Sundance Institute tonight presented jury prizes and honorable mentions in short filmmaking at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. The Short Film Grand Jury Prize went to Of God And Dogs, about a Syrian soldier who confesses to killing a man he knew was innocent. This year’s Short Film program comprised 66 short films selected from a record 8,161 submissions. In addition to this evening’s ceremony, other films in other competition categories will be honored Saturday at the Festival’s Awards Ceremony. Those January 25 awards will be hosted by Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally — both of whom have films at Sundance this year. In the meantime, check out the full list of short film winners and honorees here: Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Capping a rocking day for deals at the Sundance Film Festival, IFC Films is closing a deal to acquired God’s Pocket, the directorial debut of Mad Men star John Slattery. The black comedy stars Philip … Read More »
In separate deals that add up to $3.5 million and likely the biggest total so far for a film at the Sundance Film Festival, Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions bought domestic rights, and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions bought the rest of the … Read More »
Lionsgate has officially acquired North American rights to Cooties, the SpectreVision and Glacier Films comedic horror pic that debuted in the Midnight section on Saturday in Park City. The directorial debut of Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion was … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Lone Survivor producer Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films is set to produce and finance Vice, an Andre Fabrizio- and Jeremy Passmore-scripted futuristic action thriller that will star Bruce Willis. The $15 million-budget pic will be distributed by Grindstone/Lionsgate Films. The movie … Read More »
Sony Pictures Classics has released a new action-packed trailer for Gareth Evans‘ martial arts sequel The Raid 2 ahead of its Sundance bow tonight. This is a hot ticket in Park City where the first Raid film screened after making a splashy debut at Toronto in 2011. Iko Uwais reprises his role as Rama, the Jakarta cop who battled his way through a tenement filled with criminals in the first pic only to go undercover in the sequel to uncover the corrupt baddies at the top of the food chain. Arifin Putra, Tio Pakusadewo, Oka Antara, and Julie Estelle join the fray in The Raid 2 which also sees the return of Raid actor/stunt choreographer Yayan Ruhian. SPC releases The Raid 2 on March 28 but they’re not the only studio banking on the Raid team. Yesterday at Sundance RADiUS-TWC pre-bought North American rights to Evans’ next project, The Night Takes Us, to be directed by Timo Tjahjanto (Killers) and produced by Evans with original Raid cast members starring. Read More »
Worry not Fifty Shades Of Grey fans: The movie of the book aims to give you what you want. “We’re very conscious of not making anything gratuitous or exploitive while being faithful to the stories of the book and to the fans of the book,” said producer Michael De Luca this morning at the Sundance Film Festival. “We’re going to give them what they expect, which is an intense and erotic love story,” he added. “Obviously the film can’t be as explicit as the book,” De Luca noted. “A picture is worth a 1000 words. So to be erotic onscreen means I think an image is going to have way more power than reading the words on a page.”
Related: In Michael De Luca’s 1st Deal, Sony Acquires ‘The Director’ For Greengrass & Rudin
The soon to be president of Production for Columbia Pictures (he officially takes the reins March 1) was in Park City for the second annual PGA Breakfast. In a free-ranging discussion with Producers Guild national executive director Van Van Patten, De Luca mainly discussed his career history. But it was on Fifty Shades that things got steamy.
“Not to sound corny, but it is, at its heart, a young love story. I think those things always work,” he said of the blockbuster trilogy of books. “No matter what you think about the book, those things are in that story and they are very cinematic. I think people love a good love story and the these two characters endeared themselves to 90 million readers so it’s hard to say that it didn’t connect on a deeper level than just its more sensationalist aspects, but it was the love story that did it for me.” Read More »
Chris Columbus and Eleanor Columbus’ Maiden Voyage Pictures is joining with Audax Films, Court 13, DCM Productions, Good Lap Productions, Le Grisbi, TideRock Media, and Treehouse Pictures to finance and produce Mediterranea, a feature based on the Venice … Read More »
Just days after the domestic rights to the Zach Braff-directed and Kickstarter-funded Wish I Was Here sold for $2.75 million to Focus Features at the Sundance Film Festival, there’s a new crowd-funding plan making the rounds here in Park City. While his Passion First Funding isn’t up and running yet, Dogfight producer Richard Guay, who has been part of the New York indie scene for years, thinks he’s found a way that people can actually see some financial return for contributing to future projects like Braff’s movie. “It’s going to bring traditional financing and the power of the crowd together,” he told me today. The idea comes out of aspects of the 2012 Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act that permit general solicitation of accredited investors. The act was intended for startups in general, of which film is but a niche, but in this case people putting money in to a project seeking crowd-funding won’t just be getting a signed poster or set visit but they could actually make their money back as well as profits. Read More »
UPDATE, 4:34 PM: A24 has made its deal for the comedy official. Check out the release after the original break.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, 3:54 PM: In the second big deal of the Sundance Film Festival, A24 has acquired Obvious Child. Written and directed by Gillian Robespierre, the film stars Jenny Slate as a Brooklyn comedian who gets dumped, fired and pregnant just in time for the most chaotic Valentine’s Day of her life. The film also stars Jake Lacy, David Cross and Gabby Hoffman. Elisabeth Holm is the producer. WME Global brokered the sale for the movie, which premiered Friday at the Prospector. The deal was for low seven figures.
