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Paramount Eyeing Sarah Polley For ‘Looking For Alaska’; Debut By ‘Fault In Our Stars’ Author John Green

By | Wednesday June 25, 2014 @ 11:39am PDT
Mike Fleming

Paramount Eyeing Sarah Polley For ‘Looking For Alaska’; Debut By ‘Fault In Our Stars’ Author John GreenParamount Pictures is in talks with actress-filmmaker Sarah Polley to adapt Looking For Alaska, the debut novel by The Fault In Our Stars author John Green. The book has become a big priority at the studio since the sleeper success of The Fault In Our Stars, which just passed the $100 million gross mark on a $12 million budget. The film will be produced by Mark Waters and Jessica Tuchinsky through their Watermark Pictures banner.

polleyThe novel is where Green first honed his talent for serving up serious subject matter to which young readers strongly relate. The protagonist is 16-year-old Miles Halter, who, after an antiseptic adolescence in Florida, moves to a boarding school in Alabama and learns coming-of-age lessons from his roommate and his beautiful and mysterious best friend, Alaska Young. She enthralls Miles with stories of adventurous and self-destructive behavior — and teaches him to drink, smoke, and plot elaborate pranks against the school’s rich preppies — but despite their adulation for her, they can tell that she is unhappy and perhaps headed for big trouble. Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Jonathan Demme’s ‘Fear Of Falling’ To Premiere At Rome Fest; ‘We Are The Best!’ Lines Up Sales; More

Jonathan Demme’s ‘Fear Of Falling’ To Premiere At Rome Fest
Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme‘s Fear Of Falling will have its world premiere at the eighth annual Rome Film Festival in November. The film is based on a theater production — performed only a few times to friends — created for the stage by the actor-filmaker André Gregory, based on Henrik Ibsen’s The Master Builder, translated and adapted by actor-playwright Wallace Shawn. Gregory and Shawn also star in the film. Fear of Falling is produced by Rocco Caruso. The Rome fest runs November 8-17.

TrustNordisk Sells ‘We Are The Best!’ In Australia, Italy, Taiwan
TrustNordisk has closed multiple deals on Lukas Moodysson’s We Are The Best!, which premiered at Venice premiere and screened at Toronto. The Swedish teen punk film has sold to Australia (NewVision Films), Italy (Bim Distribuzione) and Taiwan (Maison Motion), with talks ongoing for other territories. We Are The Best! revolves around three young outsiders in 1980s Stockholm who find unity in music and form a punk band without having any instruments. Lars Jönsson for Memfis Film produced the film, which bows October 11 in Sweden.

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Specialty Box Office: Sarah Polley’s ‘Stories We Tell’ Opens Strong; ‘Mud’ Sticks

By | Sunday May 12, 2013 @ 9:59am PDT

Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.

Indie FilmsCanadian filmmaker/actress Sarah Polley‘s documentary Stories We Tell is leading the pack of specialty releases among titles reporting early Sunday afternoon ET. The Venice/Telluride/Toronto ’12 debut, which headed into release with strong word of mouth and festival acclaim, grossed a solid $31K in two locations and saw its grosses shoot up Friday to Saturday by a spectacular 172%. The feature, which is a personal account of Polley’s family, received a 92 score on Metacritic and 94% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

“The opening is in the range of openings of last year’s doc hits Searching For Sugar Man from SPC ($9153 a screen opening on 3 screens in NY/LA, $3,657,684 final gross) and Queen Of Versailles from Magnolia ($17,109 a screen opening on 3 screens in NY/LA, $2,401,999 final gross), which is right where we want to be,” said Roadside Attractions Sunday.

The film will head into 20 runs in the top 7 markets next weekend.

