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Movies Sold at Sundance 2017: A Complete & Updated Guide

movies sold at Sundance 2017

A lot of films that premiere at the Sundance Film Festival are hoping to attract a distributor and find a wider audience, be it in theaters around the country or distributed through digital VOD. Throughout the festival, we will be reporting on all of the movies sold at Sundance 2017. This list should help give you an idea about which movies may someday be available to you either theatrically of VOD. These are the movies sold at Sundance 2017.

Latest update: Netflix acquires the Chris O’Dowd comedy The Incredible Jessica James, Fun Mom Dinner and the documentary Nobody Speak: Hulk Hogan, Gawker and Trials of a Free Press.

Previous update: Sony Pictures Classics buys the religious drama Novitiate, The Orchard has acquired The Hero starring Sam Elliott.

sundance 2017

Movies Sold At Sundance 2017 Distributor Breakdown

  • A24: A Ghost Story, Toru
  • Amazon: Long Strange Trip, The Big Sick
  • Dogwoof: Motherland
  • Focus Features: Thoroughbred
  • Neon: Ingrid Goes West
  • Netflix: Casting JonBenet, Berlin Syndrome (streaming), Chasing Coral, Fun Mom Dinner, The Incredible Jessica James, Nobody Speak: Hulk Hogan, Gawker and Trials of a Free Press
  • Paramount: An Inconvenient Sequel
  • Sony Pictures Classics: Call Me By Your Name, Novitiate
  • The Orchard: The Hero
  • Vertical: Berlin Syndrome (theatrical)

These Movies Sold at Sundance 2017

We will be updating this post with 2017 Sundance Film Festival acquisitions throughout the festival. The post is organized from newest to oldest, with the latest acquisitions on the top.

Nobody Speak Hulk Hogan, Gawker and the Trials of a Free Press

Nobody Speak: Hulk Hogan, Gawker and Trials of a Free Press

AcquiredJanuary 23
By: Netflix
Purchase Price: n/a
Director: Brian Knappenberger
Other Info: Acquired worldwide rights before it’s festival premiere.

Plot Synopsis:

When online tabloid Gawker posted a sex tape starring former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, a high-stakes legal battle pitting privacy rights against the First Amendment ensued. Hogan won the case and the staggering settlement he received not only bankrupted Gawker and its founder Nick Denton, but also exposed a controversial, behind-the-scenes benefactor: Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel. Whether you love or hate Gawker, Brian Knappenberger’s gripping polemic reveals the forces that really brought down the news portal. Taking examples like Sheldon Adelson’s purchase of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, this compelling documentary illustrates a growing, sinister trend at odds with our country’s free press. Corporate executives, titans, and billionaires are tipping the balance on the public’s access to news, posing new threats to society’s relationship to the truth.

Jessica Williams in The Incredible Jessica James

The Incredible Jessica James

AcquiredJanuary 23
By: Netflix
Purchase Price: n/a
Director: James Strouse (Grace Is Gone, The Winning Season, and People Places Things)
Starring: Katie Aselton, Toni Collette, Bridget Everett, Molly Shannon, Adam Scott, Adam Levine
Other Info: Acquired before it’s festival premiere.

Plot Synopsis:

Jessica James (Jessica Williams), an aspiring playwright in New York City, is trying hard to get over a recent breakup with her boyfriend. She sees light at the end of the tunnel when she meets Boone (Chris O’Dowd), who’s also recovering from a recent break-up. Together, they figure out a way to make it through the tough times, while also realizing they like each other—a lot.

Fun Mom Dinner

Fun Mom Dinner

AcquiredJanuary 19
By: Netflix
Purchase Price: near $5 million
Director: Alethea Jones
Starring: Katie Aselton, Toni Collette, Bridget Everett, Molly Shannon, Adam Scott, Adam Levine
Other Info: eOne’s Momentum Pictures has closed North American theatrical distribution and Netflix got multi-territory SVOD rights

Plot Synopsis:

At some point, Emily stopped being “Emily”—high-powered lawyer, strong woman, sexual being—and became, simply, “Mom.” It’s like, her kids and husband are great, but there’s got to be more to life than diapers, playdates, and fingerpaint, right? RIGHT?!? When some of the other moms at school propose a Chardonnay-soaked night out, Emily is IN. She even drags her reluctant friend Kate along for the ride. But what starts as gossip and tapas quickly turns into a night that these ladies will never forget (even though they’re all super duper high). Deftly infusing zany hijinks with real feeling, director Alethea Jones and writer Julie Rudd deliver a riotous comedy that spares no rods and spoils no children. The titular moms (Katie Aselton, Toni Collette, Molly Shannon, and Bridget Everett) make a truly formidable ensemble, dispensing dick jokes and tearful revelations with equal aplomb. Together, they prove that “mom” is more than a dirty word—it’s a badge of honor.

