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IFC Acquires Kristen Stewart Guantanamo Bay Pic ‘Camp X-Ray’

By | Thursday February 6, 2014 @ 9:32am PST
Mike Fleming

Camp X-RayIFC Films took North American rights to Peter Sattler’s directorial debut film Camp X-Ray, which made its debut at Sundance. Pic stars Kristen Stewart, Payman Maadi and Lane Garrison, and was produced by Gina Kwon, and executive produced by Emmy Ellison, Lindsay Williams, Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, David Gordon Green and Sophia Lin. Stewart plays a soldier who gets assigned guard duty at Guantanamo Bay, where she strikes up a friendship with a detainee.

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Sundance: ‘Nymphomaniac Part 1′ Is Tonight’s Mystery Screening

By | Tuesday January 21, 2014 @ 8:17pm PST

Sundance2014_badge__140109214059__140116020608nymphomaniacThe rumor is true: Nymphomaniac Part 1, The first salvo in Danish provocateur Lars von Trier‘s epic sex-o-rama, has been revealed as the surprise film showing tonight at Sundance. The most internationally anticipated film to come out of Denmark this year, the Magnolia pic will hit North American theaters March 21 after premiering on-demand March 6. Nymphomaniac Part 2 comes hither April 18 following an April 3 VOD release. An uncut version will have its world premiere out of competition at next month’s Berlin International Film Festival. The pic — a two-part, four-hour version of which bowed on Christmas Day in Denmark — was met with praise from local reviewers and scored a co-leading six nominations for the Bodil Prize, the country’s film awards. Then there was that O-rific and unforgettable — read: can’t be unseen once seen — poster the Danish film critics association posed for to plug the Bodils.

Related: Hot Trailer: Lars von Trier’s ‘Nymphomaniac’

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Sundance: Sundance Institute Reveals Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award Recipients

By | Tuesday January 21, 2014 @ 5:15pm PST

Sundance Institute logoPARK CITY, UT — Sundance Institute and Mahindra today announced the winners of the 2014 Sundance Institute |Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award, in recognition and support of emerging independent filmmakers from around the world. The winning directors and projects are Hong Khaou, MONSOON from Vietnam/UK; Tobias Lindholm, A WAR from Denmark; Ashlee Page, ARCHIVE from Australia; and Neeraj Ghaywan, FLY AWAY SOLO from India.

The awards were presented at a private ceremony at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, currently underway in Park City, Utah.

Now in its fourth year, the Sundance Institute | Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award is part of a multifaceted collaboration that exemplifies a commitment to and support of world cinema by the Mahindra Group, one of the largest industrial conglomerates in India known throughout the world for its dedication to excellence and to social responsibility, and the nonprofit Sundance Institute, one of the world’s leading cultural organizations.

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Sundance: Sundance Institute Pulls Back Curtain On Global Short-Film Challenge

By | Tuesday January 21, 2014 @ 4:15pm PST

sundance-headerPark City, UT — Sundance Institute, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, today announced a new project that will harness the power of independent film to create a global conversation about extreme hunger and poverty. The Sundance Institute Short Film Challenge will spur the production of documentary and narrative films – through a global open call for three-to-eight-minute submissions – that will celebrate imaginative solutions real people are creating to overcome the challenges of extreme hunger and poverty.

The project supports Sundance Institute’s mission to empower independent storytellers and connect their work to communities around. The Institute is working with to manage the online call for entries. Winning films will receive a $10,000 grant and premiere at a private event at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. Users can submit through July 1, 2014. There is no fee to apply. More information can be found at

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Sundance: Joseph Gordon-Levitt and ‘HITRECORD’ Cohorts Pivot Into First Look Deal With Participant

By | Sunday January 19, 2014 @ 2:57pm PST
Mike Fleming

jg;lEXCLUSIVE: Just after previewing the first three episodes of his TV series HITRECORD ON TV, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his HITRECORD exec producer Jared Geller have set a first-look deal with Participant Media and its youth-centric TV station Pivot. This comes after the show Gordon-Levitt created got an 8-episode order for a second season. The series debuted yesterday on the upstart Pivot cable channel, for which Gordon-Levitt also is a creative adviser.

