Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Sundance Selects scored in the specialty arena this weekend, opening Gimme The Loot at its IFC Center in Greenwich Village with a solid $23,400. The movie, which IFC Films’ Sundance Selects label picked up last year out of the SXSW Film Festival, reported sold-out screenings Friday and Saturday nights, boosted by Q&As with former The Daily Show personality Wyatt Cenac. It premiered at MoMA on Tuesday with Sofia Coppola, Mike Birbiglia , Elizabeth Olsen, and Josh Safdie among the attendees. Loot next weekend will head to Chicago’s Music Box, L.A.’s NuArt and the Jacob Burns Center in Upstate New York. The Weinstein Company launched Cannes 2012 entrant The Sapphires in 4 NYC/LA theaters with a decent $10,232 average. Among other openers, Paladin debuted My Brother The Devil with two runs, averaging just over $6K. Starbuck is an original that DreamWorks Sudios is adapting to star Vince Vaughn. It was a hit at home north of the border, but opened comparatively quietly here, averaging $5,482 in three theaters. Next month, distributor eOne will take it to the top 30 to 50 markets. Archstone’s A Resurrection took in $7,250 at a single cinema. Read More »
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Only a handful of new specialty movies opened during the early part of 2013, but spring has brought an onslaught of indies and foreign titles. The Weinstein Company opens the Cannes debut The Sapphires this weekend, while two titles from last year’s SXSW, Hunky Dory starring Minnie Driver and Gimme The Loot from Sundance Selects, bow in select locations. Thriller Come Out And Play makes its way to theaters after a very unconventional production. Paladin’s My Brother The Devil enjoyed the support of Sundance but faced riots during its filming in London. Entertainment One brings a French-Canadian comedy that has already landed an English-language remake deal, and Well Go USA will launch New World, hoping once again to capitalize on past successes with Korean thrillers.
Director: Wayne Blair
Writers: Tony Briggs, Keith Thompson
Cast: Chris O’Dowd, Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens, Miranda Tapsell
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
TWC picked up the biographical comedy/drama ahead of its Cannes Film Festival premiere in the Official Selection last year, picking up U.S. rights and other territories for low seven figures. “It’s a really, really strong film with great performances,” said TWC president of theatrical distribution & home entertainment Erik Lomis. “Chris O Dowd is terrific”, said Lomis. Set against a backdrop of racial strife in Australia in the late ’60s, the film centers on four Australian Aboriginal girls who form a group and head out to entertain U.S. troops in Vietnam, escaping the tensions and limitations of their rural community. “It plays well to an audience and hopefully will crack the formula,” said Lomis. “It’s not a four-quadrant movie, but it’s has appeal across the spectrum. It’s an audience pleaser and it has scored through the roof.”
TWC tested the feature in New York and in the Midwest where Lomis said audiences in both regions responded well. “The trick is getting them in,” he noted. “We’re hoping word-of-mouth will propel its theatrical run.” The Sapphires will have a traditional first weekend opening in New York and LA, playing at two locations in each city before expanding.
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EXCLUSIVE: When you see a filmmaker like Martin Scorsese or Jonathan Demme put their brand names on movies, you wonder how involved they get. Scorsese put his imprimatur on two films this month – Luc Besson’s Malavita and Andy Lau’s Revenge of the Green Dragons. Now, Demme has taken a “presenting” credit on Adam Leon‘s Gimme The Loot, hoping his contribution will be that people notice a worthy indie when it gets released in late March by IFC Films/Sundance Selects. Gimme The Loot won Best Narrative Feature at last year’s SXSW. Leon is a current nominee for an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Film.
