Pic celebrates and reinvents sci-fi genre, distrib head sez

NEW YORK — ThinkFilms has acquired North American rights to multihyphenate Shane Carruth’s low-budget intellectual thriller “Primer,” the surprise winner of the Grand Jury Prize at last month’s Sundance Film Festival.

The first feature written, directed and produced by Dallas-based Carruth, who stars with newcomer David Sullivan, “Primer” also won the fest’s Alfred P. Sloan Prize, a $20,000 cash award for features that push the boundaries of science and technology.

Set on the industrial fringes of an unnamed contemporary city, the category-defying film focuses on two engineers who make a startling discovery while conducting extracurricular experiments, enabling them to do and have almost anything they want.

” ‘Primer’ both celebrates and reinvents the sci-fi genre,” said ThinkFilm theatrical distribution head Mark Urman. “In a strong dramatic competition, it stood apart from the crowd for its narrative innovation, thematic ambition and stylistic daring.”

ThinkFilm senior VP of acquisitions and business affairs Randy Manis negotiated the deal with William Morris Independent. The distrib had been in early talks to acquire the title at Sundance, but post-awards interest from other companies reportedly slowed the deal’s conclusion.

Upcoming releases from ThinkFilm include Danish helmer Lone Scherfig’s English-language debut, “Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself,” and Jonathan Demme’s feature doc “The Agronomist.”

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