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Sundance 2014 Acquisitions: TUSK, THE ONE I LOVE, CALVARY, I ORIGINS

Sundance Film Festival

Sundance Film Festival Theatrical Acquisitions. At the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, Tusk, The Skeleton Twins, God’s Pocket, Cold In July, Calvary, I Origins, and The One I Love have had their theatrical distribution bought by various distribution companies. XYZ Films has acquired Tusk, Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions have acquired The Skeleton Twins, IFC Films has acquired God’s Pocket and Cold in July, Fox Searchlight Pictures has acquired Calvary and I Origins, and Radius-TWC has acquired The One I Love.

The official press release on The Skeleton Twins‘ Sundance Film Festival Acquisition:

Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions, and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA) each announced today that the respective companies have acquired rights in all territories to Craig Johnson’s drama THE SKELETON TWINS. Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions have jointly acquired US rights to the film, while SPWA is taking all worldwide rights outside of the US. Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions are planning a theatrical release for the feature film in late summer 2014

THE SKELETON TWINS premiered this week in the US Dramatic Competition at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Co-written by Johnson and Mark Heyman, the film stars Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Luke Wilson, and Ty Burrell. A Duplass Brothers and Venture Forth Production, THE SKELETON TWINS is produced by Stephanie Langhoff, Jennifer Lee, and Jacob Pechenik, and executive produced by Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass, and Jared Ian Goldman. THE SKELETON TWINS was fully financed by Venture Forth.

Howard Cohen, Roadside Attractions Co-President, stated, “Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig give brilliant, breakout performances as a live wire but also out of control brother and sister who have to reconnect, and we fell in love with Craig Johnson’s amazingly assured film.”

In THE SKELETON TWINS, when estranged twins Maggie and Milo feel that they’re at the end of their ropes, an unexpected reunion forces them to confront why their lives went so wrong. As the twins reconnect, they realize the key to fixing their lives may just lie in repairing their relationship.

Craig Johnson’s first feature film, TRUE ADOLESCENTS, starring Mark Duplass and Melissa Leo, premiered at the 2009 SXSW Film Festival. He has written two films for 20th Century Fox and was a member of the inaugural Fox Writers Studio. He holds an MFA from NYU’s graduate film program and a BA in theatre from the University of Washington. THE SKELETON TWINS is his second feature.

The deals were negotiated by Jason Constantine, Lionsgate’s President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions, along with Eda Kowan and Wendy Jaffe on behalf of Lionsgate; Cohen on behalf of Roadside Attractions; SPWA’s Michael Helfand, Joe Matukewicz and Jon Freedberg for international territories; ICM Partners and UTA Independent Film Group on behalf of the film; with Jonathan Gray and André Des Rochers of Gray Krauss Stratford Sandler Des Rochers on behalf of the producers.

The official press release on Calvary‘s Sundance Film Festival Acquisition:

Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula announced today that the company has acquired U.S. rights as well as select international territories to the blackly comedic drama CALVARY.  Written and directed by John Michael McDonagh, CALVARY’s ensemble cast includes Brendan Gleeson, Chris O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aidan Gillen, Dylan Moran, Isaach De Bankolé, M. Emmet Walsh, Marie-Josée Croze, Domhnall Gleeson, David Wilmot, Pat Shortt, Gary Lydon, Killian Scott, Orla O’Rourke, Owen Sharpe and David McSavage.  The film was produced by Reprisal Films’ Chris Clark and Flora Fernandez Marengo and Octagon’s James Flynn, and is an Irish Film Board and BFI presentation in association with Lypsync Productions.  The film is scheduled to be released in 2014.

“Brendan Gleeson gives a tour de force performance in a film that John Michael McDonagh has written and directed with perfection, taking us into a world with distinctive characters where the stakes are high,” said Gilula and Utley.

“We made a great film. In Fox Searchlight, we now have a great company behind us to send that film out into the world. Thank you, Sundance. Thank you, bourbon! Onward,” said McDonagh.

“We were impressed by the passion and commitment of Fox Searchlight towards Calvary, and look forward to the next chapter for the film,” said Clark.

“We’ve found the perfect home for the film and are thrilled to be working with Steve and Nancy and their wonderful team at Fox Searchlight,” said Fernandez Marengo.

CALVARY’s Father James (Brendan Gleeson) is a good priest who is faced with sinister and troubling circumstances brought about by a mysterious member of his parish. Although he continues to comfort his own fragile daughter (Kelly Reilly) and reach out to help members of his church with their various scurrilous moral – and often comic – problems, he feels sinister and troubling forces closing in, and begins to wonder if he will have the courage to face his own personal Calvary.

