Director Todd Louiso’s Hello I Must Be Going stars Melanie Lynskey (Two And A Half Men) in a story about a demoralized, recently divorced New York photographer who moves back in with her parents. Things begin to look up, however, after she begins an affair with a 19-year-old actor. The film co-stars Blythe Danner as her mother and newcomer Christopher Abbott as the love interest. Mary Jane Skalski and Hans Ritter produced the film from a script by Sarah Koskoff. WME Global’s Liesl Copland and Deb Mcintosh negotiated the deal with David Fenkel of Oscilloscope. The distributor will release the film theatrically later this year.
EXCLUSIVE: Gersh has signed Sheldon Candis and Justin Wilson. They co-wrote and Candis made his directorial debut on LUV, which premiered at Sundance in the US Dramatic Competition and was acquired by Indomina and BET in a 7-figure deal for North American theatrical and broadcast rights. The film, which stars Common, Michael Rainey Jr, Dennis Haysbert and Danny Glover, premieres in the fall. Candis & Wilson are developing film and TV projects through their Cinephile Academy banner, and they continue to be managed by Jeremy Platt and Jelani Johnson at Generate.
Corinealdi played the lead in the Sundance ’12 competition film Middle Of Nowhere which Participant Media and AFFRM jointly picked up at the festival this year. She received good word of mouth during the festival for her performance as a woman who struggles to maintain her marriage and identity after her husband is incarcerated, starring opposite ICM client, David Oyelowo. The film was written and directed by Ava DuVernay, who won Best Director at the festival. Emayatzy Corinealdi is managed by Inphenate and represented by Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano.
EXCLUSIVE: Alibar and director Benh Zeitlin adapted the 2012 Sundance winner from her play Juicy And Delicious. The Beasts Of The Southern Wild world premiere received a standing ovation at the Eccles Theater early in the festival, with many festival attendees buzzing about its unique storyline centered on a young girl in a forgotten community in the Louisiana bayou. Alibar’s previous plays include A Friend Of Dorothy, Gorgeous Raptors, Mommy Says I’m Pretty On The Insides and Home Baking Made Easy, a musical about sex and Southern food. Fox Searchlight acquired Beasts Of The Southern Wild at Sundance and slated it for release later this year.
Sundance Selects is planning a summer theatrical release for first-time director Alison Klayman’s documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry to correspond with the the famed artist/dissident’s first trip outside China since his detention there. Klayman had unprecedented access to Ai while working as a journalist in the country, and the film trains an eye on contemporary China and one of its most compelling public figures. The documentary won a Sundance Special Jury Prize and most recently appeared in the Berlinale Special lineup in Berlin. The deal was negotiated by Arianna Bocco, SVP Acquisitions & Productions for Sundance Selects/IFC Films with John Sloss and Dana O’Keefe of Cinetic Media and Victoria Cook of Frankfurt Kurnit Klein + Selz on behalf of the filmmakers and United Expression Media.
EXCLUSIVE: Though the 2012 Sundance Film Festival is starting to fade from memory, buyers and sellers continue to make unhurried deals for the films that premiered there. Image Entertainment has just acquired U.S. rights to Christopher Neil’s coming-of-age stoner film Goats for what I’m hearing was near $1 million. The film premiered January 24 at the Eccles Theater and buyers sparked to the performances by David Duchovny, Vera Farmiga, Ty Burrell and Graham Phillips. Christopher Neil directed and Mark Jude Poirier wrote the script.
Sundance’s Park City at Midnight premiere Excision is headed to North America via Anchor Bay Films, which picked up the film by first-time feature writer-director Richard Bates Jr. Produced by Dylan Hale Lewis, the horror pic’s cast includes AnnaLynne McCord, Traci Lords, Ariel Winter, Roger Bart and John Waters, the film centers on and outcast student (McCord) who is convinced that the best way to repair her estranged relationship with her family is to perform a risky operation to save her sister’s life. The deal was negotiated by Kevin Kasha, Josh Thomashow and Marc Barson for Anchor Bay; Kevin Iwashina and Christine D’Souza of Preferred Content; Cassian Elwes; and Elsa Ramo on behalf of the filmmakers. Excision is based on Bates’ short film of the same title.
FilmDistrict acquired U.S. rights to the Colin Trevorrow-directed film Safety Not Guaranteed, which debuted at Sundance last Sunday at the Library Center Theatre. The romantic comedy starts when three magazine employees investigate a personal ad placed in the paper, in which a guy seeks a partner for time travel.
