Sundance is coming to an end, and big contracts for films like "Fair Play," "Flora and Son," and "Theater Camp" have reopened in a big way. And while the market was good, there are still a lot of films that need to be bought.
After the festival, here's what we're following.
Searchlight Pictures' title is "Magazine Dreams" section.
"Magazine Dreams," an intense drama directed by Elijah Bynum, has been purchased worldwide by Searchlight Pictures. The film was not part of a typical late-night bidding war, but several buyers were in the mix.
Majors in 'Magazine Dreams' plays a reclusive and socially awkward amateur bodybuilder with ambitions of fame and recognition flexing on a magazine cover. The film has drawn comparisons to Martin Scorsese classics like 'Taxi Driver' and 'The King of Comedy' for its disturbing spiral, which takes some truly terrible and bloody turns.
The film was selected for the Jury Award for Creative Vision in the U.S. Dramatic Competition out of Sundance, and it was the subject of some unfortunate controversy when the Sundance competition jury walked out of its premiere screening due to a closed captioning issue, prompting the jury to ask other filmmakers to show their films with open captions if available.
Haley Bennett, Taylour Paige, Harrison Page, Michael O'Hearn, and Harriet Sansom Harris are all actors in Majors, and the filmmakers worked together. CAA brokered the deal.
The film's release schedule will be revealed at a later date.
"Shayda" Section: Sony Pictures Classics' World Cinema Dramatic Distributor
'Shayda' isn't just the winner of the audience award at Sundance's World Cinema Dramatic Competition, it's also executive produced by Cate Blanchett's Dirty Films and features Cannes' Best Actress winner from last year, Zar Amir Ebrahimi, leading Sony Pictures Classics to buy the film's rights in North America as well as other countries.
"Shayda" is a title Iranian woman living in Australia who finds refuge in a women's shelter with her 6-year-old daughter, Mona. Having fled her husband, Hossein, and filed for divorce, Shayda struggles to maintain normalcy and establish a new life for Mona.
Noora Niasari, an Iranian-Australian filmmaker, directed and wrote the film based on her own personal experiences and made her debut with the project out of Sundance. "Shayda" is a production of Origma 45, produced by Vincent Sheehan and Niasari in partnership with Dirty Films, Parandeh Pictures, and The 51 Fund.
HanWay Films will sell the remaining international territories and will present SHAYDA to buyers in the upcoming EFM. Metropolitan have been appointed as the French distributor. Local distribution in Australia and New Zealand will be handled by Madman Entertainment. Niasari is represented by United Talent Agency and Granderson Des Rochers, LLP.
Bleecker Street is a US Dramatic Distributor of "The Starling Girl" sections.
Bleecker Street has acquired the rights to a new film from the same author-director, "The Starling Girl." Eliza Scanlen ("Little Women," "Sharp Objects") is a 17-year-old girl who struggles to define her identity within her fundamentalist Christian church in rural Kentucky. Even her greatest joy — the church dance group — is tempered by worry that her love of dance is actually sinful.
Lewis Pullman, Jimmi Simpson, Wrenn Schmidt, and Austin Abrams star alongside Scanlen. In his IndieWire review, David Ehrlich characterized the film as a "sensitive and devilish coming-of-age drama."
"The Starling Girl" will be released on DVD later this year by Bleecker Street. Executive producers include Jessamine Burgum, Will Greenfield, Douglas Choi, Martina Bassenger, Chris Stolte, Heidi Stolte, William Reedy, Emily Reedy, and David Hinojosa.
Miranda King and Avy Eschenasy on behalf of Bleecker Street and UTA Independent Film Group and WME Independent on behalf of the filmmakers, reached an agreement.
Section: Sony Pictures Classics in the United States: "The Persian Version"
Sony Pictures Classics won the North American rights to "The Persian Version," which won the Audience Award in the U.S. Dramatic Competition out of Sundance.
"The Persian Version" is a colorful and pop-music-inflected film about an Iranian-American woman named Leila who is attempting to find the perfect marriage between her two different cultures. She navigates her relationships from arm's length in an effort to keep her "real" life separate from her mother's.
