Distrib picks up Sundance pic

NEW YORK — Focus Features Intl. has beefed up its Cannes sales slate with the acquisition of international rights to Jacob Aaron Estes’ drama “Mean Creek,” which screens in the Directors Fortnight.

Premiered at Sundance in January, where it drew comparison to “Deliverance” and “Stand by Me,” story follows a group of teenagers in a small Oregon town who organize a river trip to exact revenge on a local bully. Paramount Classics earlier this year picked up rights for North America, U.K. and Australia.

The Whitewater Films production stars Rory Culkin, Ryan Kelley, Scott Mechlowicz, Trevor Morgan, Joshua Peck and Carly Schroeder.

Pickup boosts the Cannes profile of the Focus sales division, placing “Mean Creek” alongside fest opener “Bad Education” by Pedro Almodovar and Chinese helmer Zhang Yimou’s “House of Flying Daggers,” which screens out of competition. In addition, Focus’ domestic distribution arm has U.S. rights to competition entry “The Motorcycle Diaries,” by Walter Salles.

“Mean Creek” deal was announced by Focus co-presidents David Linde and James Schamus and was negotiated by Focus exec VP of international sales and distribution Glen Basner and VP of acquisitions Jason Resnick.

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