Los Angeles, California / New York, New York – Continuing to ramp up its international co-production partnerships, WOWOW, Japan’s premium pay TV broadcaster, announced that it is partnering on Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi’s documentary The New York Review of Books: A 50 Year Argument on April 8.

WOWOW joins HBO Documentary Films, BBC Arena and Scorsese’s Sikelia Productions as co-production partners in the film. Margaret Bodde is producing with Scorsese and Tedeschi. Kayo Washio, who runs WOWOW’s Los Angeles office, is executive producer for WOWOW; Anthony Wall is executive producer for BBC Arena.

International sales company Cinephil (Cathedrals of Culture) is handling international sales. The deal was negotiated by Kayo Washio and Philippa Kowarsky of Cinephil.

“It’s only fitting that such an iconic magazine has such an iconic director bringing it to life as a feature film,” said WOWOW’s Kayo Washio. “I can’t think of anyone better to tell this unique story than Martin Scorsese, and am extremely excited to be involved with a project that everyone, including ourselves, is so passionate about.”

Since its founding over fifty years ago during the New York City newspaper strike of 1963, America’s leading journal of ideas has pursued its goal with rigor, a unique style and more than its share of controversy. The New York Review of Books: A 50 Year Argument, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Martin Scorsese and his long-time documentary collaborator David Tedeschi, rides the waves of literary, political and cultural history in much the same way as the paper itself.

Provocative, idiosyncratic and incendiary, the film weaves rarely seen archival material, contributor interviews and excerpts from writings by such icons as James Baldwin, Gore Vidal, and Joan Didion with original verité footage filmed in the Review’s West Village office. These scenes reflect the humming, restless energy of a magazine that, heading into its second half-century, still feels as vital as its founding editors, Robert Silvers and the late Barbara Epstein. Confrontation and intelligent argument are in its DNA, as illustrated in the documentary by the skirmish between Vidal and Norman Mailer over women’s liberation, Mary McCarthy’s jeremiad against American hegemony in Vietnam, Mark Danner’s investigation into the use of enhanced interrogation during the Iraq war, and Michael Greenberg’s analysis of the Occupy movement. Joan Didion’s reading from her quietly furious explication of the 1989 Central Park Jogger Case, filmed at the recent fiftieth anniversary event at New York’s Town Hall, exemplifies the film’s approach: honour the writers, the writing, and the paper’s determination to reveal the truth in all its complexity.