Sundance 2011: Fox Searchlight Grabs HOMEWORK and MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE, IFC Picks Up THE LEDGE and Sundance Selects Takes BUCK

by     Posted 3 years, 189 days ago

the-ledge-martha-marcy-may-slice

Quite a few more acquisitions were made at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival today. Fox Searchlight picked up most of the worldwide rights to Homework starring Freddie Highmore and Emma Roberts, and the worldwide rights to Martha Marcy May Marlene starring breakout Sundance star (and sister to Mary-Kate and Ashley) Elizabeth Olsen. IFC Films acquired the U.S. rights to Matthew Chapman’s thriller The Ledge starring Liv Tyler, Patrick Wilson and Terrence Howard. Regarding the acquisition, Chapman had this to say:

“Having watched THE LEDGE play to audiences in Sundance and seeing  their reactions, I believe that with the help of IFC Films we will reach the widest audience possible, which was always my intention.”

On the documentary side of things, Sundance Selects grabbed the North American rights to the Buck, a documentary about the real life “Horse Whisperer” Buck Brannaman.  Hit the jump to read the full press releases.

Here’s the press release for Homework:

FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES
A UNIT OF FOX FILMED ENTERTAINMENT

For Immediate Release

FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES ACQUIRES “HOMEWORK”

Specialty Arm Acquires Most Worldwide Rights

PARK CITY, UT January 23, 2011 – Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley announced today that the company has acquired most worldwide rights to the film HOMEWORK.  Written and directed by Gavin Wiesen in his directorial debut, HOMEWORK stars Freddie Highmore, Emma Roberts, Michael Angarano, Elizabeth Reaser, Rita Wilson, Sam Robards and Blair Underwood.  The film was produced by P. Jennifer Dana, Kara Baker, Gia Walsh and Darren Goldberg.  The film is scheduled to be released in 2011.

“Homework is a real coming of age story, it touched us with its genuine performances, depth and wit,” said Utley.  “We’re thrilled to continue Searchlight’s tradition of being a home to first time filmmakers.”

“We couldn’t have found a better home than Searchlight, a company renowned for championing new storytellers,” says Wiesen.

“We are delighted to have found an impassioned partner for Homework.  Searchlight shares our passion for this gem of a film.  We couldn’t be in better hands,” say Dana, Baker, Walsh and Goldberg.

HOMEWORK stars Freddie Highmore as George, a lonely and fatalistic teen who’s made it all the way to his senior year without ever having done a real day of work, who is befriended by Sally, a beautiful and complicated girl who recognizes in him a kindred spirit.

The deal was brokered by Fox Searchlight’s Vice President of Acquisitions Ray Strache, Executive Vice President of Worldwide Acquisitions Tony Safford, Senior Vice President of Business Affairs Megan O’Brien and International Creative Management, which represented North American rights.  ICM also represents Wiesen and Underwood.  Goldcrest Films is handling International sales.

Fox Searchlight Pictures is a specialty film company that both finances and acquires motion pictures.  It has its own marketing and distribution operations, and its films are distributed internationally by Twentieth Century Fox.  Fox Searchlight Pictures is a unit of Fox Filmed Entertainment, a unit of Fox Entertainment Group.

Here’s the press release for Martha Marcy May Marlene:

For Immediate Release

FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES ACQUIRES

“MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE”

Specialty Arm Acquires Worldwide Rights

PARK CITY, UT January 24, 2011 – Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula announced today that the company has acquired worldwide rights to the suspenseful drama MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE.  Written and directed by Sean Durkin, MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE stars Elizabeth Olsen, Sarah Paulson, John Hawkes and Hugh Dancy.  Maybach Cunningham and FilmHaven entertainment present a Borderline Films Production in association with This Is that.  The film was produced by Josh Mond, Antonio Campos, Chris Maybach and Patrick Cunningham.  Ted Hope, Matt Palmieri, Saerom Kim, Saemi Kim and Alexander Schepsman are executive producers with Andrew Corkin as co-producer.  The film is scheduled to be released in 2011.

“We were all captivated by the compelling performances and the expert craftsmanship of Sean Durkin,” said Gilula and Utley.  “We are excited to bring this gripping drama to audiences everywhere.”

“Sean Durkin has crafted a riveting first feature,” said Claudia Lewis, President of Production.  “We are thrilled to be working with a director who has such an original voice. We hope to make many more films with Borderline Films, this exceptional team of young filmmakers.”

“Josh, Antonio and I have had such an incredible experience at Sundance this year,” said Durkin.  “We are excited to be working with Searchlight, a company that has consistently embraced new voices and unique storytelling.”

MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE stars Elizabeth Olsen as Martha, a damaged woman haunted by painful memories and increasing paranoia, who struggles to reassimilate with her family after fleeing a cult.

The deal was brokered by Fox Searchlight’s Executive Vice President of Worldwide Acquisitions Tony Safford, Senior Vice President of Business Affairs Megan O’Brien, Vice President of Acquisitions Ray Strache and Richard Klubeck, Rena Ronson and David Flynn of UTA’s Independent Film Group on behalf of the filmmakers.  Borderline is managed by Melissa Breaux of Washington Square Arts.

Fox Searchlight Pictures is a specialty film company that both finances and acquires motion pictures.  It has its own marketing and distribution operations, and its films are distributed internationally by Twentieth Century Fox.  Fox Searchlight Pictures is a unit of Fox Filmed Entertainment, a unit of Fox Entertainment Group.

