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Sundance: Fleming Q&As Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Buyers Circle His Helming Debut ‘Don Jon’s Addiction’

20 January 2013 12:40 PM, PST

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been a continuing source of surprise. After reinventing himself from 3rd Rock From the Sun child actor to the adult star of indie films Brick and The Lookout and studio blockbusters Lincoln, The Dark Knight Rises and Inception, Gordon-Levitt unveils a new side of himself in Park City as debut writer/director of Don Jon’s Addiction. A squarely R-rated comedy about a buff young ladies man who connects better to computer porn than his conquests, the film humorously explores the obstacles to honest emotional intimacy. Sundance sales so far have been limited to docus, as buyers and sellers circle each other warily. I expect that to end by tonight or tomorrow, when buyers begin to pounce on films like Fruitvale, Austenland, The Spectacular Now, Before Midnight, Prince Avalanche and Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. Don Jon’s Addiction might well be atop the buyer wish list, »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Sundance: AMC’s Sundance Selects Nabs ‘Dirty Wars’

20 January 2013 11:35 AM, PST

Can’t believe I’m writing this, but AMC’s Sundance Selects is so far dominating the acquisitions marketplace at the Sundance Film Festival, even if it’s doing small documentary deals. They’ve just bought North American on Dirty Wars, the Richard Rowley-directed pic. That follows yesterday’s deal for The Summit. Here’s the announcement:  Park City, Ut (January 20, 2013) – Sundance Selects announced today from the 2013 Sundance Film Festival that the company is acquiring North American rights to Richard Rowley’s Dirty Wars, which premiered in the U.S. documentary competition section. The film, with a screenplay by Jeremy Scahill and David Riker, was produced by Anthony Arnove, Brenda Coughlin, and Scahill. Rowley’s film follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill on an unexpected journey as he chasesdown the truth behind America’s covert wars. Jonathan Sehring, President of Sundance Selects/IFC Films, said: “Our entire team was blown away by Dirty Wars, »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Sundance: AMC’s Sundance Selects Closing Deal For ‘The Summit’

19 January 2013 7:59 AM, PST

Exclusive: AMC‘s Sundance Selects is closing a deal for North American rights to The Summit, the Nick Ryan-directed film about 24 climbers who attempt to scale K2, the most dangerous mountain on the planet. By the time the climbing is done 48 hours later, 11 have been killed or vanished. AMC is the parent company of both Sundance Selects and IFC Films and IFC Midnight. The picture premiered last night at the Egyptian Theatre, and is part of the World Cinema Documentary Competition. The company has a history of big success with similar-minded documentaries including The Void, Buck, Cave of Forgotten Dreams and Pina. Submarine brokered the deal. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Sundance: How Was Friday Night? And How Did Last Year’s Festival Films Do In Theaters?

19 January 2013 7:55 AM, PST

Friday night, the first one loaded with the big acquisition titles that forced distributors to scatter their teams to cover all the screenings, gave buyers buyers a lot to think about this morning. I haven’t heard of much action so far (outside of Sundance Selects’ closing a deal for The Summit, the Nick Ryan-directed pic about the attempt by 24 climbers to scale K2, with half of them dying. Just walking up Main Street here makes that an understandable outcome). Everybody’s itching for these deals to start rolling, but sellers are not being hasty. It is hard to land big buck upfront deals, and so they are being extra cautious to extract commitments from potential distributors to make sure these films get a chance to play, with all the platforms available to turn a buck. I saw Don Jon’s Addiction, the writing/directing debut of rising star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Sundance: CAA Signs ‘Emanuel And The Truth About Fishes’ Helmer Francesca Gregorini

18 January 2013 2:37 PM, PST

Exclusive: Hours before her film makes its Sundance debut, director Francesca Gregorini has signed with CAA. She makes her solo directing debut with Emanuel And The Truth About Fishes. She wrote the film, which premieres in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at Sundance and stars Kaya Scodelario and Jessica Biel. Gregorini previously co-directed Tanner Hall with Tatiana Von Furstenberg. That  film starred Rooney Mara and played Toronto in 2009. Gregorini is managed by Schiff Company’s Kenny Goodman and her lawyer is Greg Slewett. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Fest Films With Highest Wanna-See From Buyers: Mike Fleming On 2013 Sundance

