Sundance 2011 has just finished its first weekend and my Google Reader is ablaze with news, notes, reviews and other interesting tidbits from the festival. On the acquisition side of things, outside of the whole Kevin Smith debacle, business appears to be in full gear. Some notable sales:
Martha Marcy May Marlene, written and directed by T. Sean Durkin, “stars Elizabeth Olsen as Martha, a damaged woman haunted by painful memories and increasing paranoia, who struggles to re-assimilate with her family after fleeing a cult.” Fox Searchlight picked it up and they’re aiming for a 2011 release.
Homework, written and directed by Gavin Wiesen, stars Freddie Highmore as George, “a lonely and fatalistic teen who’s made it all the way to his senior year without ever having done a real day of work, who is befriended by Sally, a beautiful and complicated girl who recognizes in him a kindred spirit.” Highmore shares casting credits with Emma Roberts, Michael Angarano, Elizabeth Reaser, Rita Wilson, Sam Robards and Blair Underwood. This too was nabbed by Fox Searchlight and they’re planning on releasing it this year.
The Weinsteins picked up the Paul Rudd-starring My Idiot Brother, directed by Jesse Peretz and written by Evgenia Peretz and David Schisgall. In it, Rudd stars as Ned Rochlin, a dude who “looks for the good in every situation and in everyone, which often puts him at odds with the world around him – especially his family. Upon being released from jail for a stupid mistake, Ned is kicked off of the organic farm he lives and works on by his ex-girlfriend Janet ( Kathryn Hahn) who also insists on keeping his beloved dog, Willie Nelson. Having nowhere else to go, he turns to his family, three ambitious sisters ( Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer) and an overbearing mother (Shirley Knight). Ned crashes at each of their homes, in succession, and brings honesty, happiness and a sunny disposition into their lives. In other words, he wreaks havoc.”
IFC snatched up the Matthew Chapman-directed The Ledge, which stars Charlie Hunnam, Liv Tyler, Patrick Wilson, Terence Howard and Christopher Gorham. In it, “the opposing philosophies of two men embroiled in a complicated love triangle with a beautiful woman (Tyler) escalate into a lethal battle of wills. Ultimately, the believer (Wilson) forces the non-believer (Hunnam) onto the ledge of a tall building. He gives him one hour to make a choice between his own life and someone else’s, a while a policeman (Howard) tries to convince him to come down. Without faith of an afterlife, will he be capable of such a sacrifice?”
National Geographic Films snatched up Life in a Day, the crowd-sourced YouTube documentary that was produced by Kevin Macdonald and Ridley Scott. The 90-minute film was edited together from 80,000 submitted clips that were all shot on July 24th, 2010. This actually sounds rather fascinating.
As does Silent House, the horror film by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau (of Open Water fame). The plot of the movie (which also stars Elisabeth Olsen) is pretty simple – girl moves into a house that may be haunted. But what seems to be generating the most buzz here is that the entire film is “told in real time in one continuous take, just as Sarah [Olsen] sees – and experiences – it.” Hm. Sounds interesting enough (who doesn’t love a good tracking shot?), though there is some skepticism as to whether or not the claim is actually accurate.
In other news, THR is reporting that the new Dito Montiel (A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints) -directed, Al Pacino- and Katie Holmes-starring crime drama, The Son of No One, premiered today to a room full(-ish) of festival patrons and acquisition execs. And apparently practically everyone walked out. There hasn’t been any word yet as to why everyone shunned the flick (and a quick Google search didn’t turn up much in the way of reviews), but even though this doesn’t necessarily hurt the film’s chance to pick up some distro, it certainly doesn’t help.
We’ll bring you more as we hear it!