3 aud members hit by falling ventillation

PARK CITY, Utah — Sony Pictures Classics has paid $1 million for U.S. rights to Chris Smith’s docu competition entry “American Movie.”

The pic, an account of a Midwestern director’s attempt to make an independent film, was produced by Sarah Price and Jim McKay.

The SPC pickup came despite “American’s” near-disastrous screening Tuesday evening, when three audience members were hit by a piece of ventilation that fell off the wall of the Holiday Village Cinema I.

Emergency crews were called to the scene, and one of the attendees was taken to the hospital but was released later Tuesday evening. The two other guests were examined by paramedics, but fest officials and audience members said the pair went back in and watched the remainder of the film.

A statement from the Sundance Institute said that “the building was inspected and approved following the incident last night by Park City fire officials….” Officials re-inspected the theater Wednesday afternoon after which they gave the thumbs-up for screenings to continue as scheduled.

Attorney John Sloss repped the filmmakers. SPC’s Michael Barker and Tom Bernard negotiated for the distrib.

(Dan Cox contributed to this report.)

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