18 January 2013 2:30 PM, PST

Related: Part I: Sundance Forecast: Small Deals Galore, And More Chances For Filmmakers Foot traffic on Main Street is building, and the deals are starting to go down. In the second part of my 2013 Sundance Film Festival opener, here are the films that have been mentioned most often by the buyers who’ll determine whether or not this will be a good festival for the filmmakers. There are some good-sounding films with strong casts, the kind that ring up decent numbers. Don Jon’S Addiction:  Writer-director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Cast: Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, Glenne Headly. Gordon-Levitt plays a porn addict who becomes torn between two women. This one premieres tonight, 6:30 Pm at Eccles, and it will likely be the fest’s first real auction. Ain’T Them Bodies Saints: Writer-director: David Lowery. Cast: Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Nate Parker, Keith Carradine. The tale of »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Sundance: Anchor Bay Acquires Leland Orser’s ‘Morning’

18 January 2013 12:34 PM, PST

Exclusive: Anchor Bay Films acquired U.S. and Canadian rights to Leland Orser’s directorial debut Morning. Pic’s not playing Sundance, but the deal just closed here. The film, which stars Big Love‘s Jeanne Tripplehorn, Laura Linney, Elliott Gould Orser, follows the life of an American couple immediately following the accidental death of their child. Morning was first seen at SXSW, when it was done as a short film. Orser expanded the story into a feature film and developed additional perspectives. Morning follows the divergent paths of Mark and Alice Munroe as they circle each other in heart-breaking grief before finally coming to grips with their shared loss. Kyle Chandler, Jason Ritter, Charlie McDermott and Julie White. Morning was produced by Todd Traina through his Red Rover Films shingle and Orser wrote the screenplay. Said Orser: “I think that what we are experiencing right now in mainstream cinema »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Sundance: RADiUS-twc Makes First Fest Deal With Backup Singer Saga ‘Twenty Feet From Stardom’

18 January 2013 12:10 PM, PST

Park City, Utah January 18th, 2012 – RADiUS-twc is proud to announce that it has acquired North American rights to the Sundance hit Twenty Feet From Stardom that celebrated its world premiere with an overwhelming standing ovation at last night’s Eccles screening. Produced by the beloved late A&M Records executive Gil Friesen whose dream was to tell this story about the unheralded back up singers to the world’s greatest industry legends, Twenty Feet From Stardom was directed by Grammy nominated Morgan Neville. The film is a celebration of the voices from the edge, which brought shape and style to the soundtracks of our lives. Neville follows half a dozen diverse and gifted back up singers from throughout music history, each of whom has a story to tell of life in the shadows of superstardom (Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Sting, Joe Cocker, Bette Midler to name just »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Martin Scorsese Tests Out Script For Mob Drama ‘The Irishman’ With De Niro, Pacino, Pesci; But ‘Silence’ Is Marty’s Next Pic

18 January 2013 11:48 AM, PST

Exclusive: For my part, Martin Scorsese can’t make enough movies. But he’s trying. Scorsese, who is completing The Wolf Of Wall Street with Leonardo DiCaprio, just held a reading of Steve Zaillian’s script at the Tribeca Film Center for The Irishman, the mob drama based on the Charles Brandt book I Heard You Paint Houses. The film is about mob hit man Frank Sheeran. Robert De Niro, who’ll play the lead character, was there, as was Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, also expected to take part. Project is set up at Paramount, but several financiers were there looking to invest. I’m told by Scorsese’s camp that this is something Scorsese likes to do to make sure the picture is making proper progress. But they assure me he’s not making The Irishman next. Scorsese’s holding fast to his dream of making Silence the next film he directs. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Sundance: ‘A Teacher’ Helmer Hannah Fidell And Star Lindsay Burdge Sign With ICM Partners

18 January 2013 11:19 AM, PST

Exclusive: The press and industry screening for the Sundance title A Teacher doesn’t start until later today, but already some stuff is happening with the picture. ICM Partners is handling the film, and the agency has just signed its director, Hannah Fidell and its star, Lindsay Burdge. The pic tells the story of Diana (Burdge), a young attractive teacher at a suburban Texas high school, who is well-liked by her students and colleagues. Her life seems to be following the status quo, but in reality she’s having a secret affair with her student Eric. She confides in no one but him, reveling in the teenage terrain of sexting and backseat quickies. Even when the risk of discovery looms over their relationship, her investment in the fantasy remains stronger than reality. Unable to control herself, she heads down a reckless path of self-destruction. A Teacher is playing in the Next Section. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Paramount, JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot Target Lance Armstrong Cheat Scandal For Feature