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 and Vice President of Acquisitions & Co-Productions Ray Strache with UTA Independent Film Group and Protagonist Pictures on behalf of the film.

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 20th Century Fox Film.

The official press release on I Origins‘ Sundance Film Festival Acquisition:

PARK CITY, UT January 20, 2014 – Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley announced today that the company has acquired worldwide rights to the existential drama I ORIGINS. Directed and written by Mike Cahill, I ORIGINS is his second feature following ANOTHER EARTH which Fox Searchlight acquired at Sundance in 2011. The film stars Michael Pitt, Brit Marling, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Steven Yeun and Archie Panjabi with Cahill, Hunter Gray and Alex Orlovsky serving as producers. The film is scheduled to be released in 2014.

“Mike Cahill’s impressive second feature makes you question our very place in the universe by merging the scientific and emotional worlds in a deeply affecting way,” said Utley and Gilula. “The film boasts a superb cast led by Michael Pitt, and it is great to be reunited with Mike and Brit.”

“I am so excited to once again be home at Fox Searchlight, a place that I believe embraces creative passion and the future of cinematic storytelling,” said Cahill.

“I ORIGINS is a very special film for us at Verisimilitude. We know that Fox Searchlight is the perfect home for Mike’s innovative and utterly original work,” said Gray and Orlovsky.

Written and directed by Mike Cahill, and starring Michael Pitt, Brit Marling, and Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, I ORIGINS follows a molecular biologist whose study of the human eye points to evidence with far reaching implications about our scientific and spiritual beliefs.

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 and Vice President of Acquisitions & Co-Productions Ray Strache with WME Global and Andre des Rochers on behalf of the film and Shelley Surpin on behalf of the director. I ORIGINS is a Verisimilitude / WeWork Studios Production.

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 20th Century Fox Film.

The official press release on Tusk‘s Sundance Film Festival Acquisition:


A24 plans a wide theatrical release in the third quarter of 2014

Film stars Justin Long, Haley Joel Osment Genesis Rodriguez and Michael Parks

Los Angeles, CA (January 23, 2014) – XYZ Films has partnered with Demarest Films and A24 on Kevin Smith’s epic new horror film, TUSK, coming aboard to handle all international sales rights. The film, also written by Smith and born out of one of his immensely popular SModcasts, stars Justin Long, Haley Joel Osment, Genesis Rodriguez and Michael Parks. Demarest (A MOST WANTED MAN, MACHETE KILLS) financed and produced TUSK in partnership with New York-based distributor A24 (SPRING BREAKERS, THE BLING RING), who will release it wide in the third quarter of 2014. XYZ will be introducing the project, currently in production, to international buyers at the European Film Market in February.

TUSK is a modern-day monster movie that follows a journalist named Wallace (Long) who finds the story of a lifetime in Mr. Howe (Parks), a worldwide adventurer with amazing tales and a curious penchant for walruses.

“It’s an honor to support the work of Kevin Smith, a filmmaker we’ve revered for years. His bold and uncompromising vision for TUSK is a game-changer and one that we know will yield a memorable film that will leave audiences breathless,” says XYZ Films.

Demarest’s Sam Englebardt commented: “XYZ Films has incredible taste, particularly in the world of horror, so we are thrilled that they will be our partner on this groundbreaking film from Kevin Smith.”

Tusk was produced by Sam Englebardt, William D. Johnson, and David Greathouse for Demarest Films and Shannon McIntosh for Smith’s SModcast Pictures banner. Jennifer Schwalbach is executive producer.

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, which is 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.

About XYZ Films:

XYZ FILMS is an LA-based film production and sales company founded in 2008 by Bolotin, Spicer and Tertzakian, with partner Todd Brown joining the company in 2009.

About Demarest Films:

Funded with private capital, Demarest produces and finances a wide range of film and television projects. The firm was founded in 2011 by Johnson, Englebardt, and Michael Lambert.

About A24:

Launched in the summer of 2012, A24 is a New York-based media company focused on the distribution, financing and production and feature films.

On The One I Love‘s Sundance Film Festival Acquisition:

Radius-TWC that made the deal. Tom Quinn and Jason Janego’s division acquired worldwide rights to the Charlie McDowell-directed The One I Love for around $2 million, in a deal that happened 24 hours after the film debuted. The pic stars Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss and Ted Danson and is about a couple with a crumbling marriage that escapes for the weekend in pursuit of their better selves. What they discover awaiting them is an unusual dilemma.

Leave your thoughts on the Sundance Film Festival acquisitions below in the comments section. For more Sundance Film Festival news, photos, videos, and information, visit our Sundance Film Festival Page, subscribe to us by Email, “follow” us on Twitter, Tumblr, or “like” on Facebook.

Source: Slashfilm (1, 2, 3), Deadline


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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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