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Sundance 2014 Acquisitions: NIGHT COMES FOR US, THE BABADOOK, FRANK

Sundance Film Festival

Sundance Film Festival Theatrical Acquisitions. At the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, Fed Up, Frank, The Babadook, and The Night Comes For Us have had their theatrical distribution bought by various distribution companies. RADIUS-TWC has acquired Fed Up and The Night Comes For Us, Magnolia Pictures acquired Frank, and IFC Midnight has acquired The Babadook.

On RADIUS-TWC’s acquisition of Fed Up:

RADIUS-TWC…acquir[ed] worldwide distribution rights to Fed Up, the Katie Couric-narrated documentary about the alarming and rising rate of obese children in America.

Fed Up was directed by Stephanie Soechtig, and produced by Sarah Olson and Eve Marson. Along with narrating, Couric is exec producer with Laurie David, Regina Scully, Heather Reisman, and Atlas Films’ Michael Walrath and Michelle Walrath. Deal was negotiated by Cinetic Media on behalf of the filmmakers.

On IFC Midnight’s acquisition of The Babadook:

IFC Midnight…[has] snagged [the] U.S. and Latin America rights to the chiller from Aussie newcomer Jennifer Kent. Essie Davis stars in the pic as a widowed single mother who connects with her troubled son (then six-year-old Noah Wiseman) by reading a bedtime storybook that unleashes a shadowy monster in their home. Kent wrote and directed the Sundance Midnighter selection which also stars Daniel Henshall, Hayley McElhinney, Barbara West, and Ben Winspear. Causeway Films’ Kristina Ceyton produced with Kristian Moliere, with backing from Screen Australia. Jonathan Page, Michael Tear, Jan Chapman, and Jeff Harrison exec produced the pic

The official press release on Frank’s Sundance Film Festival acquisition:

Park City, UT (January 24, 2014) – The Wagner/Cuban Company’s Magnolia Pictures announced today that they have acquired North American rights to FRANK, an offbeat comedy that just had its world premiere to critical acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival. Directed by Lenny Abrahamson (What Richard Did, Garage, Adam & Paul), the film was written by Jon Ronson (The Men Who Stare At Goats) and Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy). FRANK stars Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gylenhaal, Scoot McNairy and Michael Fassbender as the titular character, a brilliant and eccentric musician who wears a giant fake head at all times.

FRANK was produced by Ed Guiney, David Barron and Stevie Lee, and executive producers are Tessa Ross, Katherine Butler, Andrew Lowe and Nigel Williams. FRANK is an Element Pictures/Runaway Fridge production for Film4, BFI, Protagonist Pictures and the Irish Film Board.

Gleeson plays Jon, a wannabe musician who finds himself out of his depth when he joins a maverick pop band led by the enigmatic Frank (Fassbender)—a musical genius who hides himself inside a large fake head—and his terrifying sidekick Clara (Gyllenhaal). It is a fictional story loosely inspired by Frank Sidebottom, the persona of cult musician and comedy legend Chris Sievey, as well as other outsider musicians like Daniel Johnston and Captain Beefheart.

“All of us at Magnolia were completely taken with FRANK,” said Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles. “It reaffirms the considerable talents of Lenny Abrahamson, who has delivered a beautiful, poignant and hilarious film that speaks on many levels about being an artist. That Michael Fassbender can be so affecting while encased in a papier-mâché head proves that he is one of the greatest actors working today.”

Speaking from Park City Lenny Abrahamson said: “I’m delighted that FRANK has found a home in the US with Magnolia. Eamonn Bowles was an early fan of my first film, Adam & Paul, and I know that the team there has a genuine passion for FRANK. Along with their skill and experience this makes them the right partners to bring the film to its audience here.”

Producer Ed Guiney said “Magnolia is an incredibly innovative and exciting company and we have long wanted to work with them. They are the perfect partners for FRANK and we could not be happier that we have landed with them and we are very excited about their plans for the US.”

The deal was negotiated for Magnolia by SVP of Acquisitions Dori Begley and Director of Acquisitions John Von Thaden, with WME and Protagonist Pictures on behalf of the filmmakers. Protagonist is handling worldwide sales.