18 January 2013 11:02 AM, PST

Exclusive: Paramount Pictures and Bad Robot partners JJ Abrams and Bryan Burk are going to make a movie about the epic rise and fall of doping bicyclist Lance Armstrong. They’ve just closed a deal for screen rights to Cycle Of Lies: The Fall Of Lance Armstrong, a proposal for a book that will be written by Juliet Macur for HarperCollins. Macur is a sports reporter for The New York Times, and she has covered Armstrong for over a decade, through the cyclist’s recovery from deadly cancer to his capturing seven Tour de France title. She has also covered the allegations of doping that Armstrong vehemently denied, before finally falling on his sword in a much publicized interview with Oprah Winfrey (since that three-part program will put Winfrey’s Own on the map, I’m waiting to read the story on whether or not Armstrong got paid handsomely for »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Mike Fleming On 2013 Sundance Forecast: Small Deals Galore, And Greater Chances For Filmmakers To Have Their Work Viewed

18 January 2013 7:38 AM, PST

As the Sundance Film Festival marketplace gets underway this morning in frigid Park City, here’s the forecast from buyers and sellers: strong accumulation of deals, low minimum guarantees, and potentially an avalanche of multi-platform sales. There is much to be excited about here, even if buyers say they won’t let the thin air get to them and nudge them to spend drunkenly. Here’s what’s encouraging: * New buyers led by indie stalwarts like Bob Berney and Daniel Battsek, joining companies like A24 and Ld that were new last year and come back hungrier. Add them to the perennial players who all have holes in their release schedules this year and especially 2014. That includes The Weinstein Company, whose Sundance appetite often dictates whether a festival sales market will be boring or dazzling. “We are looking for a film or two for all three of our divisions, TWC, Dimension and Radius, »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Sundance: Anchor Bay Acquires ‘The Rambler’

17 January 2013 6:01 PM, PST

Park City, Ut – Anchor Bay Films kicks off the 2013 Sundance Film Festival with the pick-up of The Rambler starring Dermot Mulroney (My Best Friend’s Wedding, The Grey). Written and directed by Calvin Lee Reeder, the film is set to premiere on Monday, January 21st (11:59pm) during Park City at Midnight. The agreement covers theatrical, home entertainment, television and digital distribution rights in the North America, the U.K. and Australia. Today’s announcement was made by Anchor Bay Entertainment’s President Bill Clark. “Anchor Bay is the perfect partner for Calvin’s film The Rambler,” stated Kevin Kasha, Executive Vice President, Acquisitions and Co-Productions. “It has all the elements that our fans truly love and we look forward to working with Calvin.” Xyz Films’ (“The Raid”) co-founder Nate Bolotin produced alongside Brooklyn Reptyle Films’ Roger M. Mayer and Christo Dimassis. Clayton Young of Benaroya Pictures is also producing »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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DreamWorks Nabs ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ Author’s New Novel, ‘The Good Luck Of Right Now’

17 January 2013 5:00 PM, PST

Breaking: DreamWorks Studios has acquired the manuscript to Matthew Quick’s latest novel, The Good Luck Of Right Now. It’s his followup to the Best Picture nominee Silver Linings Playbook and was bought by production president Holly Bario. The story follows the intertwined lives of four people, who are all outsiders in their own right. However, in the wake of grieving over pain and loss in their lives, they come together to form the most unlikely family. I wrote about this one when CAA slipped it to buyers a week ago. The characters are quirkier than those in Silver Linings Playbook, and there is also the Richard Gere factor. The protagonist is a guy who might not be bipolar, but is certainly “off.” He takes care of his mother, who suffers from dementia. She has been calling him Richard, and the caretaker tells the story of this broken circle »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Sundance: James Franco Sets Pic On 60s Hollywood Hair Master Jay Sebring

17 January 2013 3:12 PM, PST

Exclusive: James Franco, bound for Sundance to promote several projects, has just set another. He will star in and direct Beautiful People, a bio-pic of charismatic playboy and visionary Jay Sebring, the jet-setting hairstylist to the stars in the 1960s, who died violently at the hands of the clan led by Charles Manson. The screenplay, written by Lauren Wild, was brought to Franco by David Bortolucci of Jane and Sheppard Productions, who will be producing with Julie Yorn of Lbi Entertainment. Franco will also produce, along with his RabbitBandini Productions partners Miles Levy and Vince Jolivette. The film charts the rise of Sebring as a self-created men’s grooming pioneer, as he climbed the social ladder in Hollywood during the 60s. There is also a focus on his romantic relationship with the beautiful young actress Sharon Tate. Both Tate and Sebring were victims of the notorious murder spree of the cult led by Manson. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Laeta Kalogridis And Patrick Lussier Set To Script New ‘Terminator’

