The 2012 Sundance Film Festival doesn't start until Thursday, but the folks behind the Me @ The Zoo have hit pay dirt ahead of the documentary's festival premiere. HBO has purchased the broadcasting rights to the film, which took its name from the very first YouTube video ever uploaded.

Me @ The Zoo explores the life of video blogger Chris Crocker, who became in an Internet sensation after defending Britney Spears with the tearful YouTube missive, Leave Britney Alone. Uploaded in Sept. 2007, the video currently has over 42 million hits on YouTube.

It's a very important sale for us, both for the festival and how it plays out internationally, producer Nicholas Shumaker told IBTimes.

Throughout its history, HBO Documentary Films has shown a dedication to intelligent, thought-provoking content, co-directors Chris Moukarbel and Valerie Veatch said in a joint press statement. We couldn't be happier that 'Me @ the Zoo' has found the perfect home at HBO.

Asked if the acquisition would make the Sundance competition a bit more relaxing for him, Shumaker said, It definitely raises awareness amongst a crowded field of exceptionally talented filmmakers.

Shumaker also produced Another Earth, which won the Alfred P. Sloan prize at Sundance in 2011.

Watch Leave Britney Alone after the jump.