Sundance2014_badge__140109214059__140116020608Said Pivot President Evan Shapiro: “Joe is the kind of artist we envisioned when we created Pivot. He is a director, actor, writer and disruptor who understands how to use every form of media to engage our audience.”

It’s only the second time that a TV series was featured on the Sundance program, but this series is directly intertwined with the festival. I watched the first episode and noticed a stylistic symmetry to other anthology shows, most particularly Sesame Street, which Gordon-Levitt allowed was one of the references for how to string together disparate segments for a variety show that stresses global subject matter and involves a worldwide audience on the web. Perhaps that intention was best underscored with the musical number that closes the first episode, which was devoted to the word “one.” The song is grounded by Gordon-Levitt’s own musical chops — watch the trailer below and it’s understandable why he’s mentioned for Fox’s Guys and Dolls redo — but the song was a much bigger undertaking in that it features songwriting and singing from participants from all over the world. (Watch the song performance below). Read More »

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Sundance: Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Nabs International Rights To Fest Opener ‘Whiplash’

By | Thursday January 16, 2014 @ 9:06pm PST

whipl__140117002425Park City, UT (January 16, 2014) – Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA) has acquired rights to several international territories to this year’s 2014 Sundance Film Festival opening night feature film, WHIPLASH, starring J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller. Territories acquired include: UK, Scandinavia, Benelux, Eastern Europe (ex CIS), Greece, South Africa, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Latin America.

Related: Fleming On 2014 Sundance Forecast: Thriving Indie Biz Makes Appetite Strong; Un-Commercial Slate Could Limit Big Deals

Sundance2014_badge__140109214059__140116020608The deal was made by SPWA’s Michael Helfand, Jon Freedberg and Chan Phung and international sales agency Sierra/Affinity on behalf of Bold Films. Directed and written by Damien Chazelle (Guy And Madeline On A Park Bench), WHIPLASH is adapted from a short film that won Sundance’s jury award for fiction in 2013 (also written and directed by Chazelle). Producers are Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, Michel Litvak and David Lancaster; with Jason Reitman, Gary Michael Walters and Couper Samuelson executive producing. Bold Films financed the movie.

Related: 2014 Sundance: Fest Films With Highest Wanna-See From Buyers

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Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor Board ‘Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter’ As Exec Producers Ahead Of Sundance Debut

By | Tuesday January 14, 2014 @ 9:00am PST

Ad Hominem's Jim Taylor, Jim Burke, Alexander PayneEXCLUSIVE: Nebraska helmer Alexander Payne and his Sideways co-writer Jim Taylor are prospecting for indie gold with upcoming Sundance entry Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter, the latest film from Park City returner David Zellner (Goliath, Kid-Thing). Oscar-nominated Rinko Kikuchi (Babel, Pacific Rim, 47 Ronin) stars in the psychological adventure as a lonely Japanese woman who believes a pile of loot buried in the movie Fargo is real and sets out on a quest to Minnesota to find it. Zellner and brother Nathan scripted and also co-star in the film, which was inspired by the true story turned urban legend surrounding a Japanese office worker named Takako Konishi, who made headlines in 2001 and was the subject of 2003 docu This is a True Story. Kumiko is the Zellner Bros.’ follow-up to their 2012 film Kid-Thing, a Sundance/Berlin/SXSW title that also explored the disconnect between real life and fantasy machinations in the mind of a socially isolated female protagonist. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Two Mothers’

By | Friday February 15, 2013 @ 2:23am PST

Exclusive Media-owned Exclusive Releasing acquired U.S., UK and CIS rights to Anne Fontaine’s drama Two Mothers at Sundance in January. The story revolves around the passionate affairs of two lifelong friends who fall in love with one another’s sons. Oscar-winning screenwriter Christopher Hampton penned the adaptation of Doris Lessing’s short story that stars Naomi Watts, Robin Wright, Xavier Samuel and James Frecheville. French major Gaumont, which backed the film, has dropped a trailer with the tweaked title Perfect Mothers. It releases in France on April 3. Exclusive has said the movie will go day-and-date.

