Here’s the final compilation of all news from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
DEALS AND SALES
Magnolia Pictures and Paramount are teaming up for distribution on the dramedy HAPPY CHRISTMAS. Magnolia is taking on domestic theatrical and VOD while international rights will go through Paramount. The film stars Anna Kendrick, Joe Swanberg and Lena Dunham and centers on a woman who is dumped right before Christmas, prompting her to move in with her brother and sister-in-law where she drowns out her pain with drugs and alcohol.
Sony Pictures Worldwide has picked up WHIPLASH for the international territories UK, Scandinavia, Benelux, Eastern Europe, Greece, South Africa, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Latin America. Miles Teller stars as a jazz drummer hell-bent on becoming a successful musician who finds himself at odds with his tough-as-nails band instructor (J.K. Simmons). Damien Chazelle, who is repped by Gersh, wrote and directed the film.
The documentary DINOSAUR 13 has had its North American rights picked up by Lionsgate and CNN Films. Todd Miller directed the film, which centers on the un-earthing of the most complete T-Rex skeleton ever.
Elijah Wood is producing THE BOY through his Spectrevision banner. The film, the first of a planned trilogy, plots a young boy’s life as he turns into a serial killing mass-murderer. Clay McLeod Chapman and Craig Macneill wrote the script, which brought Aiden Lovekamp on board to star with Jared Breeze. Producing with Wood are Daniel Noah and Josh C. Waller.
Element Pictures and Lenny Abrahamson have come to terms on a first-look deal. Under the pact, Abrahamson will continue to create film and TV projects for the company. His film, FRANK, which will be showing at Sundance, stars Michael Fassbender. Abrahamson is repped by WME and Casarotto Ramsay & Associates.
WWE Studios is on board the horror-thriller OCULUS with Blumhouse and Relativity. Written by Mike Flanagan and Jeff Howard and directed by Flanagan, the film centers on siblings who team up to defeat an evil mirror that killed their parents. Flanagan and Howard are both repped by APA.
Angelina Jolie will serve as an executive producer on DIFRET, which takes place in Ethiopia and centers on a girl and a lawyer who battle the Ethiopian practice of ‘marriage by abduction.’ Jolie is repped by UTA.
Ryan Werner, an indie film marketing specialist, has joined Cinetic Media as a Senior Executive.
WME has made big moves, tapping twenty employees as partners for the agency. They are- Mark Ankner, Liesl Copland, Alexis Garcia, Esther Chang, Brandon Liebman, Doug Lucterhand, Boomer Malkin, Brent Morley, Sarah Self, Zach Druker, Lisa Harrison, Theresa Kang, Michele Bernstein, David Levy, Rob Markus, Joel Zimmerman, Jeff Googel, Will Ward, Andy McNicol and Keith Friedenberg.
DEALS AND SALES
The Cesar Chavez documentary CESAR’S LAST FAST has been picked up by Pivot and Univision. The film, directed by Lorena Parlee and Richard Ray Perez centers on the 36 days that Chavez fasted in protest of the pesticides used on farmers in 1988.
Lynn Shelton’s LAGGIES has been picked up by A24 for domestic rights. The film centers on a woman who postpones responding to her boyfriend’s marriage proposal and instead goes to hang out with high school friends. Chloe Moretz, Keira Knightley and Sam Rockwell star in the film. Shelton is repped by UTA.
James Franco’s KINK, which premiered at last year’s Sundance festival, has finally found distribution through MPI Pictures, who have picked up North American rights. The documentary center on the sexually-themed website kink.com. The project was directed by Christina Voros.
WISH I WAS HERE, Zach Braff’s latest film, has been picked up by Focus Features. Braff stars as a struggling actor and father trying to find purpose in his life. He also wrote and directed the project and is repped by CAA.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jared Geller have inked a first-look deal with Participant Media and Pivot. The deal comes on the heels of Gordon-Levitt’s company HitRECord premiering the first episodes of their show HITRECORD ON TV. Gordon-Levitt is repped by WME.
THE NIGHT COMES FOR US, directed by Timo Tjahjanto, has been bought for North American rights by RADiUS-TWC. The film centers on a mobster who returns to his local crime family in Jakarta only to find himself trapped in a word of betrayal and chaos. Action maestro Gareth Evans is producing and directing the action sequences. Tjahjanto is repped by WME.
Fox Searchlight has picked up worldwide rights to I ORIGINS. Mike Cahill wrote and directed the project which centers on two molecular biologists who discover evidence that could alter society completely. Cahill is repped by WME.
FEAR CLINIC haas sold to Anchor Bay for all rights. Robert Hall directed the film and co-wrote with Aaron Drane. The film follows five patients whose lives have been destroyed by their incurable phobias, and come to the Clinic willing to do whatever it takes to cure their worst fears and get a new lease on life… albeit for a price. Hall is repped by UTA.
Lionsgate will be acquiring North American distribution for COOTIES. Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion directed the film, which centers on a mysterious virus that turns adolescents into mindless killers.
A24 has acquired OBVIOUS CHILD, written and directed by Gillian Robespierre. The film centers on a woman who was impregnated during a one night stand with a man and reconnects with him on her way to an abortion.
Lindsay Lohan is attached to star in and produce INCONCEIVABLE. The thriller being produced by Emmett/Furla is keeping its logline under wraps and is currently in search of a director. Lohan is repped by Resolution.
Bruce Willis will produce and narrate THE PEOPLE DEMAND. The documentary film centers on protestors around the world fighting for their rights. Most prominently, the film will chronicle the political and social unrest in Cairo, Egypt. After last starring in “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” and “RED 2”, Willis will next appear in “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.” He is repped by CAA.
