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Mike Fleming Q&As Harvey Weinstein: On Oscars, Sundance, Obama, And Getting The Web To Pay Up For Borrowed Content

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Last Monday, after a trade report had him skipping Park City for the D.C. inauguration, Harvey Weinstein met me in Sundance for what has become an annual sit down lunch. He and his COO David Glasser looked as tired as I felt—they brokered and I covered an all-night negotiation for Fruitvale, a film that went on to win all the big festival prizes. A fixture at Sundance since turning the festival into a lucrative marketplace with Steven Soderbergh’s crossover success sex, lies & videotape, Weinstein is as busy right now as a one-armed wallpaper hanger.

Beyond his D.C. stature, Weinstein owns the last two Best Picture Oscars with The King’s Speech and The Artist, and he’s got Silver Linings Playbook and Django Unchainedin this year’s wide-open race. He’s making a fortune on a film he didn’t release–The Hobbit–because he made five points of first dollar gross the price for allowing Peter Jackson shop The Lord of the Rings and subsequent Tolkien films elsewhere when Michael Eisner refused to let Weinstein make them at Miramax. The Hobbit is closing in on $1 billion in worldwide gross. If all that isn’t enough, Harvey recently learned that he and his fashion designer wife, Georgina Chapman, are now expecting their second child together (that will make five children for the mogul). In between all that chaos, Weinstein took an hour to discuss politics, Sundance and of course the Oscars. … Read More »

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Sundance: Phase 4 Films Acquires ‘Milkshake’

By | Monday January 28, 2013 @ 1:11pm PST
Mike Fleming

These small Sundance deals continue trickling in. Phase 4 Films acquired Milkshake, the David Andalman/Mariko Munro-directed dark comedy that played in the festival’s NEXT Program. Cinetic Media sold it.

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Sundance: Participant Media Acquires Occupy Wall Street Docu ’99%’

Mike Fleming

January 28, 2013 – Los Angeles, CA – Participant Media has acquired North American rights to Audrey Ewell & Aaron Aites’ documentary 99%–The Occupy Wall St. Collaborative Film, directed by Ewell & Aites, along with Lucian Read and Nina Krstic, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last week. Following its theatrical run, the film will have its world television premiere on Participant’s new TV channel targeting millennials, scheduled to launch in August.

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Sundance: 108 Media/Paladin Genuflects To ‘Valley Of Saints’

By | Monday January 28, 2013 @ 9:35am PST
Mike Fleming

NEW YORK, NY (January 28, 2013) – While looking to expand its burgeoning slate from this year’s Sundance offerings, the 108 Media/Paladin partnership has just snared one of the most honored and acclaimed films from last year’s event, having acquired worldwide rights to Musa Syeed’s VALLEY OF SAINTS, it was announced by 108 Media CEO Abhi Rastogi and Paladin president Mark Urman. The film, which premiered in the World Cinema Competition at Sundance 2012, garnered both the Audience Award for Best Film as well as the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Feature Film Prize, and has since gone on to play over 50 major domestic and international festivals to universal acclaim. Most recently it was nominated for a Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography. 108 Media will begin selling foreign rights to VALLEY OF SAINTS in Berlin at next month’s European Film Market, with plans to take the film out in North America this summer.

Set on Dal Lake in Kashmir, one of the world’s most idyllic settings despite the area’s political unrest, VALLEY OF SAINTS tells the story of Gulzar, a young man who earns his living ferrying tourists around the lake but who himself has never left his remote village. When he makes plans to flee to the big city, a sudden curfew suspends all travel and he is trapped, literally as well as figuratively, at the lake. When a beautiful young scientist, Asifa, arrives to study the creeping effects of pollution on the local waters, she hires

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Sundance: Monterey Media Acquires ‘I Used To Be Darker’

By | Sunday January 27, 2013 @ 11:59am PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: The Sundance Film Festival ended yesterday, but there will be a flood of deals that continue for the next few weeks, leading into Berlin. Monterey Media has acquired I Used To Be Darker, the third film by rising writer/director Matthew Porterfield. The deal comes as the filmmaker prepares for the film to be featured in the Forum section of the Berlin festival next month. Porterfield previously directed Hamilton and Putty Hill. (Full press release follows below.)