Magnolia is eyeing a summer 2014 theatrical release for the film.

The official press release on The Night Comes For Us‘ Sundance Film Festival acquisition:





(Park City, UTAH) January 20, 2014 –  RADiUS-TWC is proud to announce that it has acquired North American rights to the upcoming action thriller THE NIGHT COMES FOR US, which will reunite Timo Tjahjanto (KILLERS, THE ABCs OF DEATH) and Gareth Evans (THE RAID: REDEMPTION) for their second collaboration behind the camera. Timo will direct while Gareth will produce and handle action direction.

THE NIGHT COMES FOR will also reunite the stars from the highly-successful THE RAID: REDEMPTION, with martial arts phenom Iko Uwais providing the film’s action choreography. Taslim (also seen in the 6th installment of THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS) and Yayan Ruhian will star in the lead roles.

Evans will produce alongside Maya Barack Evans of PT Merantau Films and XYZ Films’ Nate Bolotin, Aram Tertzakian, Nick Spicer and Todd Brown.

This crime thriller centers around a mobster (Taslim) who returns to his local crime family in Jakarta only to find himself trapped in a word of betrayal and chaos.

According to RADiUS co-presidents Tom Quinn and Jason Janego: “Timo and Gareth are leading the way for a whole new generation of genre directors. We’re big fans of theirs and couldn’t be more excited to come aboard early.”

XYZ Films goes on to say:  “We are thrilled to collaborate with RADiUS on what we believe will be the next chapter in action film from Indonesia. Tom and Jason’s genuine passion for the genre and support of the filmmaking team’s vision is precisely what we are looking for in a North American distribution partner.

RADiUS has slated a 2015 release.

Quinn and Janego negotiated the deal with Bolotin and Spicer.

XYZ executive produced and handled international sales on the hit action film THE RAID: REDEMPTION, which was released by Sony Pictures Classics. They are also handling international sales on Sundance competition film LIFE AFTER BETH, starring Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, Anna Kendrick, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Matthew Gray Gubler, Cheryl Hines, and Paul Reiser.

XYZ Films produced and is handling world sales on THE RAID 2, from writer/director Gareth Huw Evans as well as KILLERS, co-directed by Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Stamboel (The Mo Brothers). Both films are world premiering at Sundance 2014. XYZ also executive produced horror film DEAD SNOW: RED VS. DEAD, which also has its world premiere at Sundance.

RADiUS-TWC is the boutique label from the Weinstein Company (TWC) and the first studio division dedicated to both multi-platform VOD and theatrical distribution. Utilizing both traditional and digital media, RADiUS-TWC brings the highest quality films and other specialty entertainment to a wider audience than ever before. Founded and led by Tom Quinn and Jason Janego, the label continues to develop innovative distribution strategies to make marquee content available to consumers where, when and how they want it. The label’s inaugural slate included such films as BACHELORETTE (the first multi-platform film to hit #1 on iTunes and the only multi-platform release to ever reach #4 for top Cable VOD performers) and Cannes competition entry ONLY GOD FORGIVES directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and starring Ryan Gosling and Kristen Scott Thomas. Recent releases include: Morgan Neville’s Oscar nominated 20 FEET FROM STARDOM; Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s LOVELACE; Zachary Heinzerling’s Oscar nominated CUTIE AND THE BOXER (Sundance U.S. Documentary Directing Award), Jacob Kornbluth’s INEQUALITY FOR ALL (Sundance U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award); Jonathan Levine’s long awaited horror debut ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE; Stacie Passon’s CONCUSSION and Keanu Reeves’ directorial debut – MAN OF TAI CHI in which he also stars.  In 2014, RADiUS’ slate features (among others): BLUE RUIN (winner of the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize at the Cannes Film Festival), Errol Morris’ THE UNKNOWN KNOWN, Mike Myers’ directorial debut – SUPERMENSCH: THE LEGEND OF SHEP GORDON and Alexandre Aja’s HORNS starring Daniel Radcliffe both of which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival this year.

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Source: Deadline (1, 2, 3)


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Rollo Tomasi

A Political Science and MBA grad who started FilmBook during an eCommerce B-School course in 2008. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook, he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions. He has also created and Trending

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