Keshavarz' film received a standing ovation upon its premiere at Sundance, and the film also received a screenwriting award from The Waldo Salt.
Keshavarz for Marakesh Films, Anne Carey for Archer Gray Productions, Peter Block and Cory Neal for A Bigger Boat star in the film. Layla Mohammadi, Niousha Noor, Bijan Daneshmand, Bella Warda, Tom Byrne, and Shervin Alenabi
With Stage 6 Films, UTA Independent Film Group represented US rights. Keshavarz is represented by UTA, Anne Damato, and Victoria Cook at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz.
“Nam June Paik: The Moon Is the Oldest TV”
"Nam June Paik: Moon Is the Oldest TV" Section: Greenwich Entertainment/PBS Films is the distributor for documentaries in the United States.
Greenwich Entertainment purchased all rights (excluding television) to "Nam June Paik: Moon Is the Oldest TV," which is directed and produced by Amanda Kim and competed in the United States Documentary Competition.
Nam June Paik, widely regarded as the "George Washington of Video Art," is the subject of a documentary that chronicles Paik's artistic journey, from his childhood education in Munich to his later involvement in the New York art scene. Paik's future is now our present, and "Nam June Paik: Moon Is the Oldest TV" explains how we got here.
Films We Like has acquired Canadian rights and will release the film theatrically simultaneously with Greenwich, including Korea. A Korean distribution agreement and streaming (SVOD) partner will be announced shortly.
David Koh of Curatorial, on behalf of the filmmakers and producers, and Ed Arentz, Co-President of Greenwich Entertainment, Michael Kantor of American Masters Pictures, and Ron Mann of Films We Like.
"The Eternal Memory" Section: MTV Documentary Films: World Cinema Documentary Distributor
'The Eternal Memory,' directed by Maite Alberdi, has been acquired worldwide on Friday, January 27. MTV is planning a theatrical release along with a "robust awards campaign," in order to win Alberdi another Oscar nomination.
"The Eternal Memory" chronicles a couple who have been together for 25 years, eight of which have involved the husband's diagnosis with Alzheimer's disease. Augusto, the man with Alzheimer's, is also one of Chile's most famous cultural commentators and television producers known for covering the Pinochet dictatorship. And the film depicts how he tries to maintain his identity, while keeping his connection with his partner intact.
Maite Alberdi, Pablo Larran, and Roco Jadue directed the film. It is executive produced by Marcela Santibaez, Daniela Sandoval, Nicholas Hooper, Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, and Rebecca Lichtenfeld.
"The Eternal Memory" is a Micromundo and Fabula film. Submarine and United Talent Agency Independent Film Group negotiated the deal with MTV Documentary Films on behalf of the filmmakers. Maite Alberdi is also represented by UTA.
Midnight Distributor: A24 Title: "Talk to Me" Section
A24 didn't have enough films to fill the Sundance slot this year, according to an insider. "Talk to Me," a film by twin brothers Danny and Michael Philippou, better known as Australian YouTubers RackaRacka, has just been signed. The film was premiered in the Midnight section at Sundance, and is about a new party trend among teenagers that involves performing séances with the dead. But as one youngster performs her own séance that goes wrong, the boundaries between the living
Variety reported that A24 purchased the film in a high seven-figure agreement, and it is expected to have a theatrical release sometime this summer.
The transaction was handled by Bankside Films.
Premieres Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics in Title: "A Little Prayer"
Sony Pictures Classics bought "A Little Prayer," the most recent film from "Junebug," according to IndieWire. Jane Levy, David Strathairn, Will Pullen, Anna Camp, and Celia Weston star in this family drama set in a small town in North Carolina.
Within 24 hours of its premiere at The Ray Theatre on Monday, SPC picked up "A Little Prayer" out of the Premieres section of the festival. The film was confirmed on January 27 that it had acquired worldwide rights to the film. No release dates were set.
The sale was handled by WME Independent.
Premieres Distributor: MUBI in Title: "Passages" Section
MUBI, an art house streamer, has acquired the rights to Ira Sachs' "Passages," a film about a filmmaker (Rogowski) who cheats on his husband (Whishaw) with a woman, only to grow into a jealousy when his husband pursues his own new relationship.