Also opening with decent numbers is Zeitgeist’s doc One Track Heart: The Story Of Krishna Das, which took in $7,500 in one Manhattan theater. IFC Films’ comedy/thriller hybrid Sightseers languished with a $4,200 average in its debut in two runs, while Anchor Bay’s No One Lives opened in an ambitious 53 theaters but only scraped together an $866 average.
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Sundance: Famous Behind & In Front Of The Camera

On its fourth day, the Sundance Film Festival is wall to wall with some of Hollywood’s best known actors and actresses — and we don’t mean the ones who show up just to party hop. While the festival can be a great launching pad for emerging filmmakers, Park City has never been shy about letting the already well known show their wares there too. It was created by Robert Redford after all. This year sees a number of famous faces and names get behind the camera with new films. As buyers begin to dig in, expect to see these marquee names generating some serious interest as they play out of their regular position. And then there’s the plethora of Oscar winners and nominees, blockbuster and TV stars and indie superstars in front of the camera — check out our comprehensive list below.

James Franco – Executive Producer, kink; Co-director, Interior. Leather Bar.  - Actor, director, conceptual artist, grad student and failed Oscar host, Franco wears many hats. This year, he’s adding producer and co-director for two separate films for Sundance. Franco produced kink, a documentary directed by Christina Voros about the Internet’s biggest producer of BDSM. Franco also co-directed Interior. Leather Bar with Travis Matthews. The film seeks to re-create the 40 minutes of Gay S&M footage rumored to be cut from 1980’s Cruising staring Al Pacino to avoid an X rating. Sure the sexual subject matter of both films is similar but Franco’s ambition is wide ranging. Franco also makes an appearance in front of the camera in Interior. Leather Bar and Lovelace.

Alicia Keys – Executive Producer, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete - The multi-platinum singer/songwriter is no stranger to cinema. More than a few films feature her tunes on their soundtracks and Keys was in front of the camera in 2006’s Smokin’ Aces. However, this Sundance is Keys’ debut as a producer. Directed George Tillman Jr. and starring Skylan Brooks, Jeffrey Wright, Jennifer Hudson and Anthony Mackie, the coming of age film could be the start of a whole new career for Keys.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt – Director/Writer, Don Jon’s Addiction He sings, he dances, he starred in The Dark Knight Rises and Looper last year, and now Gordon-Levitt slips into the director’s role on the comedy Don Jon’s Addiction. The actor’s directorial debut, which he also wrote the script for, stars Gordon-Levitt himself as a lady’s man who begins seeking a more fulfilling emotional life. Scarlett Jonansson, Julianne Moore, Brie Larson and Tony Danza co-star in the film.

Related: Sundance: Fleming Q&As Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Dave Grohl – Director/Producer, Sound City - No stranger to movie soundtracks, the Foo Fighters frontman and former Nirvana drummer has now moved into the director’s chair with his debut documentary Sound City.  Debuting early in the Festival, the film is about the famous Van Nuys studio where Nirvana, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Cheap Trick, Guns and Roses and others have recorded. Even before the Festival began, Gravitas Ventures acquired worldwide VOD to Grohl’s movie.

Related: Sundance: Dave Grohl’s ‘Sound City’ Concert Rocks Park City

Julie Delpy/Ethan Hawke – Writers, Before Midnight - This one’s a bit of a cheat because the duo are actually on both sides of the camera at this year’s Sundance. Premiering tonight, the Richard Linklater directed Before Midnight sees Delpy and Hawke return to their roles as Jesse and Celine from 1995’s Before Sunrise and 2004’s Before Sunset. The onscreen duo also retuned to their off screen roles as writers. Like Before Sunset, which was nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay, Delpy and Hawke crafted Before Midnight’s script with Linklater. This year marks the second time the trio have premiered their tale of the perpetually unfulfilled lovers to Sundance –Before Sunrise debuted at the Festival in 1995. Read More »

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Toronto: Roadside Attractions Buys Sarah Polley Doc ‘Stories We Tell’

By | Monday September 10, 2012 @ 1:51pm PDT
Mike Fleming

TORONTO, September 10, 2012 – Roadside Attractions has acquired all U.S. rights to STORIES WE TELL, the latest film from Academy Award® nominated filmmaker Sarah Polley (AWAY FROM HER, TAKE THIS WALTZ) produced by Anita Lee from the National Film Board of Canada. Following the film’s rapturously received screenings this week in Venice, Telluride and Toronto, Roadside plans an early 2013 theatrical release in the States. In STORIES WE TELL, the acclaimed writer/director/actress weaves together a beautifully assembled tapestry of home movies, interviews, and narration to examine the repercussions of long-held family secrets finally coming to light. The deal was negotiated by Roadside Co-President Howard Cohen for Roadside and the National Film Board of Canada’s Christina Rogers on behalf of the filmmakers.

