'The Survivor' With Ben Foster Acquired by HBO Films

True story about boxer and Holocaust survivor Harry Haft premiered at TIFF

Toronto International Film Festival

“The Survivor,” Barry Levinson’s biographical film about boxer Harry Haft, has been acquired by HBO Films for North America.

“The Survivor” is the true story of Haft, a boxer who survived the Holocaust and lived to fight in the ring alongside Rocky Marciano. The film stars Ben Foster in a transformational performance alongside Vicky Krieps.

The film also stars Billy Magnussen, Peter Sarsgaard, Saro Emirze, Dar Zuzovsky, Danny DeVito and John Leguizamo.

The film made its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this year. No release date has been set on HBO, but it will also debut on HBO Max.

Based on the book “Harry Haft: Survivor of Auschwitz, Challenger of Rocky Marciano” by Alan Haft, “The Survivor” shows how Haft, after being sent to Auschwitz, managed to survive the concentration camps by being forced to fight other prisoners for the amusement of the Nazi captors. But the film only spends a small amount of time in the camps, instead focusing on his quest to reunite with the woman he loves in New York. Looking to his boxing skills to establish a name for himself and hopefully track down his one true love, that quest eventually leads to a fight with the legendary Marciano.

New Mandate Films and BRON Studios were behind “The Survivor,” in association with Baltimore Pictures, Endeavor Content, Creative Wealth Media and USC Shoah Foundation, which aided the filmmakers with its visual history archives and provided a video interview of Haft from 2007.

“At a time when hatred based on race and belief is escalating, Harry’s story is a reminder of overcoming adversity against all odds. We were thrilled to launch the film at TIFF and the subsequent tremendous reception we received. We are delighted that the team at HBO shares our passion and we are looking forward to launching this important story with them,” producers Matti Leshem and Aaron L. Gilbert said in a statement.

“Having done numerous films at HBO, I don’t know of a better home for ‘The Survivor,’” Levinson added.

“We are immensely proud to bring ‘The Survivor’ to the HBO and HBO Max audience. Barry’s meticulous exploration of this true story of unimaginable choices, perseverance and redemption coupled with Ben’s transformative performance will captivate viewers and stay with them long after the credits roll,” Francesca Orsi, EVP HBO Programming, said in a statement.

“The Survivor” was produced by New Mandate Films’ Matti Leshem, BRON Studios’ Aaron L. Gilbert, Baltimore Pictures’ Jason Sosnoff and Barry Levinson and Scott Pardo. Executive producers are Joel Greenberg, Ben Foster, Danny Devito, Brenda Gilbert, Steven Thibault, Ashley Levinson, Anjay Nagpal, Ron McLeod, Jason Cloth and Richard McConnell. 

WME Independent brokered the deal with HBO.  

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