Fox grabs 'End,' Artisan bites 'Raw'

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PARK CITY, Utah — Sundance 2001 may be nearly in the books, but a frenzy of acquisitions interest surrounding a dozen films is ongoing. Late Friday, Fox Searchlight Pictures acquired North American distribution rights to Scott McGehee and David Siegel’s “The Deep End” for roughly $4 million.

Earlier in the week, the company grabbed Jay Chandrasekhar’s “Super Troopers” for roughly $3 million.

Meanwhile, Artisan Entertainment has closed a North American distribution pact for the controversial doc “Raw Deal: A Question of Consent.” Both pacts were handled by John Sloss of Sloss Special Projects.

“Raw Deal,” which has generated buzz all week, probes a string of events beginning in February of 1999 when an exotic dancer named Lisa Gier King was hired by the Delta Chi fraternity house on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville.

The next morning, King ran from the house half-naked and distraught, claiming that frat brother Michael Yahraus had raped her. In their investigation, police discovered hours of video footage taken by Yahraus and his frat brothers depicting the events of that night. But the footage turned the case on its head, causing King herself to be arrested and charged with filing a false report.

Pic was helmed by 22-year-old Billy Corben, who shared producing duties with Alfred Spellman.

“Sundance continues as fertile ground for out of the box filmmaking that fits well with Artisan’s sensibilities,” said Patrick Gunn, executive veep of Artisan. “‘Raw Deal: A Question of Consent’ is one of the most talked about films of the festival with good reason. This is a provocative film with great social importance that’s sure to inspire meaningful dialogue among viewers. The video footage in the film shows all sides of the story but ultimately reveals nothing, leaving it to the viewer to continue the speculation of what really happened the night in question and why the events occurred the way they did afterward.”

Added Corben and Spellman: “We are very pleased to be working with Artisan on the release of ‘Raw Deal.’ The company has shown a great talent for aggressively marketing films that generate a lot of talk, and we are excited to begin this collaboration.”

“The Deep End,” which screened in the fest’s dramatic section, is a noir thriller centering on a tragedy about a teenage boy and a tortured mother’s efforts to protect her young.

Adapted by McGehee and Siegel from the Elizabeth Sanxay Holding novel “A Blank Wall,” pic was exec produced by Robert Nathan and coproduced by Laura Greenlee, with McGehee and Siegel producers.

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