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USA Films takes ’59’ rights

Tyro Locke's thriller developed in Sundance Lab

USA Films has acquired worldwide rights to tyro writer-director Attica Locke’s “59,” to be produced and released by October Films. USA chairman Scott Greenstein and prexy Russell Schwartz made the announcement.

Locke, who developed the screenplay at the Sundance Institute’s Filmmaker’s Lab, will also make her helming debut on the pic. Husband-and-wife team Vondie Curtis-Hall and Kasi Lemmons will hold producer titles along with Helena Echegoyen.

Mystery-thriller “59” centers on an African-American woman whose investigation of her husband’s murder takes her to a small Texas town.

Curtis-Hall most recently wrote and directed “Gridlock’d,” starring Tim Roth and Tupac Shakur, and Lemmons wrote and directed the critically acclaimed “Eve’s Bayou.” Echegoyen served as a creative exec at Miramax and New Line, and most recently exec produced the latter’s “Love Jones.” Foreign sales for “59” will be handled by Good Machine Intl.

USA Films has several titles screening at the Toronto film festival, including Ang Lee’s “Ride With the Devil,” Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne’s “Rosetta” and Michael Winterbottom’s “Wonderland.”

USA Films is the motion picture production, marketing and distribution arm of USA Networks. It consists of Gramercy Pictures, October Films, USA Home Entertainment and certain domestic Polygram Filmed Entertainment assets.

Locke’s deal was negotiated by Endeavor and attorney Bob Myman.