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Searchlight ‘Waking’ up to deal

Grabs North, South American rights to English comedy

Making its first acquisition at Cannes, Fox Searchlight Pictures has purchased the North and South American rights to Overseas Film Group’s English comedy “Waking Ned,” the debut feature from commercial director Kirk Jones.

Glynis Murray and Richard Holmes produced the pic and Neil Peplow served as co-producer. The trio previously teamed to produce “Shooting Fish,” a recent Searchlight release that the Fox specialized banner picked up at Cannes last year.

Searchlight topper Lindsay Law initiated negotiations after attending the film’s first market screening May 18, and closed the deal late in the evening May 19.

David Kelly, Ian Bannen, Fionnula Flanagan and Susan Lynch star in the film about a small village in Ireland that is turned upside down when a villager wins the national lottery. Pic was filmed entirely on the Isle of Man — also the locale for Searchlight’s upcoming “Dreaming of Joseph Lees” –and was inspired by a true story.