‘Bird’ in Miramax’s hand

In a preemptive bid, Miramax Films has picked up U.S. and other territorial rights to Redeemable Features’ 1960s period piece “The Hairy Bird” from Canada’s Alliance Communications, which financed the pic.

Written and directed by Sarah Kernochan, “Bird” is about a girls’ boarding school whose students are resisting efforts to make the campus co-educational.

“I loved Sarah Kernochan’s script,” said Miramax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein. “This is a smart, youthful comedy that has something unique to say and does it in a bright and fresh way.”

Pic marks the directorial debut of Kernochan, who won an Oscar for her documentary about the young preacher “Marjoe” and whose screenwriting credits include “Nine 1/2 Weeks,” “Somersby” and “Impromptu.”

Gaby Hoffmann (“Volcano”) and Kirsten Dunst (“Jumanji”) star in the pic, which was produced by Redeemable’s Ira Deutchman (“Kiss Me Guido”) and Peter Newman (“Smoke,” “The Secret of Roan Inish”). Alliance Communications chairman and CEO Robert Lantos, Alliance Pictures prexy Andras Hamori and Nora Ephron were exec producers.”We believe that Sarah has proved herself to be a major filmmaker, and now, with this deal, we can be assured that she will reach the audience she deserves,” Deutchman said.

Rounding out the cast in “Hairy Bird” are Heather Matarazzo (“Welcome to the Dollhouse”), Rachael Leigh Cook (“House of Yes”), Monica Keena (“Ripe”) and Thomas Guiry (“Lassie”).

Alliance will distribute the film in Canada. In addition to the U.S., Miramax acquired territorial rights in Spain and Latin America, excluding Mexico.

Founded by former Fine Line Features prexy Deutchman, Redeemable is currently in production on four films — Paul Auster’s “Lulu on the Bridge,” starring Harvey Keitel and Mira Sorvino, Adam Davidson’s “Way Past Cool,” Nancy Savoca’s “24-Hour Woman” (a co-production with the Shooting Gallery) and “54,” which Mark Christopher is directing for Miramax.

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