Related: Sundance Awards 2013: ‘Fruitvale’ & ‘Blood Brother’ Win Grand Jury

Porterfield wrote the script with Amy Belk and the film stars Deragh Campbell, Hannah Gross, Kim Taylor, Ned Oldham, Geoff Grace and Nick Petr. It premiered Saturday at the Yarrow Hotel Theatre, and focused on a runaway who seeks refuge with her aunt and uncle in Baltimore. There she finds their marriage is ending and her cousin is in crisis. In the days that follow, the family struggles to let go while searching for things to sustain them.

Monterey Media’s Scott Mansfield and Paradigm’s Nick LoPiccolo and Ben Weiss brokered the deal. Monterey Media picked up Keyhole at Toronto and released the Monte Hellman-directed Road to Nowhere.

January 27, 2013 – Sundance Film Festival premiere I Used To Be Darker has been acquired by monterey media for U.S. & Canada distribution. Negotiated by monterey media’s Scott Mansfield with Nick LoPiccolo and Ben Weiss of

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Sundance Awards 2013: ‘Fruitvale’ & ‘Blood Brother’ Win Grand Jury; Dramatic Directing Goes To Jill Soloway Of ‘Afternoon Delight’

Fruitvale and Blood Brother were the big winners tonight at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival Awards. Fruitvale, about the fatal shooting of 22-year old Oscar Grant on San Francisco’s BART by security guards in 2009, won both the Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Dramatic and the U.S. Dramatic Audience Award. “This will not be the last time you guys walked to a podium,” said former Fox Filmed Entertainment Co-Chair Tom Rothman as he gave the Grand Jury Prize to the Fruitvale filmmakers. The documentary Blood Brother also had a double win tonight. It took home the Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Documentary and the Audience Award for U.S. Documentary. Jill Soloway won the Directing Award for U.S. Dramatic for Afternoon Delight and Zachary Heinzerling took the Directing Award for U.S. Documentary for Cutie And The Boxer. The fast-paced ceremony was hosted by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who had his own directorial feature debut Don Jon’s Addiction premiere at this year’s Festival and was picked up by Relativity Media for a summer release.  Check out the full list of tonight’s winners:

U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Award

Fruitvale / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Ryan Coogler) — The true story of Oscar, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family and strangers on the last day of 2008. Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, Melonie Diaz, Ahna O’Reilly, Kevin Durand, Chad Michael Murray.

A very emotional director Ryan Coogler gave … Read More »

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Sundance: Radius-TWC Acquires ‘Cutie And The Boxer’

By | Saturday January 26, 2013 @ 7:30pm PST

Hot off director Zachery Heinzerling’s U.S. Documentary Directing win tonight at this year’s Sundance Film Festival Awards, Cutie and the Boxer has been picked up in North America and France by Radius–TWC. Check out the release below:

Park City, Utah – January 26, 2013: RADiUS – TWC proudly announced today that it has acquired North American and French rights to the U.S. Documentary Directing Award Winner CUTIE AND THE BOXER one of the best-reviewed films at the Festival that premiered in the U.S. Documentary Competition.
Directed by first-time feature filmmaker Zachary Heinzerling, CUTIE AND THE BOXER is a soulful and unsentimental exploration of life and art via the 40-year love story of Ushio and Noriko Shinohara, two Japanese artists who met and married in New York in the early 1970s.

The film was produced by Lydia Dean Pilcher, Patrick Burns and Sierra Pettengill.  Kiki Miyake is the executive producer.  David Teague is the editor and Yasuaki Shimizu is the composer.

RADiUS has slated a 2013 release.

As a rowdy young Neo-Dadaist artist in Tokyo, Ushio yearned for international recognition, so in 1969 he set sail for New York City.  Nineteen-year-old Noriko came to New York to study art, where she met and fell in love with Ushio, 21 years her senior.  Putting her own artistic ambitions on hold, Noriko dedicated herself to supporting her husband’s career.  Over the course of their marriage, the roles of assistant and artist have slowly

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Sundance: Oscilloscope Acquires Andrew Dosunmu’s ‘Mother Of George’

(New York, NY) January 26, 2013-Oscilloscope Laboratories announced today that it has acquired North American rights to Andrew Dosunmu’s MOTHER OF GEORGE. The film made its world premiere this past week as part of the U.S. Dramatic Competition in Sundance, to widespread critical acclaim and enthusiastic audience response.