MUBI will release "Passages" on theatrical later this year, following an international premiere in the Berlin Film Festival's Panorama section next month.
Sachs' eighth feature, not to mention his sixth feature to premiere at Sundance, is starring Sad Ben Sad (“Elle”) and Michel Merkt (“Toni Erdmann”). IndieWire dubbed the film "raw and persuasive" in its outtake of the festival.
WME Independent and SBS International brokered the deal with MUBI. Sachs is represented by WME and Fusion Entertainment.
Premiere Distributor: Apple TV+ in "Flora and Son" Section
Apple acquired worldwide rights to John Carney's musical romance and comedy "Flora and Son" from Sundance on January 24 in a deal that an individual with knowledge claims to be in the high eight figures, with some reports estimating it to be as high as $20 million.
"Flora and Son" is about a mother in Ireland who bonds more deeply with her troubled son (Orén Kinlan) through their shared guitar interest. She receives guitar instruction from Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is half a world away.
In "Flora and Son," a global box office success in 2007 won the Oscar for Best Original Song for "Falling Slowly." Since then, filmmaker John Carney has carved out a unique path as a storyteller of small character studies, often with a musical flair.
Apple made a splash in 2021 when it bought "CODA," a Sundance audience and jury award winner, for $25 million, which paid out with a Best Picture award. Last year, "Cha Cha Real Smooth," became the next Audience Award winner.
The sale was co-repped by WME, Fifth Season, and Film Nation.
Sundance Institute's Courtesy
Searchlight, a US Dramatic Distributor, has published the title "Theater Camp."
Ben Platt, Jimmy Tatro, Noah Galvin, Owen Thiele, and Gordon themselves are among the most well-known actors to acquire "Theater Camp" on January 23, according to an insider. The film is a love letter to drama teachers and the ability to go from mundane to bizarre quite quickly.
Gordon and Lieberman identified "Waiting for Guffman" and "Forbidden Broadway," a film based on a mockumentary.
Searchlight, which will release the film theatrically and announce its release date at a later date, is clearly hoping for another mainstream crossover comedy success, in the vein of "Napoleon Dynamite" and "Little Miss Sunshine," which the studio steered to big successes when it was still Fox Searchlight.
The transaction was brokered by WME Independent.
Netflix's "Fair Play" Section is distributed by the United States.
Netflix is approaching the global rights to "Fair Play," according to IndieWire, and the film's star is Eddie Masran and Rich Sommer, who competed in the US Dramatic Competition.
According to reports, as many as seven distributors have bid for the rights to "Fair Play," including Searchlight and Neon being among them. MRC is the studio that produced the film and also handled the sales rights.
Rian Johnson and Ram Bergman from T-Street are executive producers for "Fair Play," the first in a collaboration between T-Street and MRC that supports emerging talent. Domont has directed episodes of "Billions," "Suits," and "Ballers."
Magnolia Distributor: Title: "Kokomo City" Section
Magnolia has been active as following the theatrical release of "Little Richard: I Am Everything" earlier in the festival, the indie distributor conducted an all-night negotiation to acquire worldwide rights to "Kokomo City," the Grammy-nominated producer and singer's directorial debut.
Smith, a trans performer well-known for "Love & Hip Hop Atlanta," directed, wrote, and edited this documentary shot in all black and white, that opens the door to a discussion about four Black transgender sex workers in Atlanta and New York City who fight to remove the walls of their profession.
Magnolia will release it later this year following a screening at Berlin Panorama. CAA Media Finance brokered the deal with Magnolia.
"Little Richard, I Am Everything."
Sundance Institute's Courtesy
“Little Richard: I Am Everything” Section: Magnolia/CNN Films as a Documentary Distributor in the United States
Magnolia has purchased the worldwide theatrical rights to distribute "Little Richard: I Am Everything" in domestic cinemas this April. And the film will still air on CNN later this year following its theatrical run.
This documentary about Little Richard by Lisa Cortés (“Precious”) is directed by Bungalow Media + Entertainment for CNN Films and HBO Max, in collaboration with Rolling Stone Films.
"I Am Everything" is a Day One film at Sundance, but it's also one of six final long-form films from CNN Films that were written by outside producers and filmmakers.