DEALS AND SALES
Ira Sachs’ LOVE IS STRANGE has been picked up by Pretty Pictures for French distribution. The film stars John Lithgow and Kelly Reilly and centers on a married couple whose relationship is strained when one of their uncles moves in with them. Sachs is repped by WME.
Fox Searchlight has secured rights for the U.S. and various overseas territories for the film CALVARY. The film, written and directed by John Michael McDonagh, stars Brendan Gleeson as a priest who is told by a man that he will be killed in one week because he has never done anything wrong. McDonagh is repped by UTA.
THE SKELETON TWINS has been picked up by Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions for domestic, with Sony taking international territories. The film, directed by Craig Johnson, stars Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader as estranged twins who reunite after they both cheat death on the same day.
The documentary SEPIDEH – REACHING FOR THE STARS has been picked up by Madman for Australia and Moving Turtle for the Middle East. The film, directed by Berit Madsen, centers on a young girl who desperately hopes to one day be an astronaut, despite her family’s wishes.
Bruce Willis has signed on to star in VICE alongside Ambyr Childers. Pitched as “Westworld” meets “Grand Theft Auto”, story revolves around Vegas of the future where an immersive experience lets the 1% live out their darkest fantasies in a resort populated by lifelike artificials. Jeremy Passmore and Andre Fabrizio wrote the script on spec. Willis is repped by CAA.
DEALS AND SALES
LAND HO! has been picked up by Sony Pictures Classics for domestic distribution. The film centers on two ex-brothers-in-law who decide to reclaim their youth by trekking across Iceland, stopping at trendy spas and nightclubs along the way. It was written and directed by Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz, who are repped by UTA.
The Weinstein Co. and Netflix are both interested in picking up FED UP, which centers on child obesity and the government’s involvement in the issue. Weinstein and Netflix are eying the project after CNN films passed. Stephanie Soechtig directed the documentary.
GOD’S POCKET has been picked up by Electric Entertainment for international distribution. The film centers on a man who tries to cover up the accidental death of his stepson. The project marks John Slattery’s directorial debut. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christina Hendricks, John Turturro and Caleb Landry Jones star. Slattery is repped by Gersh.
A24 has purchased domestic rights to A MOST VIOLENT YEAR from Participant Media. The film stars Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac and centers on an immigrant in New York trying to make a living for himself and his family, while also colliding with the organized crime in the area. WME-repped J.C. Chandor wrote the project and will direct.
IFC has a $2 million deal in place for North American rights to COLD IN JULY. In the film, Michael C. Hall plays a man who kills a burglar in self-defense, prompting the burglar’s father to vow vengeance. Sam Shepard, Don Johnson and Vinessa Shaw also star, with Jim Mickle directing.
DEAD SNOW: RED VS. DEAD, the sequel to the horror zom-com “Dead Snow” has been picked up by USA Entertainment for domestic rights. Written by Stig Frode Henriksen, Vegar Hoel and Tommy Wirkola and directed by Wirkola, the film centers on a small group of people that stands in the way of a squad of nazi zombies and the destruction of Norway. Wirkola is repped by CAA.
DEALS AND SALES
Radius-TWC has picked up THE ONE I LOVE for worldwide distribution. Charlie McDowell directed the film, which glances at a young couple with marital problems that decide to see a therapist. McDowell is repped by ICM.
Magnolia is looking to snag domestic rights to FRANK. The offbeat film centers on a young Englishman who joins a quirky band as a keyboard player, idolizing the band’s highly eccentric, utterly fascinating leader, but must grapple with the fact that he’s an ordinary musician whose real talent lies in marketing. Lenny Abrahamson (WME) directed the film.
LOVE IS STRANGE is being picked up Sony Pictures Classics for distribution. The film, starring John Lithgow, Alfred Molina and Kelly Reilly centers on a gay couple who must move in with a cousin and two other gay men respectively when one of them gets fired and they can’t afford their rent. WME-repped Ira Sachs directed the film.
DEALS AND SALES
After circling the project, Magnolia has officially picked up FRANK for North American distribution. The offbeat film centers on a young Englishman who joins a quirky band as a keyboard player, idolizing the band’s highly eccentric, utterly fascinating leader, but must grapple with the fact that he’s an ordinary musician whose real talent lies in marketing. Lenny Abrahamson (WME) directed the film.
A24 is close to picking up the U.S. rights to horror-comedy LIFE AFTER BETH. Jeff Baena wrote and directed the film, which centers on young man who struggles to continue his relationship with his girlfriend Beth after she resurrects from the dead. Aubrey Plaza, John C. Reilly and Dane DeHaan star. The deal will come out to around $3.5 million dollars.
Sony Pictures Classics is officially picking up LOVE IS STRANGE. The film, starring John Lithgow, Alfred Molina and Kelly Reilly centers on a gay couple who must move in with a cousin and two other gay men respectively when one of them gets fired and they can’t afford their rent. WME-repped Ira Sachs directed the film.
Justin Lin will produce a narrative adaptation of the documentary THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL. The film chronicles the story of the late Bing Russell, who in 1973 created the only independent baseball team in America at the time, the Portland Mavericks. Chapman Way and Maclain Way directed the doc, while Todd Field is in talks to write and produce the narrative. He is repped by CAA.
SALES AND DEALS
RADIUS-TWC is officially picking up FED UP, which centers on child obesity and the government’s involvement in the issue. Weinstein, Netflix and CNN Films were all previously in contention. Stephanie Soechtig directed the documentary.
THE BABADOOK, which has been scaring audiences throughout Sundance, has been snagged by IFC Midnight. Jennifer Kent wrote and directed the pic, which centers on a woman who must defend herself and her child from a entity lurking in their house after her husband dies. IFC will hold U.S. and Latin American rights to the film.