Lionsgate & Roadside Attractions Pick Up Sundance Prize Winner ‘Dear White People’

By | Wednesday March 19, 2014 @ 6:26pm PDT

Dear White PeopleLionsgate and Roadside Attractions have jointly acquired writer-director Justin Simien‘s debut feature Dear White People, which snagged the Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Talent at Sundance in January. Dear White People takes a satirical look at racial politics among the student body at a fictional Ivy League school where four students navigate issues of black militancy, post-racism, and the commodification of black culture on campus. Tyler James Williams (Everybody Hates Chris), Tessa Thompson (Veronica Mars), Teyonah Parris (Mad Men), and Brandon P Bell (Hollywood Heights) star. Simien made a splash in Park City with the pic, which pays homage to predecessors like Spike Lee’s School Daze and Robert Townshend’s Hollywood Shuffle. Ahead of a planned fall 2014 release, Dear White People is set to screen at this weekend’s New Directors/New Films. Read More »

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Sundance Institute Creates 2014 Episodic Story Lab For TV & Online Writers

By | Wednesday March 19, 2014 @ 12:00pm PDT

sundance_institute_logo_detail_02The Sundance Institute today announced an expansion of its labs program into television and online content, establishing the first Sundance Institute Episodic Story Lab, to be held this fall at the Sundance Resort in Sundance, Utah. Norman and Lyn Lear … Read More »

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SXSW: Amplify Logs Terrence Malick Produced Young Abe Lincoln Pic ‘The Better Angels’

The Terrence Malick-produced film about a boy who would grow up to be the man widely considered America’s greatest presidents was first seen by the world at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Today Amplify announced it has acquired all U.S. rights toRead More »

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Sundance Selects Acquires Aaron Paul Starrer ‘Hellion’

By | Monday February 24, 2014 @ 2:36pm PST

hellionKat Candler’s Hellion debuted in Park City last month, and now Sundance Selects has taken North American rights to the pic. Exec produced by Jeff Nichols (Mud), Hellion stars newcomer Josh Wiggins as Jacob, a … Read More »

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IFC Acquires Kristen Stewart Guantanamo Bay Pic ‘Camp X-Ray’

By | Thursday February 6, 2014 @ 9:32am PST
Mike Fleming

Camp X-RayIFC Films took North American rights to Peter Sattler’s directorial debut film Camp X-Ray, which made its debut at Sundance. Pic stars Kristen Stewart, Payman Maadi and Lane Garrison, and was produced by Gina Kwon, and … Read More »

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Sundance: Magnolia Acquires Roger Ebert Documentary ‘Life Itself’

Mike Fleming

ebeMagnolia Pictures acquired the Sundance documentary Life Itself, which covered the life of beloved film critic Roger Ebert. Steve James of Hoop Dreams fame directed the picture, which is being eyed for summer release followed by a broadcast … Read More »

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Gravitas Ventures Acquires Sundance Pic ‘Ping Pong Summer’

By | Monday February 3, 2014 @ 1:26pm PST

PingPongSummerGravitas Ventures plans an early summer theatrical and digital release for writer-director Michael Tully’s Ping Ping Summer, which had its world premiere last month in the NEXT section at the Sundance Film Festival. The coming-of-age comedy set in … Read More »

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Sundance: ICM Signs ‘Kumiko’ Duo & ‘God Help The Girl’ Actor

Sundance2014_badge__140109214059__140124220603EXCLUSIVE: This year’s Sundance Film Festival is over but for three participants a whole new ride is about to begin. ICM Partners have signed up Special Jury Prize winners Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter’s David Zellner and Nathan Zellner as … Read More »

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Sundance Awards: ‘Whiplash’ & ‘Rich Hill’ Win Grand Jury Prizes; Dramatic Directing Goes To Cutter Hodierne For ‘Fishing Without Nets’

