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Sundance Doc Goes to Oprah Network

Published January 15, 2011 4:22 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Sundance Film Festival hasn't even started yet - it won't until Jan. 20 - and already there's news that one of the documentaries that's premiering here has been bought up to show on the new Oprah Winfrey Network.

Chaz Bono's documentary, "Becoming Chaz," is about the formerly Chastity Bono, son of Sonny and Cher, going through a gender reassignment surgery to become a man.

Here's part of the press release announcing the acquisition:

Los Angeles, CA – OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, will air the world television premiere of the highly anticipated Chaz Bono documentary "Becoming Chaz," it was announced today by Lisa Erspamer, chief creative officer, OWN. In addition, Christy Turlington Burns' "No Woman No Cry" and Siskel/Jacobs Productions' "Louder Than a Bomb" will also join OWN's Documentary Film Club, created to spotlight cinematic documentaries that inspire and entertain. One of the first Sundance documentary acquisitions this year, "Becoming Chaz," will premiere on OWN in May, along with "No Woman, No Cry." "Louder Than a Bomb" will premiere later in the year. "We are proud to present this heartfelt and honest portrayal of Chaz's personal transformation to our viewers," said Ms. Erspamer. "These courageous documentaries engage conversation and we are pleased to have them join OWN." Making its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival 2011, "Becoming Chaz" is the story of Chaz Bono's emotional and physical transition from a woman to a man, a journey of identity and self-discovery. Growing up, Chastity was a shy person who never felt comfortable in the spotlight as the only child of Sonny & Cher. She also felt uncomfortable as a woman and struggled with living inside a body that she knew wasn't truly hers. Deciding there was no choice but to undergo sex reassignment surgery, now legally a man, Chaz Bono documented his deeply personal transformation so that others can learn from his experience. Directed and produced by veteran Sundance filmmakers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, who along with their production company World of Wonder, have been the creative forces behind a long history of powerful, groundbreaking and innovative documentaries and features. The film is being distributed internationally by Passion Distribution. "Chaz is someone who has risked everything to become himself. But whatever he might have lost, he has gained far more," said Mr. Barbato, director/producer, World of Wonder Productions. "It takes great courage and strength to go against other people's expectations of us in order to be true to ourselves," added Mr. Bailey, director/producer, World of Wonder Productions.

- Vince Horiuchi