Netflix's Midnight Distributor: "Run Rabbit Run"
Sarah Snook, who plays a fertility doctor known for "The Shining Girls" and "The Handmaid's Tale," has written the script. The film was shot on location in Melbourne, Australia, and other countries.
"Run Rabbit Run" was bought worldwide by Netflix as the festival commenced on Thursday, and it will be released later in 2023. XYZ Films co-financed the film, handled international sales, and brokered the deal with Netflix.
Amazon Prime Video for "In My Mother's Skin" Section
“In My Mother’s Skin” was purchased by Amazon hours before Sundance began its film run. The film is the only Filipino film to be played in the Midnight section, as well as the only international feature that is being directed by Kenneth Dagatan, who directed 2018’s “Ma.” The film stars Beauty Gonzalez, Felicity Kyle Napuli, Jasmine Curtis-Smith, and Angeli Bayani.
“This is a significant opportunity for Filipino filmmakers to be seen by the international public,” Dagatan said in part in an official statement.
Amazon Prime Video has acquired worldwide rights to the title and intends to release "In My Mother's Skin" by the end of 2023.
Children of "Other People"
George Lechaptois/Les Films Velvet is a courtesy of Les Films Velvet.
Section: Spotlight Distributor: Music Box Films: Title: "Other People's Children"
Rebecca Zlotowski's family drama "Other People's Children," which premiered at Venice in competition, will have its U.S. premiere at Sundance on January 20. The film stars Virginie Efira, Roschdy Zem, and Chiara Mastroianni, who both said her performance was "delightfully French."
"Other People's Children" is set to be released this spring in theaters and on home entertainment platforms.
Section: Spotlight Distributor: Utopia: "Squaring the Circle (The Story of Hipgnosis)"
Anton Corbijn ("Control," "The American") returns to his roots in rock music history, this time with the help of artists such as Paul McCartney, Roger Waters, and Jimmy Page. These artists collaborated on films such as "Band on the Run," "Dark Side of the Moon," and "Houses of the Holy," which is a must-see movie for classic rockers.
"Squaring the Circle" will be shown in the Spotlight section of Telluride in 2022. Utopia, which acquired the film on January 6, is planning a summer release.
Spotlight Distributor: Oscilloscope in the Title: "Joyland" Section
Malala Yousafzai and Ramin Bahrani have worked on this film, which was the first Pakistani film to premiere at Cannes. "Joyland" is a story about a young man as a backup dancer in a Bollywood-style burlesque show, only to fall in love with a trans woman who leads the show.
Oscilloscope acquired "Joyland" on January 6 and plans to release it theatrically later this year.
Midnight Distributor: Paramount
"My Animal" is a horror film and romance starring Bobbi Salvör Menuez ("Under the Silver Lake") and Amandla Stenberg ("The Hate U Give"), who meet in a small town only for one girl's growing desires to slowly conflict with her darker animal instincts within (translation: she's a werewolf). The script was written by Jae Matthews ("The Runner."
Before the festival, Paramount Worldwide Acquisition Group purchased worldwide rights to "My Animal," although whether or not the film will be theatrical, distributed via Paramount+, or another channel remains to be seen.
Netflix's "The Deepest Breath" Section Has Premiered
Laura McGann, an Irish filmmaker, directs a documentary about a world-class freediver who is training to dive a world record with the help of an expert safety diver. The film explores not only the hidden depths of the ocean, but the emotional bond between the two divers.
"The Tinder Swindler," a documentary on Netflix, was co-written with A24, along with Motive Films, Ventureland, and RAW.
Premieres Distributor: A24 in Title: "Past Lives"
Greta Lee, Teo Yoo, and John Magar0 star in this South Korean romance, which is the first feature from playwright Celine Song (“Endlings”) following its Sundance premiere. The film will be released following the premiere at Sundance.
Section: "Earth Mama": Premieres Distributor: A24
"Earth Mama" is a film from A24 that follows a pregnant single mother with two young children in foster care, who embraces her Bay Area community as she fights to reclaim her family. After earning a Grammy nomination for "This Land," Gary Clark Jr.'s film "This Land"
Title: "Stephen Curry: Underrated": Premieres Distributor: Apple TV+
"Underrated" is a documentary on Golden State Warriors icon Stephen Curry that examines Curry's journey from being a low-rated, undersized college student at a Division I school to becoming a 4-time NBA champion. Through its partnership with A24, Ryan Coogler produces and directs this film that will launch later this year on Apple TV+.