In the poetic and moving MOTHER OF GEORGE, Adenike (Danai Gurira) weds the charismatic Ayodele (Isaach De Bankolé), the owner of a small Nigerian restaurant in Brooklyn. Their traditional wedding culminates in a ceremony where Adenike is named for her yet-to-be-conceived son, George. But as the months pass without pregnancy, Adenike faces uncomfortable and unfamiliar choices in her desperate struggle to save her marriage. The film stars THE WALKING DEAD’s Gurira in the title role and veteran actor De Bankolé as her husband, and co-stars Yaya Alafia and Tony Okungbowa. This is Dosunmu’s second feature, following his critically heralded 2011 debut RESTLESS CITY.

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Sundance: ‘Spectacled Tiger’s Kentaro Hagiwara Nabs International Award

By | Saturday January 26, 2013 @ 12:22pm PST

Park City, UT — Sundance Institute and NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) have announced Kentaro Hagiwara, director of the upcoming film, Spectacled Tiger, as winner of the 2013 Sundance/NHK International Filmmaker Award. The award was presented at a private ceremony at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

Created in 1996 to celebrate 100 years of cinema, the annual award recognizes and supports a visionary filmmaker on his or her next film. Sundance Institute staff works closely with the winner throughout the year, providing creative and strategic support through the development, financing and production of their films.

Films previously supported by this award include Beasts of the Southern Wild, by Benh Zeitlin, and May in the Summer, by Cherien Dabis, which had its world premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

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Sundance: Screenwriters Lab Alumni ‘Ad Inexplorata’ Heading Into Production

By | Friday January 25, 2013 @ 5:34pm PST

EXCLUSIVE: Another script developed at the Sundance Institute’s Screenwriters Lab is being made into a movie. TideRock Media and Taggart Productions  said today that they’re taking Mark Elijah Rosenberg’s feature debut Ad Inexplorata into production this summer. The film, which Rosenberg will also direct, is about an American astronaut on a one-way mission to Mars. The project also received support from Creative Capital, San Francisco Film Society and the Indian Paintbrush Fellowship. Josh Penn, Matthew Parker, Jason Michael Berman and Thomas B. Fore will produce Ad Inexplorata. Penn and Parker were producers on Beasts Of The Southern Wild, which was one of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival’s breakout films and is now up for multiple Academy Awards including Best Picture. Parker also produced Mother Of George, which was at this year’s Festival. Berman and Fore produced LUV, which played during last year’s Sundance. Michael Nardelli will serve as executive producer.

Related: ‘Beasts Of The Southern Wild’ Back in Theaters Friday For Oscar Push
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Sundance: Phase 4 Lands ‘Newlyweeds’

By | Friday January 25, 2013 @ 2:54pm PST
Mike Fleming

PARK CITY, UT, January 25 – Berry Meyerowitz, President & CEO of Phase 4 Films, announced today that the Company has acquired all North American rights to NEWLYWEEDS, the debut feature written and directed by Shaka King. Produced by Jim Wareck, Michael Mathews, Shaka King and Gbenga Akinnagbe, with Andy Sawyer and Neil Katz serving as executive producers, NEWLYWEEDS just enjoyed its world premiere in the NEXTsection of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, which concludes this weekend.

Phase 4 is planning a day and date theatrical and VOD release for the movie this summer. The deal was negotiated by Phase 4’s Larry Greenberg and Katharyn Howe with Glen Reynolds of Circus Road Films on behalf of the filmmakers.

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Sundance Update: Well After Midnight, Sony Pictures Classics Closes ‘Before Midnight’

Mike Fleming

UPDATE, 12 PM: Sony Pictures Classics has confirmed Deadline’s Sundance scoop that it acquired North American and UK rights to Before Midnight, the Richard Linklater-directed film that captivated fest audiences and continues the relationship between characters played by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy as the travel the world. The official release appears at the bottom of the original exclusive break.

EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, 10:52 AM: I hear Sony Pictures Classics has closed a Sundance deal for Before Midnight, the third installment of the Richard Linklater-directed series that began with 1995′s Before Sunrise and continued with 2004′s Before Sunset. You don’t get many trilogies at Sundance, but this one premiered to raves last Sunday at Eccles Theatre in the Premiere category, and seven buyers have slowly been nipping at it ever since when they haven’t been distracted by the other auctions. This deal is well into seven-figures for North America and multiple territories including the UK, I hear. It shapes up as one of the big deals of the fest. SPC partners Michael Barker and Tom Bernard also bought Kill Your Darlings and Austenland (which was bought by Sony Worldwide Acquisitions), so it was a most productive festival for them. Read More »

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Sundance: QED Picks Up ‘Toy’s House’ International Rights

By | Friday January 25, 2013 @ 10:52am PST

Three days after CBS Films acquired domestic rights to Toy’s House at the Sundance Film Festival, QED International has scooped up non-North American rights to the coming-of-age comedy. It’s the first deal for John Hegeman, the former New Regency marketing boss who was appointed QED’s president of worldwide marketing and acquisitions just ahead of Sundance. Park City was his first task with the new title. Here’s today’s release on Toy’s House:

LOS ANGELES (January 25, 2013)  – QED International has acquired international distribution rights to TOY’S HOUSE, it was announced today by Worldwide President of Marketing and Acquisitions John Hegeman. Under the agreement, QED will distribute TOY’S HOUSE in all markets outside North America. The film premiered to rave reviews at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and has just been picked up for US distribution by CBS Films which is eyeing a 2013 release date.

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Sundance: IFC Closes Big Deal For ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’

Mike Fleming

2ND UPDATE: IFC has finally confirmed this deal. Here’s the release, at the bottom of Deadline’s break on the deal.

UPDATE, 3:35 AM: It was easier for Deadline to splash an exclusive about the Ain’t Them Bodies Saints deal last night than it was for Sundance dealmakers to paper it. But Cassian Elwes and WME Global’s Graham Taylor and Alexis Garcia finally closed with IFC FilmsArianna Bocco at 3 AM Los Angeles time, for a bit more than $1 million for U.S. rights. That means the reps will hold a mini-auction for Canadian rights — after they take a nap. I heard this morning from Elwes, who said Saints will benefit from a multi-platform strategy that the dealmaker/producer road-tested with Margin Call, and which he feels is a major reason the indie market is reinvigorated.

On this deal, Elwes had his original flight canceled and had to take another back to L.A. They negotiated until he had to shut off his cell phone, and then continued when he landed. Plane rides factored into the festival more than once, as Wednesday (at 3:36 AM West Coast time), WME Global closed a deal with eOne for the cannibal tale We Are What We Are. I’d heard that the agents were on the same flight with the eOne team, and they were going back and forth — and getting testy at times but not enough where they had to be duct-taped to their seats — on the way back to LA from Park City. By the time they landed, they were all smiling, and probably papered the deal with a Delta cocktail napkin for a platform theatrical release. When I asked Elwes why, like vampires, Sundance sellers and buyers only seem to get anything done between nightfall and dawn, he said: “Unfortunately, you watch the movies during the day and the only time to make a deal is when most people are asleep.” A few more deals and then these agents and buyers all deserve a long winter’s nap when this festival ends, as do the insomniac journalists who stalk them into the wee hours. Read More »

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Sundance: Slamdance Awards Winners

By | Thursday January 24, 2013 @ 9:35pm PST

As the Sundance Film Festival continues in Park City, Slamdance ended tonight with its awards ceremony. The 19th annual festival handed out jury awards for Short Film, Animation, Feature Documentary, Short Documentary and Narrative Feature. They also gave out Audience Awards for Feature Documentary and Feature Narrative. The festival gave sponsored awards and the Filmmaker Award for Spirit of Slamdance. This year’s Slamdance ran from January 18 to today. Check out the 2013 winners below:

AUDIENCE AWARDS

Audience Award for Feature Documentary: MY NAME IS FAITH by Jason Banker, Jorge Torres-Torres, Tiffany Sudela-Junker

Audience Award for Feature Narrative: HANK AND ASHA by James E. Duff

GRAND JURY AWARDS – NARRATIVE

This year’s Slamdance Narrative Grand Jury Prizes were selected by the esteemed panel of industry members Nancy Schafer, Meira Blaustein and Chris Gore.