Whiplash Sundance AwardIt was the first major deal of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and tonight Whiplash was the big winner at the fest’s Awards Ceremony. The Damien Chazelle-directed film about a young drummer, played by Miles Teller, and his demanding teacher, played by JK Simmons, took both the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury prize and the Audience Award. “This is awesome, thanks so much,” said Chazelle accepting the pic’s Audience Award earlier in the evening. Little did he know the fest hit would go on to win Sundance’s top dramatic prize. The U.S. Documentary Award went to the Andrew Droz Palermo and Tracy Droz Tragos-directed Rich Hill,Sundance Film Festival Winners 2014 about three small town Missouri boys seeking better from their sometimes bleak environment. Also making waves with buzzy Sundance awards tonight were first-time director Justin Simien, whose conversation-sparking Dear White People nabbed a Special Jury Prize for Breakthrough Talent; the Ethiopian World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award winner Difret, exec produced by Angelina Jolie; and the Nick Cave docu 20,000 Days On Earth which snagged both Best Directing and Best Editing in the World Cinema Documentary category.

offerman mullallyHosted by Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally, this year’s Awards started over 30 minutes later than its scheduled 6PM PT kick-off time. Once things got going, after a lurid but lame routine by the hosts, it moved fast. Like last year when Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who had his own directorial feature debut Don Jon premiere at Sundance 2013, hosted the awards ceremony, Offerman and Mullally both have films at the festival. The Parks & Recreation star fronted Nick Offerman: American Ham, which premiered on January 23 in Salt Lake City, and Mullally is one of the voices in the English-language version of the animated pic Ernest & Celestine, which was screened January 18 as part of the new Sundance Kids selection. Offerman and Mullally opened with a monologue that centered more on their sex life than indie film. “In short, we have seen your movies and we have found them arousing,” deadpanned Offerman. Read More »

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Sundance: RADIUS-TWC Buys Katie Couric-Narrated Docu ‘Fed Up’

By | Saturday January 25, 2014 @ 6:09pm PST
Mike Fleming

fedupEXCLUSIVE: In a deal that is closing right before the conclusion of the Sundance Film Festival, RADIUS-TWC is acquiring worldwide distribution rights to Fed Up, the Katie Couric-narrated documentary about the alarming and … Read More »

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Sundance: IFC Midnight Acquires Bedtime Horror ‘The Babadook’

By | Saturday January 25, 2014 @ 12:34pm PST

The Babadook distributionSundance buzz title The Babadook has been acquired by IFC Midnight, which snagged U.S. and Latin America rights to the chiller from Aussie newcomer Jennifer Kent. Essie Davis stars in the pic as a widowed single mother who connects with her troubled son (then six-year-old Noah Wiseman) by reading a bedtime storybook that unleashes a shadowy monster in their home. Kent wrote and directed the Sundance Midnighter selection which also stars Daniel Henshall, Hayley McElhinney, Barbara West, and Ben Winspear. Causeway Films’ Kristina Ceyton produced with Kristian Moliere, with backing from Screen Australia. Jonathan Page, Michael Tear, Jan Chapman, and Jeff Harrison exec produced the pic which earned raves from critics in Park City and put Kent on the map as a helmer to watch. Read More »

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Sundance: A24 Nearing Domestic Deal On ‘Life After Beth’

By | Friday January 24, 2014 @ 3:20pm PST
Mike Fleming

bethhEXCLUSIVE: A24 is hot on the trail of its third film acquisition of the Sundance Film Festival. I’m hearing the label is near a deal for U.S. rights to Life After Beth, a Jeff Baena-written and -directed comedy … Read More »

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UPDATE: Magnolia Confirms Domestic Deal At Sundance For ‘Frank,’ The One That Has Michael Fassbender Wearing The Giant Head

By | Friday January 24, 2014 @ 3:17pm PST
Mike Fleming

frankUPDATE, 3:16 PM: Magnolia Pictures has confirmed news that Deadline broke yesterday: It has acquired North American rights to Frank, starring Michael Fassbender. Read the full release below the original story.

PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, THURSDAY AM: Magnolia is zeroing in on a low seven-figure domestic deal for Frank, the Lenny Abrahamson-directed film about a band that is led by an eclectic genius lead singer who, everywhere he goes, wears an oversized head, even on stage. Now, this has been one of the most intriguing titles, given that the actor playing him is Michael Fassbender, the hunky Irishman who was just Oscar-nominated for his role in 12 Years A Slave.

Sundance 2014The film also stars Maggie Gyllenhaal, Scoot McNairy and Domhnall Gleeson and the vantage point is a fledgling musician who joins the band. The film is repped by WME Global, and while the deal flow has been a bit on the slow side, that agency has managed to close a deal through all of the six days of the fest. I wrote about how Graham Taylor’s Sundance team of Mark Ankner, Liesl Copland and Alexis Garcia got minted as partners, and maybe that was the extra motivation, but they bagged the fest’s first big deal on the opening night film Whiplash, and haven’t let up. Frank first premiered last Friday night at the Eccles Theater. Read More »

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Sony Pictures Classics Confirms Deal For Sundance Pic ‘Love Is Strange’

Mike Fleming

loveisUPDATE, 2:58 PM: Sony Pictures Classics has confirmed Deadline’s report from yesterday, acquiring Ira Sachs’ Sundance pic  Love Is Strange for North America, Germany and Scandinavia. Read the release below after the original story.

PREVIOUS, THURSDAY AM: Sony Pictures Classics is acquiring Love Is Strange, the film scripted and directed by Ira Sachs that stars Alfred Molina, John Lithgow, Marisa Tomei, Cheyenne Jackson, Darren Burrows and Charlie Tahan. The timely film is about two longtime gay lovers who finally get married. Sundance 2014One of them then gets fired and is unable to pay the rent. The couple must move in, separately, with a nephew and his family in Brooklyn and the two gay cops next door. The film got a strong response when it premiered last Saturday at the Eccles Theater. The deal is being made by WME Global. The film also got a French distribution deal with Pretty Pictures right after its premiere. SPC previously acquired the opening-night film Whiplash, and then the comedy Land Ho!

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Sundance: Todd Field Eyeing Adaptation Of ‘Battered Bastards Of Baseball’ Docu

The wild tale of the Portland Mavericks looks to be coming to the big screen via one of its former employees. Little Children director and former Mavericks batboy Todd Field is in talks to direct and write an adaptation of the documentary The Battered Bastards Of Baseball, I’ve Read More »

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Sundance Institute/NHK Award Goes To Mark Rosenberg

By | Friday January 24, 2014 @ 6:48am PST

sundance_institute_logo_detail_02Mark Rosenberg, director of the upcoming film Ad Inexplorata, is the winner of this year’s Sundance Institute/NHK Award. The annual award recognizes and supports a visionary filmmaker on his or her next film. Sundance Institute staff work closely … Read More »

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Sundance: Radius-TWC Acquires ‘The One I Love’

By | Thursday January 23, 2014 @ 8:25am PST
Mike Fleming

theoneBREAKING: The Weinstein Company is on the board with a Sundance acquisition, and it was the company’s multi-platform arm Radius-TWC that made the deal. Tom Quinn and Jason Janego’s division acquired worldwide rights to the Charlie McDowell-directed … Read More »

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Hot Sundance Clip: ‘52 Tuesdays’

By | Wednesday January 22, 2014 @ 7:38pm PST

Sundance 2014EXCLUSIVE: Richard Linklater isn’t the only filmmaker at Sundance to film a movie over the course of an extraordinarily long span of time. Australian helmer Sophie Hyde shot World competition drama 52 Tuesdays, … Read More »

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Sundance: IFC Acquiring Jim Mickle-Directed ‘Cold In July’

Mike Fleming

coldjulyUPDATE: IFC has confirmed Deadline’s scoop on this deal. Release appears below the original break.

EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, 1:00 am PST: It took awhile, but the Sundance deals are now moving faster as the festival heads toward its final weekend. … Read More »

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