Freestyle Releasing and Freestyle Digital Media have acquired theatrical and DVD/VOD rights to the Julia Dyer-directed drama The Playroom and has slated a February 9, 2013 release date. Set in the suburbs during the 1970s, Playroom tells the story of the Cantwell family, who are trying to find their way in a world changing too fast for their liking. John Hawkes (The Sessions) and Molly Parker (Dexter) star as the hard-drinking parents of Maggie (newcomer Olivia Harris), who is grappling with her parents’ flawed choices. The film, which premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, was produced by Stephen Dyer and Angie Meyer. The deal was negotiated by Freestyle CEO Susan Jackson and Head of Acquisitions Chris Charalambous, and Bill Straus of BGP and Jonathan Gray of Gray, Krauss Stratford des Rochers.
It’s probably not a surprise on the indie front, but finance posed the biggest challenge for three of this weekend’s specialty releases. Despite an Oscar nomination and box office success with his first film, Joshua Marston’s followup The Forgiveness Of Blood managed to turn a resource challenge into a unique story that takes place in an isolated Balkans village. Around June writer-director James Sacova maximized his limited budget through passion, but also discovered having all the necessary permits didn’t guarantee smooth sailing. And Australian production Tomorrow When The War Began had a top-selling book series behind its big-screen ambitions, but getting the cash together was anything but a slam dunk.
Days before its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, Nick Broomfield’s hot-button expose documentary Sarah Palin: You Betcha! has been acquired by Freestyle Releasing. The plan is to open in New York and Los Angeles on Sept. 30 and roll out. Broomfield raised more than $30,000 on the crowd-funding site Kickstarter to support the doc’s release, with private investors kicking in more money to launch the film. Cassian Elwes made the deal with Freestyle co-president Susan Jackson. The doc, directed by Broomfield and Joan Churchill, is not a fave of the Palin crowd, and the filmmakers say it lifts the veil off her image as a former hockey mom as the former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate gears up for a possible presidential run in 2012.
Freestyle Releasing has changed the release date for the Anthony Burns-directed, 1980s-set coming-of-age drama Skateland to May 13. The film, starring Shiloh Fernandez and Ashley Greene, played at Sundance in 2010.
The Andrei Konchalevsky-directed The Nutcracker in 3D has been acquired by Freestyle Releasing and Cinemarket Films. They bought US rights and will release the film November 24. It stars Elle Fanning as young Mary, Nathan Lane as Uncle Albert and John Turturro as the Rat King. Mary’s boring Viennese Christmas is livened up when Uncle Albert arrives and gifts her with an enchanted nutcracker that comes to life and takes her on a journey to a magical world of Christmas toys come to life. The Tchaikovsky score was supplemented by new songs from Tim Rice. The film was shot on location in Budapest