Title: "Infinity Pool" Section: Midnight Distributor: Neon and Topic
Brandon Cronenberg, the son of David Cronenberg, is returning to Sundance for his follow-up to "Possessor." Early buzz suggests that he delivers. This Midnight title follows a couple on an all-inclusive vacation that uncovers a bizarre subculture of bizarre horrors and hedonistic tourism following a fatal accident.
Neon and Topic signed on to the festival with the rights to "Infinity Pool," and immediately released a disturbing and bizarre trailer, which will now premiere on January 27.
Title: "Still: A Michael J. Fox Story" Section: Premieres Distributor: Apple TV+
Davis Guggenheim's first documentary feature in seven years follows "Back to the Future" icon Michael J. Fox in a film that chronicles this Canadian kid's meteoric rise to fame and how his life was altered when he was diagnosed with Parkinson's at the age of 29. The film is described as a playful and humorous account of an "eternal optimist" dealing with the unthinkable.
Apple TV+ is getting ready to release "Still" and purchased the rights to it back in April.
Premieres Distributor: MGM in Title: "Landscape with Invisible Hand" Section
Cory Finley (Thoroughbreds, Bad Education) returns to Sundance with a story based on M.T. Anderson's National Book Award winner. It's a darkly comedic sci-fi and coming-of-age tale about two teenagers who have to livestream their courtship to curious alien invaders in order to survive and survive after advanced alien technology has rendered all but the richest humans obsolete.
United Artists Releasing of MGM is producing a film backed by Annapurna and Brad Pitt's Plan B, which also includes Tiffany Haddish, Michael Gandolfini, William Jackson Harper, and Clifton Collins Jr.
"You Hurt My Feelings," says the narrator.
Sundance Institute/A24 provides information on the subject.
Premieres Distributor: A24: "You Hurt My Feelings" Section
Julia Louis-Dreyfus returns with her "Enough Said" director Nicole Holofcener for a dramedy about a well-known New York novelist who is surprised and surprised when she learns that her husband of decades has disapproved of her latest novel. The film also stars Michaela Watkins and Arian Moyaed.
Premieres Distributor for "Cassandro" Section: Amazon Prime Video
Gael Garca Bernal plays a gay luchador who is tired of losing and tired of hiding behind a mask during his wrestling matches but manages to break barriers within the lucha libre circuit by establishing an eccentric "exótico" character that takes the audience by storm. The film is being released on Amazon Prime Video.
"Judy Blume Forever" Section: Premieres Distributor: Amazon Prime Video
Davina Pardo and Leah Wolchok (“Very Semi-Serious”) co-direct this documentary about Judy Blume, one of literature's most influential children's authors. The documentary also chronicles followers' sincere letters to the author over the years.
The Imagine Documentaries of Ron Howard and Brian Grazer are now available on Amazon Prime Video.
Section: "L'immensita": Spotlight Distributor: Music Box Films
Penélope Cruz plays a mother who develops a stronger connection with her adolescent son who is just beginning to discover their transgender identity in this '70s period drama set in Rome, and earlier reviews have praised Cruz's performance and its Italian pop music soundtrack.
"L'immensita" is coming to the United States, while Warner Bros. Italy has the Italian distribution rights. It was first shown at the Venice Film Festival.
Focus Features: U.S. Dramatic Distributor: "A Thousand and One" Section
“A Thousand and One” is a Sundance Lab alumnus who makes the feature debut in a 1990s New York film about a mother who kidnaps her 6-year-old son from a foster home and attempts to rebuild a new life. The film has been around for years and is anticipated to feature a star-making turn from Teyana Taylor, a musician and singer.
Focus Features has already set a theatrical release date for the film for March 31, 2023.
