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Sundance Market News: Distribution Pickups Accelerate

A slew of acquisition pick-ups have accelerated as the Sundance Film Festival heads into its final days before the announcement of its awards on Saturday evening. Talks of bidding wars, all night negotiation sessions and aggressive kibitzing have generated alot of buzz in indie circles, with more announcements expected in the coming days.

Among the prominent deals announced, Paramount Vantage, the newly formed specialty arm of Hollywood major Paramount Pictures, has picked up world wide rights to the Canadian film HOW SHE MOVE, directed by Ian Iqbal Rashid. The film tells the story of a young woman who finds acceptance in her new ghetto community when she learns to break dance. HOW SHE MOVE was produced by Canadian production company Sienna Films, and is one of a half dozen Canadian films playing in various sections of the Festival. The deal was brokered by Charlotte Mickie of sales company Celluloid Dreams and Richard Klubeck of talent agency UTA.

The newly minted Paramount Vantage, which is releasing the Sundance premiere film YEAR OF THE DOG later this year, also announced its pick up of SON OF RAMBOW, a coming-of-age comedy directed by Garth Jennings. The film is set in the 1980s and tells the tale of two young English boys who are inspired to make a Rambo movie of their own after seeing the famous Sylvester Stallone film.

In another high profile acquisitions announcement, Fox Searchlight Pictures and The Weinstein Company have partnered for the worldwide distribution rights to LA MISMA LUNA, the directorial debut of Patricia Riggen. The film tells the parallel stories of nine-year-old Carlitos and his mother, who works illegally in the United States. The joint announcement was made today by Peter Rice, president of Fox Searchlight and Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Company.

Just prior to next month's Berlin Film Festival, international sales company Fortissimo Films has acquired all international rights (except China) to the documentary film NANKING, which chronciles the fate of the Chinese city when it was ransacked by Japanese soldiers during World War II. The film was was produced by Ted Leonsis and directed by Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman.

Sandy Mandelberger
Sundance Online Dailies Editor

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