Said Demme: “Knowing that Gimme The Loot is — astonishingly — Adam Leon’s first feature most certainly adds to the film’s extraordinary sense of achievement. But the sheer entertainment value of this very smart, hilarious, and heartfelt movie made by young filmmakers about contemporary young people, filmed and played with great freshness and originality, is what makes Gimme The Loot a truly thrilling experience — this is really one crazily accomplished American motion picture debut.” Read More »
Cannes has a mix of newcomers and veterans this year. While no first-time directors are in the main competition, some relatively young veterans are returning after a long absence and notable debut helmers can be found in other sections. Below is a selection of directors to keep an eye on:
Nabil Ayouch: The French-born director who’s of Moroccan descent had a fest-circuit hit with his second feature Ali Zoua back in 2000. Lately, he’s focused on producing for television with his last feature as director 2007’s Whatever Lola Wants. God’s Horses, Ayouch’s Un Certain Regard entry this year, is being compared to Fernando Meirelles’ 2002 breakout. “It’s the new City Of God,” says an exec. God’s Horses is inspired by the terrorist attacks of May 16th 2003 in Casablanca.
Wayne Blair: Blair’s The Sapphires had been building buzz for several months and was acquired by The Weinstein Co on the eve of this fest. One of the vanguard of Aboriginal Australian filmmakers, he has a storied background. Not only did he play professional soccer in Oz, he’s also been a TV director and a stage actor (in 2010 he starred in a Phillip Seymour Hoffman-directed stage version of True West in Sydney). His first outing as a filmmaker, 2005 short The Djarn DJarns, netted him the Crystal Bear prize in the Kinderfilmfest section of Berlin. The Sapphires is his first … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: UTA has signed Adam Leon, whose feature directing debut Gimme The Loot won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature when it made its debut as the SXSW festival. The film, which Leon also wrote, was set last week to play in the Un Certain Regard category at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival. IFC/Sundance Selects acquired U.S. distribution of the film, a gritty comedic love story about two inner city high schoolers from the Bronx who set out to prove they are the ultimate graffiti taggers. Leon previously directed the short film Killer. He had been courted by the agencies since his film played SXSW.
New York’s New Directors/New Films series has introduced the likes of Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Darren Aronofsky, Richard Linklater, Kelly Reichardt and Pedro Almodovar. Spielberg’s Sugarland Express debuted at the event and the fledgling filmmaker went on to direct Jaws a year later. Spike Lee’s NYU thesis film Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads was the first student film to be shown in ND/NF back in 1982, and Christopher Nolan debuted his first feature Following in the U.S. in 1999. The series, hosted by MoMA and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, this year includes 29 features and 12 shorts. It opened tonight. Here are six directors to watch: Read More »
Adam Leon’s Gimme The Loot took SXSW’s prize for best narrative feature last week. Sundance Selects today announced that it acquired North American and Latin American rights to the film, which centers on two determined teens from the Bronx who are the ultimate graffiti writers. A rival gang, however, buffs their latest masterpiece and they decide to get revenge by tagging an iconic NYC landmark. Arianna Bocco, SVP Acquisitions & Productions for Sundance Selects/IFC Films, negotiated the deal with Josh Braun of Submarine Entertainment. Gimme The Loot is produced by Natalie Difford, Dominic Buchanan, Jamund Washington and stars newcomers Tashiana Washington,Ty Hickson, Meeko, Zoe Lescaze and Sam Soghor.
Related: SXSW Announces Audience Awards
Adam Leon’s Gimme The Loot won the top prize at the SXSW Film Festival tonight, taking the event’s best narrative feature prize, while Jay Bulger’s Beware Of Mr. Baker won took the award in the documentary category. Leon is considered an up-and-coming New York-based director. Gimme The Loot debuted to a huge response from audiences in Austin and buyers have been circling the title. Set in NYC, the film will screen next at the upcoming New Directors/New Films series, which opens later this month. Last year’s SXSW Film Festival best narrative feature film winner, Natural Selection by director Robbie Pickering, opens theatrically this weekend in limited release.
The 2012 SXSW Film Festival Award Winners:
Feature Film Jury Awards
NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION: Grand Jury Winner, Gimme The Loot, Director: Adam Leon
Special Jury Recognition for Performance – Jamie Chung, Eden; Besedka Johnson – Starlet; Nico Stone – Booster
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION
Grand Jury Winner: Beware of Mr. Baker, Director: Jay Bulger
Feature Film Audience Awards
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE Winner: Bay of All Saints, Director: Annie Eastman
NARRATIVE FEATURE Winner: Eden, Director: Megan Griffiths
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