Gravitas Ventures buys Israel Adesanya Documentary Stylebender

Gravitas Ventures has picked up the documentary Stylebender, on the UFC Middleweight phenomenon and former world champion Israel Adesanya, for North America.

Zoë McIntosh followed Adesanya, known in the ring as “the last stylebender” for five years making the non-fiction feature, which premiered at the Tribeca film festival last year. Stylebender is less a classic sports doc than an exploration of Adesanya’s origins, family upbringing, and his struggles, as a shy Nigerian kid, growing up in rural New Zealand in the 2000s, to find his own way in the world. We see Adesanya working with his trainer and mentor, Eugene Bareman, as well as his therapist, as he discusses issues of masculinity, bullying, and mental health.

“After screening Stylebender in Tribeca, I could feel in my bones there was something supremely special about this film, and about Adesanya’s story,” said Gravitas’ Danielle Gasher. “There is a vulnerable and deeply human quality to the film, which I believe will be felt far and large by audiences across North America.”

Gravitas has a talent for spotting international breakout docs. In 2021 the company picked up the Chilean documentary The Mole Agent, which went on to secure an Oscar nomination for best documentary.

The deal for Stylebender was negotiated by Gravitas’ Danielle Gasher, VP Acquisitions & International Sales, with Mister Smith Entertainment’s VP International Sales & Distribution, Shane Kelly. Mister Smith Entertainment co-reps North American rights with WME for the film. Ahi Films is handling the release of Stylebender in Australia and New Zealand.


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