Buyers eye 'Winter's Bone,' 'Tillman Story'

The skies turned sunny at the Sundance Film Festival on Monday as a number of titles were in play, signaling that enough pics are popping to keep buyers busy.

Festgoers also continued to buzz about Lionsgate’s pickup of Ryan Reynolds’ thriller “Buried” on Sunday, less than 24 hours after the film debuted Saturday in the fest’s Park City at Midnight section. North American distribution rights sold for north of $3.2 million, a healthy figure in an otherwise tough acquisitions market.

Other Sundance titles getting a serious look by indie distributors include director Debra Granik’s drama “Winter’s Bone,” one of the sleeper hits at this year’s Sundance. Movie stars Jennifer Lawrence. At least four buyers are holding discussions with the film’s reps, and the second screening on Tuesday morning is expected to be heavily attended by top execs who didn’t see the premiere on Saturday.

Among docus, Amir Bar-Lev’s “The Tillman Story” is in play. Film recounts the former NFL star Pat Tillman’s death in Afghanistan in 2004, allegedly by friendly fire, and efforts to turn his death into propaganda. “Catfish” is a favorite as well, with HBO said to be particularly interested.

On the feature side, Katie Aselton’s “The Freebie” had a promising premiere on Sunday. Film is about a couple who give each other permission to have one-night stands.

Monster pic “Splice,” which preemed Friday night, is also seeing interest from a number of domestic distributors.

“Blue Valentine,” starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, screened Sunday night. Distrib vet Mark Urman, as well as Oscilloscope’s David Fenkel, were enthusiastic about the pic at its post-party, with both expressing interest in distributing the film. Other buyers were more circumspect.

Monday night’s preem of Annette Bening-Julianne Moore drama “The Kids Are All Right,” directed by Lisa Cholodenko, was expected to be heavily attended by buyers. Film is about a lesbian couple whose kids are introduced to their biological father (Mark Ruffalo).Foreign companies have closed a handful of deals at Sundance.

TVA Films picked up Canadian distribution rights to Rodrigo Garcia’s “Mother and Child,” a multiplot drama starring Bening, Naomi Watts, Kerry Washington, Jimmy Smits and Samuel L. Jackson.

Maple Pictures acquired Canadian rights to Sundance’s Midnight entry “Tucker and Dale vs. Evil.” The Toronto-based distrib also has rights to “Buried” through its deal with Lionsgate.

Myriad has picked up international rights (outside the U.S. and Canada) on Josh Radnor’s directorial debut “HappyThankYouMorePlease,” a Gotham-set dramedy starring Radnor and Malin Akerman.

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