Grand Jury Sparky Award for Feature Narrative: THE DIRTIES by Matt Johnson. “Terrifyingly timely and brutally honest, ‘The Dirties’ uses film references to the extreme as dreams of youth and intense growing pains collide.”

Special Mention: JOY DE V., by Nadia Szold. “Filled with humor, flawless characters and performances and a highly developed visual style, ‘Joy de V’ is a film that signals the arrival of a powerful new filmmaking talent.”

GRAND JURY AWARDS – DOCUMENTARY

This year’s Slamdance Documentary Grand Jury Prizes were selected by the esteemed panel of industry members Daniel J. Harris, Brian Knappenberger, and Dan Schoenbrun.

Grand Jury Sparky Award for Feature Documentary: BIBLE QUIZ by Nicole Teeny. “Director Nicole Teeny’s careful storytelling and her subject’s passion, angst, and youthful uncertainty are captured with universal empathy.”

Grand Jury Sparky Award for Short Documentary: THE BIRDMAN by Jessie Auritt. “We felt this slice-of-life portrait said a lot about the economy and changing way of life in a New York City neighborhood.”

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Sundance: Magnolia Headed Toward ‘S-VHS’ Deal

By | Thursday January 24, 2013 @ 11:24am PST
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Magnolia Pictures is wrapping up a deal worth north of $1 million for S-VHS, after an auction that included Lionsgate and Drafthouse. The deal beats the sum for the first film VHS, which Magnolia also released. The film, which premiered Saturday in Sundance‘s Park City At Midnight section, is a found-footage pic where two private investigators looking for a missing student break into an abandoned house and find a collection of mysterious VHS tapes. They are horrific and shine a light on the motives behind the student’s disappearance. There is a gangbang of directors on this one: Simon Barrett, Adam Wingard, Eduardo Sanchez, Gregg Hale, Timo Tjahjanto, Gareth Huw Evans and Jason Eisener wrote and directed the pic. WME Global‘s Mark Ankner conducted the auction.

Related: Sundance: Magnolia Pictures Acquires ‘Prince Avalanche’

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Sundance: Content Acquires Foreign On ‘Concussion’, Will Sell At Berlin

By | Thursday January 24, 2013 @ 8:36am PST
Mike Fleming

These Sundance films keep raking it in. Content has acquired foreign rights to Concussion, a drama about a fortysomething wealthy, married, lesbian housewife who gets beaned by a baseball and strangely reflects on a life that she realizes is wanting and leads her to lead a secret life on the side. As Deadline revealed late Monday evening, Radius-TWC spent a 7-figure sum for North American rights, for a multi-platform release in a deal brokered by Paradigm. Here’s the Content release: Read More »

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Sundance Update: Radius-TWC Buys ‘Inequality For All’

By | Wednesday January 23, 2013 @ 11:42am PST
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: The Weinstein Company’s Radius-TWC label has acquired Inequality For All, which is playing in the U.S. Competition at Sundance. It’s the fourth pickup in Park City for Radius, which overnight nailed down Lovelace starring Amanda Seyfried and also acquired Twenty Feet From Stardom and Concussion here.

In Inequality, noted economic policy director Robert Reich distills the topic of widening income inequality and addresses the question of what effects this increasing gap has on our economy and our democracy. Inequality premiered Saturday at the Prospector Square Park Theatre and bidding went on all night with several suitors before TWC emerged in an exclusive negotiation this morning. The plan is to release the Jacob Kornbluth-directed pic in summer 2013. Producers are Jen Chaiken and Sebastian Dungan of 72 Productions. Read More »

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Sundance: Magnolia Pictures Acquires ‘Prince Avalanche’

By | Wednesday January 23, 2013 @ 9:49am PST
Mike Fleming

Park City, UT – January 23, 2013 – The Wagner/Cuban Company’s Magnolia Pictures announced today that they have acquired North American rights to PRINCE AVALANCHE after its rapturously received Sunday premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. The new film from writer/director David Gordon Green, PRINCE AVALANCHE stars Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch, and was produced by Lisa Muskat, Derrick Tseng, Craig Zobel (director of Magnolia’s 2012 release Compliance), James Belfer and David Gordon Green.

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