A24 was expected to be a strong buyer here at Sundance and it hasn’t disappointed. This is its second deal after acquiring the Lynn Shelton-directed Laggies. Hopefully, this will break the logjam for acquisition deals. Several films are in play, including the Midnight title Cooties, which has Lionsgate and several others in hot pursuit. Read More »
No deal is done but Lionsgate looks to be the front-runner to snag comedic fright flick Cooties at the Sundance Film Festival. Sources say negotiations on the film starring Elijah Wood and Rainn Wilson are ongoing. Cooties premiered on … Read More »
UPDATE, 2 PM: Fox Searchlight just confirmed it has acquired worldwide rights to I Origins. Full release follows after the original break.
PREVIOUS, EXCLUSIVE, 9:30 AM: I hear Fox Searchlight is the frontrunner to make a world rights deal on I, Origins, the science fiction film written and directed by Mike Cahill. I’m hearing the deal closed at around $3 million, but I’m waiting to confirm. The film premiered Saturday at the Eccles Theater; it will be released domestically by Fox Searchlight. It stars Michael Pitt and Brit Marling, and Cahill and Pitt produced it with Hunter Gray and Alex Orlovsky. It focuses on a group of biologists who make a discovery that has far-reaching consequences. Fox Searchlight did the domestic on Cahill’s last film with Marling, Another Earth, and Fox released in some foreign territories. WME Global brokered the deal.
PARK CITY, UT January 20, 2014 – Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley announced today that the company has acquired worldwide rights to the existential drama I ORIGINS. Directed and written by Mike Cahill, I ORIGINS is his second feature following ANOTHER EARTH which Fox Searchlight acquired at Sundance in 2011. The film stars Michael Pitt, Brit Marling, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Steven Yeun and Archie Panjabi with Cahill, Hunter Gray and Alex Orlovsky serving as producers. The film is scheduled to be released in 2014.
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Maybe they should’ve just avoided the topic altogether. Failure took on a very real form today at the Sundance Film Festival’s Free Fail series. A video clip of financier and Open Society Foundations founder George Soros failed to appear onscreen about 15 minutes into the heavily attended panel at Park City’s Egyptian Theater. After the clip was set up by Open Society president Chris Stone, the panel — which included festival founder Robert Redford, director and Sundance alumni Jill Soloway, creativity researcher Charles Limb, and author Dave Eggers — all turned to look at the screen. Nothing showed up. After nearly 20 seconds, with the panelists looking off-stage and Sundance staff running up and down the side aisles, the lights went up and the discussion went on sans clip.
Related: Sundance: Documentary Program Gets $5M Grant From George Soros’ Foundation
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EXCLUSIVE: OK, so it’s been a slow go at least so far for Sundance deals so far. But here’s an intriguing pre-buy that has its roots in the festival. RADiUS-TWC has acquired North American rights to The Night Comes For Us, an action thriller that is directed by Timo Tjahjanto, whose film Killers is playing Sundance and is produced by The Raid: Redemption director Gareth Evans. Evans, whose sequel The Raid: Berandal is unveiling at Sundance through Sony Pictures Classics, will handle action direction in the film. It’s set to premiere tomorrow night. The film also brings back the stars of The Raid: Redemption, as martial artist Iko Uwais is choreographing the action mayhem and Taslim and Yayan Ruhian are starring. The film will be released in 2015.
Taslim plays a mobster who returns to his local crime family in Jakarta only to find himself trapped in a word of betrayal and chaos. Evans will produce alongside Maya Barack Evans of PT Merantau Films and XYZ Films’ Nate Bolotin, Aram Tertzakian, Nick Spicer and Todd Brown. Read More »
There are plenty of people working on more than one movie at the Sundance Film Festival this year, but only one musical act pulled double duty Sunday. On a packed party night in Park City, Damon Albarn played a 5-song set at the Sundance Channel HQ in the evening in front of Maggie Gyllenhaal and more. He then hustled down the block to the YouTube On Main Street storefront for a slightly longer show in front of 150 guests at 11 PM. At the two invite-only SRO events, the Blur and Gorillaz frontman performed ballads from both his bands and his upcoming solo album. In both gigs, a string quartet and a keyboardist backed up Albarn, who played acoustic guitar.
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“I think I am so fortunate to have had one of the greatest love stories,” Chaz Ebert emotionally told the crowd tonight at the Sundance Film Festival world premiere screening of the biographical documentary about her late … Read More »
On Eve Of MLK Day, Will Adultery Keep Epic Dr. King Movie Off The Big Screen?
By Mike Fleming Jr. – Oliver Stone has run smack into the same wall on a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr biopic that director Paul Greengrass hit when Universal kicked his MLK project Memphis to the curb two years back. Read More »
UPDATED 9:49 PM: Focus has sent out a release about its acquisition of Zach Braff’s pic. Read it below.
PREVIOUS: Focus Features is getting on the board here at Sundance, just closing a distribution rights deal to Wish I Was Here, the film which Zach Braff wrote and directed, and stars as a father struggling to home school his kids. Braff stars with Mandy Patinkin, Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Jim Parsons, Ashley Greene, Pierce Gagnon and Joey King. The deal is $2.75 million for a theatrical release over 500 screens, and generous P&A to support it. There is also a strong back end.
Related: Zach Braff On ‘Wish I Was Here’ Kickstarter Campaign, His Critics & Industry Change
Interest in this one kick-started right after the film debuted Saturday night at the MARC. It came in as one of the high profile pics at Sundance, by merit of the Kickstarter crowd funding campaign undertaken by Braff and his producers, Stacey Sher, Michael Shamberg and Adam J. Braff. The film was repped by CAA with Wild Bunch. Kickstarter and Worldview financed the film.
It’s the first major acquisition since Peter Schlessel took over the shingle.
Related: Zach Braff’s ‘Wish I Was Here’ Kickstarter Hits $2 Million Goal In 3 Days
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