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Sundance: Cinedigm Acquires Rights To Shaul Schwarz’s Docu ‘Narco Cultura’

By | Wednesday January 30, 2013 @ 5:20pm PST

LOS ANGELES, CA (January 30, 2013) – Cinedigm has acquired North American distribution rights to Israeli photographer and filmmaker Shaul Schwarz’s NARCO CULTURA, which world premiered last week at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in the Documentary Competition section. The film was produced by Parts & Labor’s Lars Knudsen and Jay Van Hoy and Ocean Size Pictures’ Todd Hagopian; executive produced by Fred Warren and Robin Warren; and edited by Bryan Chang and Jay Arthur Sterrenberg. It will next screen at the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival in the Panorama section. Cinedigm plans a theatrical release and awards qualifying run for the film in 2013.

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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: ‘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: Radius-TWC Closes Deal On ‘Concussion’

By | Monday January 21, 2013 @ 7:50pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Radius-TWC has just closed what I’m told is a low 7-figure deal for 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. It’ll get a multi-platform release in a deal brokered by Paradigm. IFC and Magnolia also chased.

Here is the official announcement from Radius-TWC, which just confirmed Deadline’s scoop.

RADiUS – TWC proudly announced tonight that it
has acquired North American rights to CONCUSSION, one of the most provocative
and well received films at this year’s Festival that is drawing endless
comparisons to BELLE DE JOUR.

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Sundance: Looks Like Another Late Night

By | Monday January 21, 2013 @ 5:35pm PST
Mike Fleming

The films The Way, Way Back played strongly at Eccles, and tonight is The Necessary Death Of Charlie Countryman. Sounds like another late night for buyers, sellers and the journos who stalk them. Negotiations continue on Austenland, but not with original first position suitors FilmDistrict and Exclusive Media. There was never an exclusive negotiation on this, but the sellers will make a different deal. There is also action on the Richard Linklater-directed Before Midnight, with Lionsgate sweet on it, among a bunch of other distributors, which is remarkable for the third leg of this classy trilogy, with no explosions to speak of.

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Sundance: Anchor Bay Acquires ‘The Rambler’

By | Thursday January 17, 2013 @ 6:01pm PST
Mike Fleming

PARK CITY, UT – Anchor Bay Films kicks off the 2013 Sundance Film Festival with the pick-up of The Rambler starring Dermot Mulroney (My Best Friend’s Wedding, The Grey). Written and directed by Calvin Lee Reeder, the film is set to premiere on Monday, January 21st (11:59pm) during Park City at Midnight. The agreement covers theatrical, home entertainment, television and digital distribution rights in the North America, the U.K. and Australia. Today’s announcement was made by Anchor Bay Entertainment’s President Bill Clark.

“Anchor Bay is the perfect partner for Calvin’s film The Rambler,” stated Kevin Kasha, Executive Vice President, Acquisitions and Co-Productions. “It has all the elements that our fans truly love and we look forward to working with Calvin.”

XYZ Films’ (“The Raid”) co-founder Nate Bolotin produced alongside Brooklyn Reptyle Films’ Roger M. Mayer and Christo Dimassis. Clayton Young of Benaroya Pictures is also producing on behalf of AKA Pictures along with James Lesjek. The film is an AKA Pictures presentation and was financed by Michael Benaroya through his genre label, AKA Pictures. AKA/Benaroya Pictures head of production Joe Jenckes is also serving as executive producer along with his Bow Street Films partner, David Dickson, under a new partnership between AKA and Bow Street. Nick Spicer and Aram Tertzakian from XYZ are also executive producers.

