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2023 Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Film Festival will take place from 19 to 29 January, 2023.


Sundance and other Park City Festivals news, past and future.   #sundance @sundancefest


Market News: Deals, Deals And More Deals

Friday, January 26---On the eve of the Festival's closing weekend, several impressive distribution deals have been announced, which have made this one of the more active Festivals in recent years. In light of the box office and awards bonanza of the little-film-that-could LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE (a Sundance pick-up last year for Fox Searchlight), acquisition execs have been aggressive in snatching up films with equal potential. Of course, whether these were wise decisions that will pay off handsomely in the months to come, or overeager purchases that will strain the bottom line, remains to be seen. But the flurry of activity has certainly been an exciting one to watch.

Fox Searchlight Pictures, which is still basking in its joy over the multiple Oscar nominations for LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, announced the acquisition of worldwide rights to WAITRESS, a comedy written and directed by the late Adrienne Shelly (who was murdered late last year in her New York City office). The film stars Keri Russell as a small-town waitress with big-city dreams, and features juicy supporting roles by Jeremy Sisto, Cheryl Hines, Nathan Fillion and Andy Griffith. The mix of comedy and pathos, which did the trick for LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, obviously appealed to Fox Searchlight president Peter Rice.

Warner Independent Pictures (WIP), the specialty arm of studio giant Warner Brothers, has acquired rights in multiple territories to Cherie Nowlan's CLUBLAND, which screened earlier this week in the Premieres section. An Australian film starring Oscar-winner Brenda Blethyn (SECRETS AND LIES), the story of a struggling family whose mother is a nightclub entertainer was well received by audiences and critics alike. The deal was reported in industry circles at about $4 million. The deal was brokered by super-agents Cassian Elwes and Rena Ronson of The William Morris Agency.

Sony Pictures Classics, which has been an active Sundance buyer in the past, but has been relatively quiet this year, has broken their silence with the buy of the Sundance documentary competition film MY KID COULD PAINT THAT. The film, directed by Amir Bar-Lev, tells the tasty tale of a 4-year-old girl who is considered an art world wunderkind. The film was picked up before the Festival by Arts and Entertainment Films, the film division of the cable network A&E. With its television rights in place, this worthy and entertaining film will now have a theatrical release as well.

IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON, director David Sington's documentary about the Apollo space program, has landed at arthouse distributor ThinkFilm (who is also exulted about the Oscar nomination of Ryan Gosling as Best Actor in the film HALF NELSON, a 2006 Sundance pick-up for the company). The film, which features rarely seen NASA footage and assembles a riveting first-hand account from the Apollo astronauts themselves, will be distributed theatrically in association with Discovery Films in the Fall.

The strong performance of documentaries in the Sundance sales roster has been impressive, with almost all of the films in the US and International Competition sections under serious consideration by a bevvy of buyers. Good news indeed for the non-fiction world.

Sandy Mandelberger
Sundance Online Dailies Editor


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