27. 1999
Excerpts from Mark Singer's review article in The New Yorker, Feb 1, 1999, with this Website's comments

Reuters dispatch, Thursday May 20 4:40 AM ET

Date with "Death"

By Andrew Hindes

HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Canada's Lions Gate Entertainment has picked up North American rights to the documentary "Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter Jr.," and plans to release it later this year.

The picture is about Leuchter, an engineer who designs and repairs gas chambers, electric chairs and lethal injection systems. The mild-mannered eccentric investigated the use of poison gas in WWII Nazi concentration camps. His controversial findings, which have become required reading for Holocaust deniers, eventually led to his ruin.

"Death," which debuted as a work-in-progress at the Sundance Film Festival in January, has already received much press attention including a lengthy New Yorker feature earlier this year. The copious press coverage was unusual for an independent film that did not yet have a domestic distributor.

The film was directed by Errol Morris, whose other documentary credits include 1997's "Fast, Cheap & Out of Control," 1992's "A Brief History of Time" and 1988's "The Thin Blue Line."


Thursday May 20, 2:25 pm Eastern Time

Company Press Release

SOURCE: Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.

Lions Gate breathes life into Mr. Death

Errol Morris's new film to be released by Lions Gate

CANNES, France, May 20 /CNW-PRN/ - Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.

LIONS Gate Entertainment has purchased all North American rights to world-renowned award-winning filmmaker Errol Morris's newest work, Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. The announcement was made today by Tom Ortenberg and Mark Urman, co-presidents of Lions Gate's film releasing division.

Mr. Death debuted to great acclaim at this year's Sundance Film Festival and will be released by Lions Gate later in the year.

Mr. Death tells the story of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr., an engineer who decided to become the "Florence Nightingale of Death Row." His mission was to design and repair gas chambers, electric chairs and lethal injection systems. But Leuchter became infamous for his work with anti-Holocaust writer Ernst Zundel, who commissioned Leuchter to conduct a forensic investigation into the use of poison gas in WWII Nazi concentration camps. Leuchter's controversial findings eventually hypothesized that the Holocaust never happened. He fully expected his involvement with Zundel to be the crowning achievement of his career; instead, it ruined him.

Of the acquisition, Mr. Urman said, "Mr. Death is the culmination of Errol Morris's career thus far, and is further proof that he is one of the most inventive and exciting filmmakers working today."

Mr. Ortenberg added, "Errol Morris has created a motion picture genre all his own, and Mr. Death is the most provocative and accessible of all his great films."

"Mr. Death expresses a number of important political and social issues," said Mr. Morris. "I think it's a film - even more than The Thin Blue Line or any other film that I've made - that will prompt discussion and interest, and I wanted it to reach the widest possible audience. And Lions Gate has made a commitment to do just that. They see it, as I do, not as a specialized film, but rather a film that could attract a much broader audience than anything I've done before."

Mr. Morris's award-winning credits as a director/producer include Fast Cheap & Out of Control (1998 Truer Than Fiction Independent Spirit Award); A Brief History of Time (1992 Sundance Filmmakers Trophy and Grand Jury Prize); and The Thin Blue Line.

Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. was produced by David Collins, Michael Williams and Dorothy Aufiero and executive produced by attorney/producers representative John Sloss. The deal was negotiated by Urman and Ortenberg on behalf of Lions Gate, with Sloss of Sloss Law representing the film.

Lions Gate Entertainment is celebrating two Academy Awards for its 1998 releases, Gods and Monsters (winner of the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for Bill Condon) and Affliction (for which James Coburn won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor). Upcoming titles on Lions Gate's release slate include the prize-winning The Red Violin, directed by Francois Girard, starring Samuel L. Jackson, Greta Scacchi, Jason Flemyng and Don McKellar; Mr. McKellar's own award-winning apocalyptic romance, Last Night; and Francis Veber's Cesar-winning French comedy sensation, The Dinner Game.

Lions Gate recently wrapped production on American Psycho, Mary Harron's adaptation of the controversial novel that stars Christian Bale, Reese Witherspoon and Willem Dafoe. The film will be released this winter.

The company's most recent acquisition, Peter Greenaway's 8 1/2 Women, starring John Standing, Matthew Delamere, Polly Walker, Amanda Plummer, Toni Collette and Vivian Wu, was recently announced in Cannes and will be released later this year.

LIONS GATE ENTERTAINMENT CORP. (AMEX/TSE:LGF) develops, produces and distributes a wide range of film and television content. Through its four main operating groups - motion pictures, television, animation, and studio facilities - the distinctive Lions Gate brand is recognized throughout North America and around the world.

SOURCE: Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.

Related stories on Fred Leuchter: the Movie ("Mr Death"):

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