After being released from prison, a man known as The Rambler (Mulroney) stumbles upon a strange mystery as he attempts a dangerous journey through treacherous back roads and small towns en route to reconnecting with his

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Berlin Forum Program Includes ‘A Single Shot’ With Sam Rockwell, William H. Macy

The Berlin Film Festival has put together its Forum program made up of 41 features that include 22 world premieres. The section is heavy on European titles with films from Croatia, Greece, Georgia, Denmark, Spain, Greece and Germany. Also on the roster are three U.S. films: David M. Rosenthal’s A Single Shot starring Sam Rockwell, William H. Macy, Melissa Leo, Jeffrey Wright, Kelly Reilly and Jason Isaacs; Andrew Bujalski’s Computer Chess and Matt Porterfield’s I Used To Be Darker, both of which are premiering in the Sundance Next sidebar. Berlin kicks off on February 7. Click over for the full list of Foum films. Read More »

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Spike Lee’s Sundance Film ‘Red Hook Summer’ Finds Distribution Through Upstart Variance Films

By | Wednesday April 25, 2012 @ 12:38pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer, the controversial film that premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, has found theatrical distribution. Lee’s 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks is partnering with New York-based Variance Films for a theatrical release that will begin August 10th in New York and then broaden to the top 30 markets throughout the month of August.

“From my very first joint back in 1986, She’s Gotta Have It, I have been an independent filmmaker, and even today I still am,” Lee said in a statement. “I’m elated to join forces with Variance Films for the independent distribution of my new joint Red Hook Summer. We look forward to getting this film into the marketplace, where we believe 100 percent that there is a starving audience for American independent films like Red Hook Summer.”

“Variance’s sole mission is to ensure filmmakers retain their rights and their power,” said Variance founder Dylan Marchetti, “and I can’t think of a filmmaker that would make better use of both than Spike Lee. Spike is truly one of the godfathers of independent filmmaking, and Red Hook Summer is an entertaining, yet thoughtful, film that says something we think needs to be said. We couldn’t be more excited to work with Spike and his team to ensure that audiences across the country will be experiencing this fantastic film with their friends and family.”

The latest in Spike Lee’s Chronicles of Brooklyn (which also include She’s Read More »

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Strand Releasing Acquires Sundance’s ‘California Solo’

By | Wednesday March 28, 2012 @ 11:55am PDT

California Solo Strand ReleasingCalifornia Solo stars Robert Carlyle (Trainspotting) as a former Britpop rocker-turned-farm worker who is charged with DUI, leading to possible deportation after living in Los Angeles for two decades. Marshall Lewy wrote and directed the film, which played at Sundance this year. Alexia Rasmussen, Kathleen Wilhoite, A Martinez, Michael Des Barres, and Danny Masterson also star. Strand co-president Jon Gerrans negotiated the deal with Ryan Kampe of Visit Films. The Culver City-based distributor plans a fall theatrical release. Strand’s 2012 slate includes Athina Tsangari’s Attenberg, Braden King’s Here, Joachim Trier’s New Directors/New Films feature Oslo August 31st and Andre Techine’s Unforgivable.

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Wrekin Hill Nabs Rights to Mark Webber’s Sundance Drama ‘The End Of Love’

By | Tuesday March 20, 2012 @ 6:15pm PDT

The End Of Love Mark WebberLos Angeles, CA (March 20, 2012) — Chris Ball, President and CEO of LA-based film production and distribution company Wrekin Hill Entertainment, announced today that the company is acquiring North American rights to writer-director Mark Webber’s drama THE END OF LOVE. Webber also produced the film and stars in it alongside Issac Love, Shannyn Sossamon, Michael Cera, Jason Ritter, Amanda Seyfried, Aubrey Plaza, and Jocelin Donahue. Elizabeth Destro, Mollie Engelhart, and Matt Sprague also produced the project, which had its world premiere earlier this year at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Wrekin Hill plans to release the film theatrically and on VOD day and date in Late Summer/Early Fall 2012.

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Film Movement Acquires Sundance Winner ‘Teddy Bear’

By | Tuesday March 20, 2012 @ 12:20pm PDT

Teddy Bear SundanceFilm Movement has landed North American rights to Teddy Bear, the Mads Matthiesen-helmed film that won a World Cinema Directing Award at Sundance this year. His first feature film centers on a shy Danish bodybuilder who lives with his mother and sets off to Thailand in search of love. The film, which will screen as part of the New Directors/New Films Festival starting tomorrow in New York, will open theatrically at NY’s Film Forum on August 22 with a limited national rollout to follow. The acquisition was negotiated by Film Movement president Adley Gartenstein and Visit Films president Ryan Kampe.

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