Winter's Bone wins dramatic prize and distribution at Sundance

In an awards ceremony that featured David Hyde Pierce performing a rap song which name-checked the films in contention, the winner of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival dramatic Grand Jury Prize was Winter’s Bone directed by Debra Granik, adapted from the novel by David Woodrell. (The complete list of Sundance winners is here.)

However, it was Roadside Attractions who was the big winner, according to Variety, because they were able to pick up the North American distribution rights for perhaps under half a million dollars, outbidding and outlasting Apparition, Samuel Goldwyn Films, Sony Pictures Classics, and the Weinstein Co.

The film, for which Granik and Anne Rosellini also won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award, stars Jennifer Lawrence (Lauren Pearson from “The Bill Engvall Show”) as a teen living in the Ozarks whose meth-dealing father has put up the family home as a bond against being held in jail till his court appearance and has since disappeared. It’s up to the teen to conduct her own “Dog the Bounty Hunter”-style hunt, and she doesn’t even have a black SUV or a large bosomed-assistant/wife at her disposal.

Two other films also picked up distribution deals:

The Killer Inside Me: No matter what you say, Gordon and Anne Thompson, I’m not sure I want to see this film which was decried by audience members just minutes after finishing up its screening for scenes of graphic violence between its star deputy sherrif Casey Affleck upon his prostitute lover Jessica Alba. I’m lucky enough that I will not be triggered upon seeing the movie, but there are very many people who will not be. There’s a long conversation to be had about the value of graphic violence in film, but I think I’ll save it for another article.

IFC Films is the lucky studio that picked up the rights for just over $1 million for the film which was directed by Michael Winterbottom and adapted from the 1952 novel by Jim Thompson (who also wrote the novel which was the basis for The Grifters).

Blue Valentine: Written/directed by Derek Cianfrance and starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as a married couple on the verge of divorce, The Weinstein Co. picked up the North American theatrical and Pan-Asian satellite rights for something in the “low seven figures,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Including the previously announced pick-ups and that of the documentaries Family Affair and Waiting for Superman, the international rights sale of Holy Rollers and the U.S. distribution of foreign language Contracorriente (aka Undertow), this brings the total number of deals made at Sundance to 10; many are taking that to be an indicator that the industry has bounced back:

“There’s a sense of relief and comfort that the market is still pretty healthy,” said Micah Green, co-head of [Creatie Artists Agency]’s film finance group. “The pace of sales is more deliberate now. If you check back in three to four months, I think you’ll find more films will have sold than in previous years. The market is more fragmented, so there’s less of a herd mentality. People are responding more to the films than who else is chasing them.”

Let’s just hope the industry’s also strong enough to support the sale of two large film catalogs, eh?

Posted on February 1, 2010 at 07:13 by Trisha Lynn · Permalink
In: News