24 January 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Amid an unexpected feeding frenzy at the Sundance Film Festival, indie mogul Harvey Weinstein continued to gobble up a smorgasbord of films. In the wake of deals for Grace Is Gone and a co-buy with Lionsgate of Teeth, the Weinstein Co., partnering with First Look Studios, bought worldwide rights to the Justin Theroux-directed romantic comedy Dedication for $4 million. Then, partnering with Fox Searchlight, it took world rights on the Mexican heart-tugger La Misma Luna for $5 million-$6 million.

"It's like Bloomingdale's before Christmas," said ThinkFilm's Mark Urman, who plunked down a hefty sum -- more than $2.5 million -- for the docu In the Shadow of the Moon. "It's a stronger collection of films. It's ironic that Sundance wanting to focus on films that were less commercial has made the festival more of a market than ever."

Paramount Vantage, which seemed to be staying out of the spotlight, announced Tuesday the acquisition of worldwide rights to two films, How She Move, for which it paid slightly $3 million in partnership with MTV Films, and Son of Rambow, the fest's biggest buy so far at about $7 million. Those two purchases were notable because neither film features any recognizable actors.

After the Cinetic Media party Monday night at Zoom, a number of deep-pocketed buyers, from Sony Pictures Classics to Lionsgate, jumped into yet another bidding war over the Mexican film Luna, directed by Patricia Riggen. The bilingual, border-crossing drama about a boy searching for his mother, eventually sold at dawn Tuesday to Searchlight and the Weinstein Co.

Weinstein and Searchlight president Peter Rice partnered on Zach Braff's 2004 Sundance pickup Garden State. Searchlight will take the lead in North America and South America, while the two companies will pick and choose which will handle international territories on a case-by-case basis, they said. They will split the global pot 50-50.

The film has the potential to reach Latin American moviegoers and a wide crossover audience not only in the U.S. but around the world, producer Ram Bergman said. "Harvey was passionate about the picture," he said. "He got the movie. The combination of Fox domestic and Weinstein international is the best of both worlds."

Luna stars recent Golden Globe winner America Ferrera (Ugly Betty) as well as Adrian Alonso (The Legend of Zorro). Written by Ligiah Villalobos, Riggen and Villalobos produced the film along with Gerardo Barrera, Norman Dreyfuss and Bergman.

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