BREAKING: One day after the close of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, The Weinstein Company has finally closed a film acquisition deal. TWC completed a U.S. rights deal on the Stephen Frears-directed Lay the Favorite, the D.V. DeVincentis-scripted adaptation of the Beth Raymer memoir about a young woman who gets in with some older gamblers who figure out how to manipulate the Vegas sports book system. Bruce Willis, Rebecca Hall, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Vince Vaughn, Laura Prepon and Joshua Jackson star. The deal was in the $2.2 million range. Distribution is being worked out for the fall, and the plan is a combination of day and date theatrical release in 50 markets and release on VOD. That gives Tom Quinn and Jason Janego–who were hired last fall to start a multi-platform releasing company for TWC–a solid star-studded project to work with. The deal was brokered by the film’s financier, Emmett Furla Films’ Randall Emmett, CAA and TWC’s David Glasser, Quinn and Janego. Emmett said they had offers that were higher, but felt most comfortable with TWC. “Stephen Frears has made several movies with Harvey Weinstein, and that made this a perfect fit for the film.”
EXCLUSIVE: Indomina is closing a world rights deal for Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap, the Ice-T and Andy Baybutt-directed documentary about the art of hip-hop. I’m told Indomina is planning a meaningful theatrical release in the early summer. UTA and Myman Greenspan are brokering the deal. In the film, Ice-T travels coast to coast, visiting with the likes of Afrika Bambaata, Grandmaster Flash, Nas, Mos Def, Eminem, Chuck D, Run-DMC, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg to trace the inspiration for an American art form.
Park City, UT – January 28, 2012– The Wagner/Cuban Company’s Magnolia Pictures announced today they have acquired US rights to COMPLIANCE, a harrowing thriller from writer/director Craig Zobel, that bowed last week at the Sundance Film Festival to controversy and critical acclaim. Magnolia previously collaborated with Zobel on Great World of Sound, which premiered at Sundance in 2007. COMPLIANCE was produced by Sophia Lin, Lisa Muskat, Tyler Davidson, Theo Sena and Zobel. The deal was negotiated for Magnolia by SVP of Acquisitions Dori Begley with John Sloss and Dana O’Keefe of Cinetic Media. Magnolia is planning a theatrical release later this year.
Sundance Film Festival — January 28, 2012 — Submarine Entertainment announced today that it has sold Australia, New Zealand, and South African rights to Matthew Aker’s film MARINA ABRAMOVIC THE ARTIST IS PRESENT to Madman Entertainment. The deal was negotiated by David Koh & Josh Braun & Dan Braun of Submarine Entertainment on behalf of the producers and filmmakers along with Paul Wiegard, Managing Director of Madman Entertainment. The film is a Show of Force Production in association with HBO Documentary Films. Directed by Matthew Akers. Produced by Jeff Dupre and Maro Chermayeff. Cinematography by Matthew Akers. Edited by E. Donna Shepherd. Composer Nathan Halpern. Co-Editor Jim Hession. Executive Produced by Sheila Nevins and Nancy Abraham for HBO Documentary Films; Executive Produced by Stanley Buchthal, Maja Hoffmann, and David Koh for Dakota Group, Ltd. Films We Like in Canada also previously acquired Canadian rights. Other foreign deals and a domestic deal to be announced shortly by Submarine.
Seductive, fearless, and outrageous, Marina Abramović has been redefining performance art for nearly 40 years. Using her body as a medium, and pushing herself beyond her physical and mental limits, Abramović creates emotionally provocative work that transgresses boundaries and expands consciousness. She is, quite simply, one of the most compelling artists of our time.
With total access granted by Abramović and the Museum of Modern Art, filmmaker Matthew Akers has created a visually luscious and mesmerizing cinematic journey that takes us inside the world
Sundance Update: Magnolia Deal For ‘Nobody Walks; Action On ‘Lay The Favorite’ And ‘The Other Dream Team’
Though only filmmakers contending for prizes remain in Park City for the final day of the Sundance Film Festival, the deal making continues. Magnolia has acquired Nobody Walks, the Russo-Young-directed drama about a young female artist who stays with a family in Silver Lake. Her presence makes the husband and wife question their own fears and desires. It’s a mid six figure deal with backend and Submarine is brokering it.
At the same time, The Weinstein Company is close to getting on the board with an acquisition, making a VOD-centric deal for the Stephen Frears-directed Lay the Favorite. That film will get in the $2 million range (last year it would have sold for much more), and it will be a strong VOD release with a cast of Bruce Willis, Rebecca Hall and Catherine Zeta-Jones. That makes two films coming out of the festival and headed toward VOD with big stars. The other is Arbitrage, which stars Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon and was acquired by Margin Call distributors Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions.