Premieres Distributor: Searchlight Pictures: "Rye Lane" Section
Raine Allen-Miller's feature film "Rye Lane" is a hidden under-the-radar feature film about two 20-somethings who meet up and savor the city of London after having to confront some unsettling recent breakups. Searchlight Pictures is now available.
Section: "All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt": American Dramatic Distributor: A24
Raven Jackson's feature directorial debut is "All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt," which manages to twist the film medium in surprising poetic and lyrical ways. The film follows a Mississippian woman's development from her childhood to adulthood.
A24 is bringing two films to Sundance, but this one has the backing of Barry Jenkins and his Pastel banner.
Section: Kids Distributor: Sky Cinema/Viva Kids: "The Amazing Maurice"
The Amazing Maurice is based on a book of the same name and follows a street-smart cat who, along with a group of rats, develops a moneymaking scheme.
Emilia Jones, Hugh Laurie, Himesh Patel, and Gemma Arterton play the voices in The Sky Original, which will be released on February 3rd in the United States through distributor Viva Kids.
“The Eight Mountains” Section: Spotlight Distributor: Sideshow Releasing and Janus Films
This drama, directed by Felix van Groeningen (“Beautiful Boy”) and Charlotte Vandermeersch, who both graduated from Sundance, is set in Italy and is based on a novel about a youngster from the city visiting a mountain village during the summer.
After winning the Jury Prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival, Sideshow Releasing and Janus Films acquired "The Eight Mountains."
Brooke Shields' "Pretty Baby" Section: ABC News on Hulu's Premiere Distributor
Brooke Shields, named after her breakout role when she was 12 years old, has been described as a fascinating and influential documentary about a teen model and icon. Lana Wilson, who most recently obtained some personal information from Taylor Swift for her documentary "Miss Americana," directs the film.
ABC News will air the two-part documentary on Hulu.
Section: World Cinema Documentary Distributor: Frontline/PBS (title: "20 Days in Mariupol")
Mstyslav Chernov, a Ukrainian filmmaker and AP News video journalist who fled the country in the early days of the invasion in Ukraine, was up close and personal with the Russian invasion of the city of Mariupol as one of the last international journalists to flee the country. Some of Chernov's films should already be familiar around the world, and in some instances has directly refuted Russian misinformation.
"20 Days in Mariupol" is part of a larger editorial collaboration between Frontline and AP, and will be distributed by PBS Distribution following its Sundance premiere.
Midnight Distributor: Shudder: Title: "birth/rebirth" Section
"birth/rebirth," a new perspective on the classic Frankenstein tale, follows a single mother and a doctor who bond after they recover a 6-year-old girl from the dead in a breakout role.
"birth/rebirth" is a Shudder original film that only began production in September of this year, and it will be released in North America in 2023.
"Murder in Big Horn" Section: Premieres Distributor: Showtime
The following three episodes of this Showtime docuseries will be presented by Sundance. Each episode investigates the disappearance of an Indigenous woman or girl who has disappeared from a reservation in the Big Horn region of Montana. The series is directed by Razelle Benally and Matthew Galkin.
The term "poliite society" is used interchangeably.
Focus Features: Midnight Distributor: "Polite Society" Section
"Polite Society," a different kind of Midnight film, is a hybrid of comedy, horror, and martial arts film that also makes its feature-directorial debut with "We Are Lady Parts" creator Nida Manzoor. The story follows an Indian girl who stages an elaborate heist in order to save her older sister from her upcoming marriage.
Focus Features will release "Polite Society" in cinemas on April 28, 2023.
Netflix's “Victim/Suspect” Section is distributed in the United States.
Nancy Schwartzman directs a documentary on a journalist who is investigating a number of instances of women reporting sexual assault to the cops, who are then accused of fabricating their accounts and charged with crimes of their own.
The Center for Investigative Reporting has partnered with Netflix on the feature.
HBO Documentary Distributor in the United States: "The Stroll" Section
"The Stroll" takes viewers back to New York in the 1990s, telling the story of the Meatpacking District in particular from the perspective of transgender sex workers. Its co-director Kristen Lovell walks the streets in that time herself, and is able to add an intimate, personal touch to the film.
Following its Sundance premiere, HBO Documentaries will air the film both on HBO and on HBO Max.
Christian Blauvelt provides further information.