ATO Pictures has acquired all North American rights to director James Marsh’s Shadow Dancer. It stars Andrea Riseborough (Wallis Simpson in W.E.) and Clive Owen. Screenplay was written by Tom Bradby and is based on his novel. Riseborough plays a woman who’s forced to betray her beliefs and spy on members of her family to protect her son in 1993 Northern Ireland. Gillian Anderson, Aidan Gillen and Domhnall Gleeson co star. Shadow Dancer is Marsh’s third film to bow at Sundance. He also directed the documentaries Project Nim and Man On Wire. Produced by Chris Coen of Unanimous Entertainment, Shadow Dancer is also screening at the Berlin Film Festival. Exec producers are Joe Oppenheimer, Brahim Chioua, Norman Merry, Vincent Maraval, Tom Bradby and Rita Dagher. ATO head of acquisitions Sarah Lash negotiated the deal with CAA who represented the producers.
ATO Pictures has acquired U.S. rights to Participant Media’s Last Call at the Oasis, the Jessica Yu-directed film that premiered at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival. The documentary is about the global water crisis, the role that water plays in our lives and the hardships that are created around the world when clean water is not available. The film is produced by Elise Pearlstein. The deal was brokered by Submarine’s Josh Braun. It is the second festival film to be acquired by ATO, which bought the comedy The Oranges before the festival wrapped.
Back in March, Deadline broke the story that ATO Pictures was near a deal to acquire US rights to The Convincer, the Karen Sprecher-directed dark comedy that made its debut at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. The distributor has changed the title to Thin Ice, but has just confirmed the deal. Here’s the official announcement:
New York, NY (July 19, 2011) – ATO (Art Takes Over) Pictures announced today that it has acquired U.S. theatrical rights to THIN ICE (formerly titled THE CONVINCER) starring Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin, Billy Crudup, Lea Thompson, David Harbour and Bob Balaban.
EXCLUSIVE: The impressive volume of distribution deals for 2011 Sundance Film Festival fare is about to expand again. I’m told that ATO Pictures is wrapping up a deal for US rights to The Convincer, the Karen Sprecher-directed dark comedy that stars Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin and Billy Crudup. It’s Fargo-style caper-gone-awry tale in which a conniving insurance salesman (Kinnear) thinks he has found a way to fortify his bank account and get his wife back. He sets out to scam a retired farmer (Arkin) out of a rare violin worth $25,000. A lot goes wrong and blood and dead bodies ensue. Produced by Werc Werk Works, the film was scripted by the director and her sister Jill, who also did Clockwatchers together. CAA is repping the film. ATO, which was hatched by Johnathan Dorfman, Temple Fennell and musician Dave Matthews, distributed George Hickenlooper’s final film Casino Jack and recently acquired The Woman in the Fifth.
UPDATE: Kennedy/Marshall will try to turn the life of Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger into a feature film. They’ve optioned life rights of the pilot who landed his jumbo jet in the Hudson River after the engines stalled when the plane hit a flock of birds on takeoff. He saved all the passengers. How you stretch that into a feature will be the challenge…
ATO Pictures acquired U.S. theatrical rights to Terri, a film that stars John C. Reilly and Jacob Wysocki, with Azazel Jacobs directing. It’s about the relationship between an overweight teen (Wysocki) and a well meaning high school vice principal (Reilly). ATO acquired the Kevin Spacey-starrer Casino Jack at Toronto…Brett Ratner optioned the Charles Robert Jenkins novel The Reluctant Communist as a potential directing project. Ross Katz will write the script based on the true story of Robert Jenkins, a US Army soldier who deserted in South Korea and surrendered to North Korea in 1965. He thought it would be a quick ticket home, but instead he was stuck there 40 years playing the American villain in propaganda films.
Casino Jack, the drama that stars Kevin Spacey as disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, has a new home. ATO Pictures has acquired US theatrical rights to a film which was orphaned when its original distributor, Metropolitan, failed to meet its commitments and the picture was pulled back for breach of contract. ATO is best known for having singer Dave Matthews and music exec Coran Capshaw as its co-founders.
ATO Pictures will distribute the George Hickenlooper-directed drama in December. The George Hickenlooper-directed film will be platformed at the Toronto International Film Festival, and gets its chance at awards season, with Spacey’s performance in particular garnering raves at early private showings. The film makes its festival premiere at Toronto on September 16, with filmmaker and cast in tow.
“It is not only one of the most refreshing and entertaining films we’ve seen in a long time, but, it also fits in perfectly with a strategy of releasing high quality, engaging stories that appeal to mainstream audiences,” ATO co-founders Johnathan Dorfman and Temple Fennell said in a statement. ATO releases theatrically though Independent Distribution Partners, its partnership with Samuel Goldwyn Films.