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‘Amazing’ purchase

Lions Gate nabs helmer Holofcener's 2nd pic

TORONTO — Though the atmosphere is subdued here, Lions Gate Films has taken North American theatrical distribution rights to “Lovely and Amazing,” writer-director Nicole Holofcener’s second film.

Fox Searchlight Pictures had been near a deal to distrib the pic, after it preemed at the Telluride Film Festival.

The pact was the fourth of the fest, following Sony Pictures Classics’ acquisition of Babak Payami’s “Secret Ballot” and Jill Sprecher’s “13 Conversations About One Thing,” as well as Miramax Films’ pick up of Gregor Jordan’s “Buffalo Soldiers.”

“Lovely and Amazing” is a family portrait of four hapless but resilient women and the lessons they learn in keeping up with the hectic demands of their personal neuroses. Lions Gate is planning a summer 2002 release for pic, which stars Catherine Keener, Brenda Blethyn, Emily Mortimer and Dermot Mulroney.

Good Machine Intl. is handling all overseas sales of the pic. Written and directed by Holofcener, film was produced by Anthony Bregman, Eric d’Arbeloff and Ted Hope. Executive producers were Jason Kliot, Joana Vicente and Michael Kafka.

“Nicole has created a truly original look at a humorously dysfunctional family,” said Lions Gate prexy Tom Ortenberg. “She has elicited sterling performances from her immensely talented cast.”

Deal was negotiated by Peter Block, Guy Stodel, Jason Constantine and Ortenberg on behalf of Lions Gate, and by Good Machine partner Ted Hope, senior veep of production Anthony Bregman and attorney Sue Bodine.

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