I went to a meeting tonight and returned home to discover that the industry wheeling and dealing at Sundance had produced a number of distribution deals. An LA Times article refers to the latest round of deals as "a spending spree reminiscent of drunken sailors on shore leave." I can't top that description. Here's the scoop, as well as some updates on previous deals in progress:
  • Fortissimo Films has bought the worldwide (except China) distribution rights to Nanking for an as-yet undisclosed price. Nanking is about the Japanese invasion during WWII of Nanking, China. At first, I thought Nanking was a feature because well-known actors are listed on the film's IMDb page, and some controversy has occurred about writing credits, but apparently it's a documentary that contains a filmed stage reading of pertinent letters and documents. Look for a review of Nanking by Kim Voynar later this week.
  • Paramount Vantage picked up near-worldwide distribution rights to How She Move (pictured at right), a Canadian feature about urban step dancing. Is this the same as stepping, which was featured in Stomp the Yard? If so (or if buyers are similarly confused), Stomp the Yard's box office success might explain the estimated $3-4 million sale for this film. The plot of How She Move also sounds Save the Last Dance-ish.
  • Paramount Vantage also confirmed that it bought worldwide distribution rights to Son of Rambow, as we reported earlier, with a price tag now estimated at $7 million. It's still the biggest deal reported from this year's festival (so far).
  • The Weinstein Company has partnered with First Look Films to buy worldwide distribution rights to Dedication, which premiered at Sundance on Monday, for an as-yet undisclosed price. TWC will distribute the film in the U.S. and First Look will handle distribution in other countries. Dedication is the directiorial debut for actor Justin Theroux, and is a romantic comedy starring Mandy Moore and Billy Crudup. The supporting cast catches my interest: Bob Balaban, Dianne Wiest, Amy Sedaris, Martin Freeman ... is this really an independent film?