the hero

The Hero

AcquiredJanuary 22
By: The Orchard
Purchase Price: n/a
DirectorBrett Haley (I’ll See You In My Dreams)
Starring: Sam Elliott, Laura Prepon, Krysten Ritter, Nick Offerman, Katharine Ross
Other Info: Includes all North American distribution rights. The Orchard plans a wide release for the film this fall.

Plot Synopsis:

Lee Hayden (Sam Elliott) is an aging Western icon with a golden voice, but his best performances are decades behind him. He spends his days reliving old glories and smoking too much weed with his former-co-star-turned-dealer, Jeremy (Nick Offerman), until a surprise cancer diagnosis brings his priorities into sharp focus. He soon strikes up an exciting, contentious relationship with stand-up comic Charlotte (Laura Prepon), and he attempts to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Lucy (Krysten Ritter), all while searching for one final role to cement his legacy.

NOVITIATE

Novitiate

AcquiredJanuary 22
By: Sony Pictures Classics
Purchase Price:mid-seven figure range.
Director: narrative feature directorial debut of Maggie Betts
Starring: Margaret Qualley, Melissa Leo, Julianne Nicholson, Dianna Agron, Morgan Saylor
Other Info:

Plot Synopsis:

Spanning the early 1950s through the mid-’60s, this coming-of-age story is about a young girl’s first love. In this case, her first love is God. Raised by a deeply caring, non-religious mother, Cathleen is drawn to the heady mysticism of the lives of Catholic nuns and their undying romantic devotion to their chosen husband, Jesus Christ. She enrolls in a training program with The Sisters of Blessed Rose, a cloistered convent. As Cathleen progresses from the postulant to the novitiate levels of her tutelage, her faith is challenged by the harsh, often inhumane realities of being a nun, just as Pope John XXIII’s announcement of the Second Vatican Council threatens to alter the course of nuns’ lives forever.

Thoroughbred sundance

Thoroughbred

AcquiredJanuary 22
By: Focus Features
Purchase Price: around $5 million
Director: Cory Finley
Starring: Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Anton Yelchin, Paul Sparks, Francie Swift, Kaili Vernoff
Other Info:

Plot Synopsis:

Two teenage girls in suburban Connecticut rekindle their unlikely friendship after years of growing apart. In the process, they learn that neither is what she seems to be—and that a murder might solve both of their problems.

Ingrid Goes West

Ingrid Goes West

AcquiredJanuary 22
By: Neon (Alamo Drafthouse creator Tim League’s company that distributed Colossal and Where To Invade Next)
Purchase Price: n/a
Director: Matt Spicer
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Wyatt Russell, Billy Magnussen
Other Info: Neon won North American distribution rights. A24 and Netflix were both reportedly trying to get the film. This is one of our favorite films so far from this year’s festival. Read our Ingrid Goes West review here.

Plot Synopsis:

Ingrid is an unstable young woman with a checkered past of obsessive behavior. She secretly moves to Los Angeles to get close to Taylor Sloane—an Instagram “lifestyle guru” with a fabulous artist boyfriend, a camera-ready terrier, and an array of new products and brands to promote to her followers. After Ingrid adopts a Taylor-made identity for herself, her machinations to prove she’s BFF material for her Insta idol are underway—that is, until she meets Taylor’s obnoxious brother Nicky, who threatens to tear down her façade. Aubrey Plaza is fearless in her performance as Ingrid, whose elaborate fabrications and unsettling behavior lead to an avalanche of harrowing and squirm-worthy situations.

