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Sundance: Anchor Bay nabs N. American rights to ‘Rambler’

Pic premieres Monday night at the Library

After picking up the horror pic “Excision” at Sundance last year, Anchor Bay Films has gone right back to the festival’s Park City at Midnight lineup, acquiring rights to writer-director Calvin Lee Reeder’s “The Rambler,” which premieres Monday night at the Library.

Deal covers theatrical, home entertainment, television and digital distribution rights in North America, the U.K. and Australia.

Dermot Mulroney as the title character who, upon being released from prison, stumbles upon a strange mystery as he attempts a dangerous journey through treacherous back roads and small towns en route to reconnecting with his long-lost brother.

Pic, which co-stars Lindsay Pulsipher (“True Blood”) and Natasha Lyonne (“American Pie”), is based on Reeder’s short film of the same name that screened at Sundance and SXSW back in 2008.

Michael Benaroya (“Margin Call”) fully financed the movie through his genre label AKA Pictures. XYZ Films’ (“The Raid”) co-founder Nate Bolotin produced alongside Brooklyn Reptyle Films’ Roger M. Mayer and Christo Dimassis. Clayton Young of Benaroya Pictures also produced on behalf of AKA Pictures along with James Lesjek. AKA/Benaroya Pictures head of production Joe Jenckes exec produced along with his Bow Street Films partner David Dickson under a new partnership between AKA and Bow Street. XYZ’s Nick Spicer and Aram Tertzakian also exec produced.

“I’ve always loved Anchor Bay Films. ‘Repo Man,’ ‘Holy Mountain’ and ‘El Topo’ make my top 10 all-timers for sure. I am so excited to be working with the company that revived those legendary midnight movies, it’s a real honor,” added Reeder.

In an interview with Variety prior to the Sundance, Benaroya praised the Park City at Midnight lineup for having the courage to distinguish itself from other festivals. “It features less expected midnight fare than other festivals. I like when I’m able to see midnight movies other than horror movies. It’s limiting when it’s all the same kind of stuff. John Cooper and Trevor Groth have great taste and I think it’s smart to have a range of product and different experiences. As someone who’s really at Sundance for the movies, I would rather have more variety.”

Indeed, this year the Park City at Midnight section features femme-powered comedy “Ass Backwards,” the horror-comedy “Hell Baby” and the James Franco-produced documentary “Kink.”

Deal for “The Rambler” was negotiated by Kevin Kasha and Marc Barson for Anchor Bay Films and by Bolotin for XYZ Films. Foreign sales are being handled by Celluloid Nightmares, the partnership between XYZ Films and Celluloid Dreams.

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