Among the other films in play is The Other Dream Team, the Marius Markevicius-directed documentary about the the Lithuanian basketball team’s rise to medal in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. While the star-studded U.S. Dream Team took the gold, Lithuania scrapped and won the bronze medal by beating …
Park City, UT – January 27, 2012 – Participant Media and AFFRM (African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement) have jointly acquired U.S. theatrical rights to MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, an elegant and emotional drama chronicling a woman’s separation from her incarcerated husband and her journey to maintain her marriage and her identity. Written and directed by AFFRM founder Ava DuVernay, the film was produced by DuVernay and Howard Barish with producer Paul Garnes.
Staring into the hollow end of her husband Derek’s eight-year prison sentence, Ruby Sexton fights to support him on the inside and survive her own identity crisis on the outside. Through a chance encounter and a stunning betrayal that shakes her to the core, Ruby is propelled in new and, often frightening, directions of self-discovery.
AFFRM will distribute the film theatrically later this year, activating marketing and promotional support through its broad grassroots collective powered by the nation’s top black film organizations. AFFRM’s inaugural feature through this innovative model was the critically-acclaimed drama, “I Will Follow,” released in March 2011. In December 2011, AFFRM distributed last year’s Sundance World Cinema Drama Audience Award winner, “Kinyarwanda.”
PREVIOUS, BREAKING: We’re hearing that IFC has scored another picture, its third in 12 hours, acquiring rights to the lauded documentary How To Survive A Plague for its Sundance Selects label. The David France-written and -directed film charts the remarkable story of how ACT-UP and Treatment Action Group overcame a pattern of apathy by politicians toward an AIDS scourge that was ravaging the gay community. Their activism and inventiveness transformed a death sentence into a manageable and treatable disease by infiltrating the pharmaceutical industry and identifying new drugs and speeding them through the trial phase to AIDS sufferers in short order. The docu got a rousing response when premiering Sunday at Temple Theater. Submarine brokered the deal.
Park City, UT (January 26, 2012) – Sundance Selects announced today from the 2012 Sundance Film Festival that the company is acquiring North American rights to David France’s documentary HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE. The film, with a screenplay by France, T. Woody Richman, and Tyler H. Walk, wasproduced by France and Howard Gertler. Joy Tomchin and Dan Cogan executive produced the project, which was made in association with Ford Foundation/JustFilms, Impact Partners, and Little Punk.
Leading distributor VVS Films, announced today that they have acquired all Canadian rights to Nicholas Jarecki’s ARBITRAGE, starring Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth, Brit Marling, Nate Parke, and Laetitia Casta. The acquisition was made following the well-received world premiere of the film at the Sundance Film Festival. The deal was negotiated between Ernie Grivakis and Harry Grivakis for VVS Films, with Graham Taylor of WME Global, and Lisa Wilson of Parlay Films. The film is set for release in late 2012 in time for the awards season.
EXCLUSIVE: As the Sundance Film Festival ponders how it will honor indie icon Bingham Ray — word is festival director John Cooper will read a eulogy penned by some of Ray’s friends during Saturday’s awards ceremony — Oscar-nominated Moneyball producer Rachael Horovitz has written a remembrance of her longtime friend and colleague. Ray died Monday after falling ill unexpectedly just before he was due in Park City.
I met Bingham in the fall of 1996 when I went to the Toronto Film Festival as vp of acquisitions for Fine Line Features. Having previously been an independent producer of low-budget movies, I’d heard of this legendary figure, but had never gotten close enough to introduce myself. It was in the middle of the night at my first Dart Party (a Bingham tradition) that I got my chance and we began the conversation that continued until just a few weeks ago (see Lesson #4). Our friendship spanned some pretty rough times for each of us but, also, as was clear to me while his great life ended this past Monday, many of my best times were in his company: watching the sun burst into being on early May mornings in Cannes, closing Michael Stipe’s annual New Year’s party with a dance in the middle of a Soho sidewalk, brushing off the bitter chill of Park City winds, laughing out loud about unfaithful bosses and colleagues and their inanity, taking in the deeply nourishing air of a Telluride afternoon.
Bingham taught me much of what I know about life and the film world. Here are a few of the basic lessons I learned from the man:
(Sundance Film Festival — January 26, 2012) Submarine Entertainment announced today that National Geographic Channel (NGC) has purchased television rights for the feature documentary Chasing Ice by Jeff Orlowski from Exposure, LLC following its Sundance Film Festival screening in the US Documentary Competition category. It was announced tonight by NGC Executive Vice President of Programming Michael Cascio and Josh Braun & David Koh of Submarine Entertainment.