The Big Sick

The Big Sick

AcquiredJanuary 22
By: Amazon
Purchase Price: $12 milion
Director: Michael Showalter (Hello My Name is Doris)
Starring: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Bo Burnham, Aidy Bryant, and Kurt Braunohler
Other Info: This is one of our favorite films of the festival so far. Read our The Big Sick review here. Film sparked interest from Sony, Focus Features and Netflix. Bids were presented on Saturday with negotiations for North American rights and other foreign territories stretched into midnight on Saturday. Nanjiani wanted a theatrical release

Plot Synopsis:

Based on the real-life courtship between Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, THE BIG SICK tells the story of Pakistan-born aspiring comedian Kumail (Nanjiani), who connects with grad student Emily (Kazan) after one of his standup sets. However, what they thought would be just a one-night stand blossoms into the real thing, which complicates the life that is expected of Kumail by his traditional Muslim parents. When Emily is beset with a mystery illness, it forces Kumail to navigate the medical crisis with her parents, Beth and Terry (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano) who he’s never met, while dealing with the emotional tug-of-war between his family and his heart.

chasing coral

Chasing Coral

Acquired: January 21
By: Netflix
Purchase Price: n/a
Director:  Jeff Orlowski (Chasing Ice)
Other Info: A release is planned for later this year.

Plot Synopsis:

Chasing Coral taps into the collective will and wisdom of an ad man, a self-proclaimed coral nerd, top-notch camera designers, and renowned marine biologists as they invent the first time-lapse camera to record coral bleaching events as they happen. Unfortunately, the effort is anything but simple, and the team doggedly battles technical malfunctions and the force of nature in pursuit of their golden fleece: documenting the indisputable and tragic transformation below the waves. With its breathtaking photography, nail-biting suspense, and startling emotion, Chasing Coral is a dramatic revelation that won’t have audiences sitting idle for long.

AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL TRUTH TO POWER

An Inconvenient Sequel

AcquiredJanuary 19
By: Paramount
Purchase Price: n/a
Director: Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk (Audrie & Daisy)
Other Info: Will hit theaters on July 28th 2017 in wide release.

Plot Synopsis:

A decade after An Inconvenient Truth brought climate change into the heart of popular culture comes the riveting and rousing follow-up that shows just how close we are to a real energy revolution. Vice President Al Gore continues his tireless fight, traveling around the world training an army of climate champions and influencing international climate policy. Cameras follow him behind the scenes—in moments private and public, funny and poignant—as he pursues the empowering notion that while the stakes have never been higher, the perils of climate change can be overcome with human ingenuity and passion.

long strange trip

Long Strange Trip

Acquired: January 18
By: Amazon
Purchase Price: n/a
Director: Amir Bar-Lev (The Tillman Story)
Other Info: Executive produced by Martin Scorsese. Set to debut May 26 on Amazon Prime Video in the US and UK as a six part documentary, with additional territories to be announced.

Plot Synopsis:

The 30-year odyssey of the Grateful Dead was the most unlikely success story in rock and roll history. Famously averse to publicity, seemingly incapable of recording radio-friendly hits, they flouted music-industry convention by giving their live music away to a global network of tape traders, becoming the highest-grossing concert act in America on word of mouth alone. Executive produced by Scorsese (Silence), Long Strange Trip is the first full-length documentary to explore the fiercely independent vision, insistence on continuous innovation, and uncompromising commitment to their audience that propelled the original jam band from a Bay Area pizza parlor to the ranks of the most enduringly influential musicians of their generation. By assembling candid interviews with the band, road crew, family members, and notable Deadheads, director Bar-Lev (The Tillman Story) unearths the untold history of the Dead and the freewheeling psychedelic subculture that sprouted up around it, while providing poignant insight into the psyche of late lead guitarist Jerry Garcia, who disdained leadership of the increasingly sprawling collective organization that kept the show on the road. With a soundtrack that captures some of the band’s most dynamic live performances as well as unguarded moments offstage and never before seen footage and photos, Long Strange Trip is an epic exploration into a uniquely American experiment in radically eclectic music-making that continues to earn the passionate loyalty of generations of fans worldwide.

toru short film

Toru

AcquiredJanuary 16
By: A24
Purchase Price: N/a
Director:  Jonathan Minard and Scott Rashap
Other Info: 14-minute short film in Japanese with English subtitles, teased cryptically by A24.

Plot Synopsis:

With a science fiction undercurrent, Toru centers on the story of a baby boy, named Toru, born with a fatal lung condition. As he only has a few days to live Toru’s parents sign him up for a trial experiment that would simulate a full life in a matter of days. The film follows Toru’s dream-like life simulation as a boy named Todd growing up in a New England suburb, and concludes in futuristic Japan.

Berlin Syndrome

Berlin Syndrome

AcquiredJanuary 13
By: Vertical & Netflix
Purchase Price: low- to mid-seven figures
Director: Cate Shortland (LoreSomersault)
Starring: Teresa Palmer, Max Riemelt
Other Info: Acquired pre-fest. Netflix will get all rights including streaming after Vertical distributes the film theatrically.

