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Oprah Winfrey Network buys its first documentary, 'Family Affair'

January 29, 2010 | 12:44 pm

Oprah Winfrey was a player at Sundance.

OWN, the cable network she is launching next January in partnership with programming behemoth Discovery Communications, bought its first documentary at the Sundance Film Festival this week.

"Family Affair," written and produced by Chico David Colvard, tells the story of how the filmmaker — at the age of 10 — shot his older sister in the leg. That random action, according to Colvard, shattered his family and exposed the abuse that his sisters suffered by their father. Thirty years after the shooting, Colvard visited with family members to document their pain, their resilience and "the nature of forgiveness." The film was also produced by Liz Garbus.

Executives at OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network have been low-key about the strategy of the channel except to say it will feature inspirational programming with themes of empowerment. Plans for the channel include a monthly Winfrey-inspired feature called the Documentary Film Club.  Last month, the channel entered a partnership with Ro*Co Films to identify documentaries for the channel.

OWN executives declined to say how much they paid for Colvard's documentary.

— Meg James