Pickups scarce as festival nears wrap

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From ReporterTV: John Penotti, prexy of Greene-Street Films, and Ted Hope, Good Machine co-founder, sell “In The Bedroom” to Miramax. Director Bill Bindley causes quite a splash with “Madison.” Also, Scott McGehee and David Siegel discuss how they manage to share the roles of director, producer and screenwriter. View streaming video from the Sundance Festival.

PARK CITY, Utah — The snow has begun to fall and so have pic prices, but sales remain slow as the 2001 edition of the Sundance Film Festival winds to a close.

Still, Artisan Entertainment is negotiating to buy Billy Corben’s “Raw Deal: The Question of Consent,” a controversial doc screening in the American Spectrum section. The pic, being sold by John Sloss of Sloss Special Projects, is an expose on the contested 1999 rape of 27-year-old Lisa Gier King in Gainesville, Fla.

Pic was produced jointly by Miami-based 22-year-old filmmakers Alfred Spellman and Corben. The duo were so intrigued by the film’s subject matter that they each left their respective colleges with only one semester until graduation and moved to Gainesville to make the doc.

If Artisan’s deal closes, that will be four years in a row that the shingle has nabbed a highly talked-about project out of Sundance. Last year, the studio acquired the dark comedy “Chuck & Buck,” written by Mike White and directed by Miguel Arteta. In 1999, Artisan acquired “The Blair Witch Project,” and the year before they bought “Pi.”

Among the other titles expected to sell over the next week are Henry Bean’s “The Believer,” Richard Linklater’s “Waking Life,” Michael Cuesta’s “L.I.E.,” David Wain’s “Wet Hot American Summer” and Alison Anders’ “Things Behind the Sun.” Other hot titles are Timothy Bui’s “Green Dragon” and Scott McGehee and David Siegel’s “The Deep End,” both of which are being pursued.

Studio interest

Studio execs are looking closely at at least two pics from the festival: William Bindley’s “Madison” and DeMane Davis and Khari Streeters’ “Lift,” deals for which likely won’t close until after the fest.

Some of the usual acquisitions suspects, such as Fine Line, Paramount Classics, Lions Gate and Sony Pictures Classics have remained cautious, enabling smaller companies to step up to the plate. Wednesday, IFC Films nabbed two films, while Lot 47 and IDF are said to be circling several titles passed on by the larger distribs.

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