Plot Synopsis:

Australian tourist Clare (Teresa Palmer) travels to Berlin to photograph East German architecture and meets Andi (Max Riemelt), a handsome but brooding schoolteacher. After a brief erotic fling, Clare tries to leave, but Andi isn’t ready to let go. She soon finds herself held prisoner in his locked apartment, cut off from the outside world. As her ordeal unfolds, Clare cycles between reasoning with her captor, surrendering to his obsessions, and plotting her escape.

Motherland

Motherland

AcquiredJanuary 9
By: Dogwoof (UK Distributor)
Purchase Price:
Director: Ramona Diaz
Other Info: The deal was negotiated between Dogwoof and Diaz with the distributor handling world sales across all platforms.

Plot Synopsis:

This stirring vérité portrait takes us into the heart of the planet’s busiest maternity hospital—a world unto itself in the Philippines. Unseen observers in this frenetic and understaffed landscape, we enter hectic birthing rooms and pass through overcrowded hallways bursting with life. Babies are lost and found, and multiple mothers share a single bed. The camera glides intimately and effortlessly around the hospital, unlocking nuances of this intricate ecosystem. There is a remarkably calm air of acceptance to this tumultuous scene, that can only be understood by a mother on her seventh child. Despite the harsh, unsanitary circumstances a supportive community of women—from doctors and nurses to social workers—makes this world thrive. Imbued with optimism, humor, and a specific type of strength, mothers exit the doors of the hospital and return to the bustling street outside.

a ghost story

A Ghost Story

AcquiredJanuary 8
By: A24
Purchase Price: N/A
Director: David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Pete’s Dragon)
Starring: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, Will Oldham, Sonia Acevedo, Rob Zabrecky, Liz Franke
Other Info: A24 reportedly had such confidence in the film, they bought it sight unseen.

Plot Synopsis:

From acclaimed filmmaker David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies SaintsPete’s Dragon), GhostStory follows a recently deceased young man (Casey Affleck) who returns to his former home as a benevolent spectral presence repeatedly trying to connect with his beloved wife (Rooney Mara), and over time, others who pass through the house.  As time unfolds, he arrives at an increasingly deeper understanding about love, loss, his place in the world, and the world beyond.  Lowery crafts a soulful and romantic portrait of life after death and a beautifully intimate meditation on some of life’s most epic and profound questions.

Call Me By Your Name

Call Me By Your Name

AcquiredJanuary 6
By: Sony Pictures Classics
Purchase Price:
Director: Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love)
Starring: Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, Esther Garrel, Victoire Du Bois
Other Info: SPC acquired worldwide rights in advance of the festival.

Plot Synopsis:

It’s the summer of 1983 in northern Italy, and Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet), a 17-year-old American-Italian boy, spends his days in his family’s seventeenth century villa lazily transcribing music and flirting with his friend Marzia. One day Oliver (Armie Hammer), a charming, 24-year-old American scholar working on his doctorate, arrives as the annual summer intern tasked with helping Elio’s father (Michael Stuhlbarg), an eminent professor specializing in Greco-Roman culture. Amid the sun-drenched splendor of this sensual setting, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will change their lives forever.

Casting JonBenet

Casting JonBenet

AcquiredJanuary 4
By: Netflix
Purchase Price:
Director: Kitty Green (Ukraine is Not a Brothel, The Face of Ukraine: Casting Oksana Baiul, which premiered at Sundance in 2015 where it won short film non-fiction jury prize)
Other Info: The film will launch on Netflix and in limited theatrical release in Spring of 2017. The doc will have its world premiere in the US Documentary Competition; the first time a nonfiction work from the company will compete.

Plot Synopsis:

Casting JonBenet is a sly and stylized exploration of the world’s most sensational child-murder case, the still unsolved death of six-year-old American beauty queen, JonBenet Ramsey. After years of media speculation and public fascination, audiences are presented with a documentary hybrid examining the macabre legacy of this tiny starlet. Over 15 months, the filmmakers traveled to the Ramseys’ Colorado hometown to elicit responses, reflections and even performances from the local community. In doing so, Casting JonBenet examines how this crime and its resulting mythologies have shaped the attitudes and behavior of successive generations of parents and children.

The post Movies Sold at Sundance 2017: A Complete & Updated Guide appeared first on /Film.


SOURCE: /Film – Read entire story here.


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