MK2 Films Acquires Worldwide Rights to Claude Lanzmann’s Films, Including ‘Shoah’ (EXCLUSIVE)

MK2 Films has acquired worldwide rights, including France, to French filmmaker Claude Lanzmann’s films, including his landmark documentary about the Holocaust, “Shoah,” which is inscribed in UNESCO’s Memory of the World register. The deal was signed with Les Films Aleph.

“Shoah,” considered one of the most important works in world cinema, tells the story of the genocide of European Jews by the Nazis during World War II. With a duration of nine and a half hours, it is the result of 12 years of research, giving voice to the protagonists of the concentration camps — survivors, perpetrators and bystanders. It was edited over five years from 230 hours of footage and virtually no archival images. The film, first released in 1985, won two BAFTA awards. It is available in a restored 4K version.

More from Variety

In addition to “Shoah,” the agreement also includes five other films by the French filmmaker and writer: “The Karski Report” (2010), “Lights and Shadows” (2008), “A Visitor From the Living” (1999), “Tsahal” (1994, nominated for the César Awards) and his first film “Israel, Why” (1973).

“It is a tremendous honor to be entrusted with Claude Lanzmann’s work,” Nathanaël Karmitz, chairman of the board of MK2, said. “His vital work, the result of a lifetime of commitment, must be restored, preserved, and passed on as widely as possible to new generations. This is what we will energetically strive to achieve, in line with our company’s philosophy.”

Lanzmann’s widow Dominique, who holds the “moral rights” — an element of French copyright law — for his films, said: “By entrusting Claude Lanzmann’s cinematic work to MK2 Films. I wish to amplify the action undertaken by the Claude and Felix Lanzmann Association for the inscription of ‘Shoah’ in UNESCO’s Memory of the World. I have chosen Nathanaël Karmitz as the partner who meets the current and future challenges posed by negationism and anti-Semitism, to which only a masterful work of art can respond.”

Lanzmann received an honorary Golden Bear for his entire body of work at the 2013 Berlinale. He was a former resistance fighter honored militarily at Les Invalides. His other French honors include Grand Officer of the National Order of the Légion d’Honneur, and Grand Cross of the National Order of Merit.

Next year will mark the 80th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on Jan. 27, 1945, coinciding with the 40th anniversary of “Shoah’s” theatrical release in France (April 30, 1985) and the centenary of Lanzmann’s birth (Nov. 27, 1925).

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.