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Hot Trailer: ‘Take This Waltz’

By | Friday May 25, 2012 @ 4:53pm PDT

Michelle Williams, Luke Kirby and Seth Rogen star Take This Waltz, a romantic triangle written and directed by Sarah Polley. From Magnolia Pictures.

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Toronto: Magnolia Acquires Sarah Polley’s ‘Take This Waltz’

Mike Fleming

Magnolia Pictures has acquired U.S. rights to Take This Waltz, the film written and directed by Sarah Polley that stars Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Luke Kirby and Sarah Silverman. The film made its debut as an acquisitions title at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. Williams plays a young woman struggling to choose between her husband and another man she has fallen in love with. The deal was made with TF1 International. Magnolia plans an early summer 2012 theatrical release, and the film will be part of its Ultra VOD program.

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Toronto Recap: No Drunken Spending A Good Sign For Indie Film Resurgence

Mike Fleming

Was the 2011 Toronto Film Festival a good one for dealmaking? Even after organizers announced a 20% uptick in film deals last Friday (the festival includes foreign territories in its count), the sales kept coming. A long-expected deal with Lionsgate on the Jennifer Westfeldt-directed comedy Friends With Kids finally got done (in partnership with Roadside Attractions, which will actually release the film), and Music Box announced overnight it had acquired the Rachel Weisz-starrer The Deep  Blue Sea. Lionsgate was hotly pursuing another film, the Midnight Madness sensation You’re Next, which of all the festival films seems to have the best chance of approaching the box office turned in by Toronto 2010’s breakout Insidious. There have been about 20 acquisitions so far and that many more could come in the next few weeks.

Still, can you call the Toronto acquisitions marketplace “solid” when no films have been bought so far by The Weinstein Company, Sony Pictures Classics, Focus Features, or Fox Searchlight (yeah, I revealed that they bought Shame during Toronto, but it was a deal all but sealed in Venice), or for that matter FilmDistrict, Open Road or Relativity Media, each of which jumped into the distribution business to release films that can play on upwards of 2000 screens? Buyers and sellers said it was a pretty good festival at least. One filled with mostly small deals and a show of distributor discipline that is a positive sign for an indie film sector that just started pulling out of a nosedive this time last year. Read More »

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2011 Toronto: ‘Shame’ Will Start Dealmaking Flurry, But Buyers Wait To Be Blown Away

Mike Fleming

Last year’s Toronto Film Festival started slow for acquisitions, but finished with a flurry of modest distribution deals that served notice the specialty film business had finally pulled out of its nosedive. This year’s festival hasn’t started and already there are fireworks. Deadline broke news yesterday that Harvey Weinstein would start a VOD business, making the acquisitions market for fringe films more competitive; and last night, I heard that a bidding battle had already broken out for the Steve McQueen-directed Shame,  which should be sold by the time it screens Sunday. Fox Searchlight is the favorite, Sony Pictures Classics is in the mix and I’ve heard that The Weinstein Company is hovering. Bidding began right after its Telluride screening, and the mid-six figures thrown around yesterday will probably go higher. That’s huge, considering the movie is an unabashed NC-17, McQueen has final cut, and the sex-obsessed protagonist is unlikable. Oh, yeah, and the sellers want it released this year for Oscar consideration to capitalize on Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan’s Oscar-caliber performances.

Does this mean we’re in for a drunken buying frenzy? Hardly, buyers tell me. They are eager to see the films, but say there’s no title here that’s going to guarantee somebody will overpay. They are also mindful that many of last year’s deals turned out to be box office busts. More deals will be made than … Read More »

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