Here’s the press release for The Ledge:

IFC FILMS TAKES U.S. RIGHTS TO MATTHEW CHAPMAN’S THE LEDGE

THEATRICAL RELEASE PLANNED FOR LATE SPRING

Park City, UT (January 24, 2011) – IFC FILMS announced today from the 2011 Sundance Film Festival that the company acquired the U.S. rights to THE LEDGE. The film, which is playing in the U.S. Dramatic Competition premiered this past Friday.  THE LEDGE, directed and written by Matthew Chapman, stars Charlie Hunnam (SONS OF ANARCHY), Liv Tyler, Patrick Wilson, Terrence Howard, and Christopher Gorham (UGLY BETTY).  The film is produced by Mark Damon and Michael Mailer.
In this race-against-time thriller, the opposing philosophies of two men embroiled in a complicated love triangle with a beautiful woman (Tyler) escalate into a lethal battle of wills.  Ultimately, the believer (Wilson) forces the non-believer (Hunnam) onto the ledge of a tall building.  He gives him one hour to make a choice between his own life and someone else’s, a while a policeman (Howard) tries to convince him to come down. Without faith of an afterlife, will he be capable of such a sacrifice?  THE LEDGE is a nuanced character study of love and conviction that will force you to ask how far you’d be willing to go for what you believe in.
Jonathan Sehring, President of Sundance Selects/IFC Films, said: “THE LEDGE is a well crafted and morally complex thriller that will really get people talking.”

“These days, there are many new and innovative ways to distribute a film, and new techniques are constantly evolving.   IFC is at the forefront of cutting edge independent distribution, and it is their unique approach that convinced us they were the right theatrical distributor for THE LEDGE,” says producer Mark Damon.

Adds director Matthew Chapman, ” Having watched THE LEDGE play to audiences in Sundance and seeing  their reactions, I believe that with the help of IFC Films we will reach the widest audience possible, which was always my intention.”

The deal was negotiated by Arianna Bocco, Senior Vice President of Acquisitions & Productions for Sundance Selects/IFC Films and Betsy Rodgers, Vice President of Business and Legal Afffairs for Sundance Selects/IFC Films with Cassian Elwes and Kevin Iwashina of Preferred Content, on behalf of Foresight Unlimited.

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About IFC FILMS

Established in 2000 and based in New York City, IFC Films is a leading U.S. distributor of quality talent-driven independent film.  Its unique distribution model makes independent films available to a national audience by releasing them in theaters as well as on cable’s Video On Demand (VOD) platform, reaching nearly 50 million homes. Some of the company’s successes over the years have included My Big Fat Greek WeddingY Tu Mama TambienTouching the Void, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 DaysGomorrahChe,Summer HoursAntichristIn the LoopAntichristWordplay, CairotimeJoan Rivers: A Piece of Work, Tiny Furniture and Carlos.  Over the years, IFC Films has worked with established and breakout auteurs, including Steven Soderbergh, Gus Van Sant, Spike Lee, Richard Linklater, Miranda July, Lars Von Trier, Gaspar Noe, Todd Solondz, Cristian Mungiu, Susanne Bier, Olivier Assayas, Jim McKay, Larry Fessenden, Gregg Araki, Jacques Rivette, Claude Chabrol, as well as more recent breakouts such as Andrea Arnold, Mia Hansen Love, Corneliu Porombiou, Joe Swanberg, Barry Jenkins, Lena Dunham, Aaron Katz, Daryl Wein and Abdellatif Kechiche. IFC Films is a sister division to Sundance Selects and IFC Midnight, and is owned and operated by Rainbow Media.

Here’s the press release for Buck:

SUNDANCE SELECTS TAKES NORTH AMERICAN RIGHTS

TO CINDY MEEHL’S BUCK

Park City, UT (January 24, 2011) – Sundance Selects announced today from the Sundance Film Festival that the company is acquiring North American rights to director Cindy Meehl’s BUCK. The film, which is playing in the U.S. Documentary Competition section at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival premiered on Friday, January 21st.  The film centers around Buck Brannaman, a living legend in the horse world, and was produced by Julie Goldman.  Andrea Meditch served as a creative consultant on the film.

The Horse Whisperer may be the stuff of Hollywood legend but the cowboy who inspired the novel and film is very real. Buck Brannaman – master horseman, raconteur and philosopher – is a no excuses cowboy who travels the world teaching a hard-won wisdom that’s often more about human relationships than about horses. He possesses near magical abilities as he transforms horses - and people – with understanding and respect.
Jonathan Sehring, President of Sundance Selects/IFC Films, said: “Our entire company has fallen in love with BUCK. Cindy Meehl’s funny, deeply inspiring and crowd pleasing film about Buck Brannaman has ignited the passion of audiences in Park City and we’re confident the rest of the country will feel the same.  This is the perfect film for our new label Sundance Selects and we could not be more excited to help get it out to the widest possible audience.”
Filmmaker Cindy Meehl stated: “BUCK is about hope, inspiration and triumph over adversity. Sundance Selects is the perfect partner to help us reach a broad audience that has already shown that it is hungry for Buck’s message.”
The deal was negotiated by Arianna Bocco, Senior Vice President of Acquisitions & Productions for Sundance Selects/IFC Films and Betsy Rodgers, Vice President of Business and Legal Afffairs for Sundance Selects/IFC Films with Josh Braun at Submarine on behalf of the filmmakers.

For all of our coverage of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, click here. Also, here are links to all of my Sundance reviews so far:




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