January 27, 2011


Another day at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, another day of acquisitions. A trio of films that premiered as part of Sundance nabbed distributors today. IFC Films and Sony Pictures Worldwide picked up North American rights to the comedy Salvation Boulevard starring Pierce Brosnan, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Greg Kinnear and Jim Gaffigan. HBO and Roadside Attractions partnered up to acquire the documentary Project Nim, about an ape learning to communicate. Finally, Dada Films grabbed US theatrical rights to the coal company vs. small community documentary The Last Mountain. Regarding the acquisition of Salvation Boulevard, President of Sundance Selects/IFC Films Jonathan Sebring had this to say:

“George Ratliff takes a big leap forward with this film which, aside from featuring a powerhouse cast in Pierce Brosnan, Marisa Tomei, Greg Kinnear, Ed Harris, Jim Gaffigan and Jennifer Connelly, is a clever and sharp comedy that delivers.”

Hit the jump to read the full press releases for each of the films. Be sure to check out all of our Sundance coverage (including interviews, reviews and acquisitions) here.

Here are the full press releases:




Park City, UT (January 27, 2011) – IFC Films and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA) announced today from the 2011 Sundance Film Festival that the companies are partnering to acquire North American rights to George Ratliff’s SALVATION BOULEVARD, which premiered this week in the festival’s Premieres section. The film, with a screenplay by Ratliff (whose previous films include Hell House and Joshua) and Doug Max Stone, based on the novel by Larry Beinhart, stars Pierce Brosnan, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Greg Kinnear, Jim Gaffigan and Marisa Tomei.  The film, a Mandalay Vision production of a Mandalay Pictures film, was produced by Cathy Schulman, Celine Rattray and Peter Fruchtman, and will be released theatrically via IFC Films.

In the film, Pastor Dan (Brosnan) is a charismatic preacher who has captivated a city with his charm. Ex-deadhead and recovering hippie Carl (Kinnear) is one of the loyal sheep in his flock. When Dan finds himself in a compromising situation, Carl is called into service in a most unconventional way. The megachurch is cast into shadow, and a hellish storm begins brewing that could jeopardize its entire existence. The road to hell—in this case, SALVATION BOULEVARD—is paved with good intentions—gone hysterically wrong.
Jonathan Sehring, President of Sundance Selects/IFC Films, said: “George Ratliff takes a big leap forward with this film which, aside from featuring a powerhouse cast in Pierce Brosnan, Marisa Tomei, Greg Kinnear, Ed Harris, Jim Gaffigan and Jennifer Connelly, is a clever and sharp comedy that delivers.”

“This unique alliance between IFC Films and Sony will enable SALVATION BOULEVARD to take advantage of the most cutting edge distribution strategies. Mandalay strives to realize the vision of each of our filmmakers, and this distribution partnership will further that goal,” says Cathy Schulman, President, Mandalay Pictures and SALVATION BOULEVARD producer.

The deal for the film 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 Scott Shooman, SPWA Vice President of Acquisitions and Productions, and Michael Helfand, SPWA SVP of Business Affairs, and Rena Ronson and Richard Klubeck at UTA on behalf of the filmmakers.

Ratliff grew up in Amarillo, Texas, and went to film school at the University of Texas in Austin. His first feature film, Plutonium Circus (1995), a documentary about the extremely secretive Pantex Nuclear Weapons Plant in Amarillo, won the award for best feature documentary at the SXSW Film Festival and started his career. His next documentary, Hell House (2001), tracked a megachurch’s annual Halloween ritual of staging a haunted house to scare kids into Christianity. His thriller Joshua screened at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and was released through Fox Searchlight. Ratliff lives with his wife and three sons in Santa Monica.



Park City, UT (January 27, 2011) – HBO has partnered with Roadside Attractions for US theatrical and DVD rights to PROJECT NIM, the 2011 Sundance Film Festival opener in the World Cinema Documentary Competition, it was announced today by Sheila Nevins, President, HBO Documentary Films and Howard Cohen, Co-President Roadside Attractions.  The film will go out theatrically through Roadside Attractions, on television through HBO and on DVD through Lionsgate.

From the Oscar©-winning team behind MAN ON WIRE, director James Marsh and producer Simon Chinn, comes the story of Nim, a chimpanzee who in the 1970s became the focus of a landmark experiment which aimed to show that an ape could learn to communicate with language if raised and nurtured like a human child. Following Nim’s extraordinary journey through human society, and the enduring impact he makes on the people he meets along the way, the film is an unflinching and unsentimental biography of an animal we tried to make human.

The deal was negotiated by HBO, Submarine’s Josh Braun and Roadside Attractions’ Howard Cohen.

“James Marsh and I are absolutely thrilled to be working with Roadside Attractions and HBO Documentary Films on the US theatrical release of PROJECT NIM,” noted producer Simon Chinn. “Their combined track record in championing award-winning documentaries speaks for itself.”

PROJECT NIM is a Roadside Attractions release of an HBO Documentary Films, BBC Films and UK Film Council presentation of a Red Box Films Production in association with Passion Pictures.



Film Recently had its World Premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival
in the Documentary Competition section.

LOS ANGELES, CA – January 27, 2011 – MJ Peckos announced today that Dada has acquired U.S. theatrical rights to Bill Haney’s “The Last Mountain” and will release the film June 3.  The film had its world premiere in the U.S. Documentary Competition category of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

“The Last Mountain” is about an epic battle taking place in the heartland of America, as a small community fights to protect their way of life against one of America’s biggest coal companies.  “This amazingly uplifting David and Goliath film combines superb storytelling and extraordinary cinematography,” said Peckos.   “The fight for Appalachia’s last great mountain has consequences which affect every American; the heroism and effectiveness of the ordinary Americans who are taking on the coal companies will inspire everyone who sees it.

Bill Haney said, “I was impressed with the business model that Peckos and her partner Steven Raphael presented which seems right on target for the way environmental docs are being released today.  There was a lot of distributor interest but I felt that their passion for the film and experience with releasing documentaries was the right fit. The fact that they are committing to a seven figure distribution budget is a great marker for the passion they have for the film. ”

Directed by Bill Haney (“The Price of Sugar”), the film was written by Haney and Peter Rhodes, produced by Clara Bingham, Eric Grunebaum, Bill Haney, and executive produced by Tim Disney and Tim Rockwood.

MJ Peckos commented, “I’m thrilled to once again be working with filmmaker Bill Haney whose talent and passion have and will continue to inspire audiences worldwide. The amazing beauty and power of the film and the tremendous audience reaction in Sundance confirms my convictions that “The Last Mountain” can have the same effect that Oscar winners “The Cove” and “An Inconvenient Truth” had.”

THE LAST MOUNTAIN will be released theatrically on June 3, 2011, in the top 20 US markets.

MJ Peckos is President of Dada Films and Bill Haney is the director, co-writer and one of the producers of THE LAST MOUNTAIN.

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