17 January 2013 9:53 AM, PST

Exclusive: Skydance Productions and Annapurna Pictures have set Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier to script the next installment of The Terminator franchise. Her credits include Avatar, Shutter Island and Alexander, produced White House Down. Lussier scripted Wes Craven’s Dracula and directed My Bloody Valentine. Skydance’s David Ellison recently hired the scribes to write an original scifi adventure film, with an idea initiated by Skydance. Megan Ellison paid a fortune for the rights several years ago, and recently teamed with brother David, whose company finds big ticket action films like Terminator to be in its wheelhouse. David, who just produced Jack Reacher, had the relationship with the scribes, though interestingly Kalogridis also is tight with Terminator creator James Cameron. Megan Ellison is in the thick of the Oscar race with Zero Dark Thirty and The Master. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Liam Neeson Locked To ‘Run All Night;’ Helmer Jaume Collett-Serra In Talks

17 January 2013 8:17 AM, PST

Breaking: Warner Bros has locked Liam Neeson to star in the Brad Ingelsby action film Run All Night, and they are negotiating with Jaume Collett-Sera to direct. The studio is aiming for a fall start. While Neeson is getting to the age where you don’t want to run much anymore, he’s thriving as an action star, after Taken and its sequel, and it doesn’t look like he’ll stop running and kicking ass anytime soon. He plays a mob hitman who, in a single night, is forced to take on his former boss. The guy has to protect his son and family, and winds up on the run from the mob and the authorities with his estranged son. Neeson and Collett-Sera are currently shooting Non-Stop for Silver Pictures, and they’ve been eyeing this as a return match. They also teamed for the thriller Unknown. Project is »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Chernin Group Buys Stake In Graphic India

17 January 2013 7:22 AM, PST

Breaking: Hot global geek news out of India. CA Media, LP, the Asian investment arm of The Chernin Group, has acquired a large minority stake in Graphic India, a comic book and animation company focused on creating mythological and superhero characters, comics and stories for the Indian youth market, published across mobile and online platforms. Launched last year by media entrepreneurs Sharad Devarajan, Gotham Chopra and Suresh Seetharaman as a subsidiary of their U.S. comic book company Liquid Comics, Graphic India will now be jointly owned by Liquid Comics and CA Media. Devarajan will be appointed CEO of Graphic India and remain Executive Chairman of Liquid Comics. Liquid Comics will contribute one of the world’s largest and highest-quality comic book libraries based on Indian characters to Graphic India. In addition to CA Media’s investment, it will partner with Graphic India to provide industry expertise and create iconic »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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‘Scarface’s Al Pacino, Brian De Palma Tackle Penn State Coach Joe Paterno In Feature

16 January 2013 2:24 PM, PST

Exclusive: The Scarface team of director Brian De Palma and Al Pacino are re-teaming for Happy Valley, the working title of a film that will tell the story of Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno. Paterno’s legend was undone by revelations he and others in the football program were aware that former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was molesting children, and did little  to stop it, supposedly fearing bad publicity for the powerhouse gridiron program they presided over. Wall Street producer Edward R. Pressman has optioned the bestselling book Paterno by Joe Posnanski. Dave McKenna (American History X and Blow) is making a deal to write the script. The Edward R. Pressman Film Corporation is backing the project. Pacino became attached to play Paterno when a package including the book was shopped by ICM last fall. Pressman will produce with Pacino’s manager, Rick Nicita, who was part of that original package. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Stephen Belber Turns ‘Match’ Into Feature With Patrick Stewart, Carla Gugino And Matthew Lillard

16 January 2013 1:25 PM, PST

Exclusive: Stephen Belber has finally turned his 2004 Tony-nominated play Match into a feature. It stars Patrick Stewart, Carla Gugino and Matthew Lillard to star. The film, produced by David Permut, Rick Rosenthal and Matt Ratner, and it has just wrapped its New York City shoot. Stewart plays a reclusive, eccentric Juilliard dance instructor and former choreographer, who is visited by a  Seattle couple, (Gugino and Lillard) under the pretense of interviewing the dancer for her thesis on the New York dance movement in the 1960s. However, as the couple’s true intentions are revealed, he finds himself unable to dance around the impact of decisions he made long ago. Belber wrote and directed the 2008 Jennifer Aniston-starrer Management and his other plays turned into films include the Richard Linklater-directed Tape and HBO’s The Laramie Project. He also created an untitled dramatic thriller that FX recently put into development as a potential series. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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