Robert Gordon Strikes Gold At Sundance


Memphis writer/director/producer Robert Gordon's new project Best Of Enemies was sold to Magnolia Pictures and Participant Media today for a "high six-figure sum". The documentary film, which was co-directed with Morgan Neville, whose last film 20 Feet From Stardom, won last year's Academy Award for Best Documentary, premiered last Friday at the Sundance Film Festival. 

William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal square off in this still image from Best Of Enemies.
  • William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal square off in this still image from Best Of Enemies.

Best Of Enemies chronicles the series of debates between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley staged by ABC during the 1968 Republican and Democratic conventions, which the film credits as kicking off the contemporary cable news shoutfest style of political programming. 

Reviews for the film by the cadre of industry professionals who descend on Park City, Utah every January have been nothing short of rapturous. The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy wrote "For American viewers of an intellectual/historical persuasion, there could scarcely be any documentary more enticing, scintillating and downright fascinating than Best of Enemies." Writing for Variety, Joe Leydon says “Best of Enemies never gets heavy-handed while attempting to illustrate the true historical importance of what might still be viewed by many as nothing more than an obscure and eccentric bit of prime-time misadventure." The Guardian's four-star review, written by Jordan Hoffman, says  "Directors Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom) and Robert Gordon (Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story) have unearthed outstanding footage and interviewed many of today’s best thinkers for a juicy and thrilling documentary about two intellectual titans who truly loathed one another." 

In addition to Gordon, who directed and produced, the film's strong Memphis roots include editor Eileen Meyer, composer Jonathan Kirkscey, director of photography David Leonard, consulting producer Tom Graves, and production assistant Andrew Paisley. 

Magnolia Pictures and Participant Media will reportedly give Best Of Enemies a theatrical release sometime this year, with home video, television, and streaming deals to follow. You can watch a short interview with directors Gordon and Neville at CraveOnline. 

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