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Fox Searchlight finds ‘Stein’ rights

IFP/West L.A. Fest awardwinner stars Westfeldt, Jurgensen

Fox Searchlight Pictures has picked up worldwide distribution rights including North America for north of $1 million to “Kissing Jessica Stein.”

Romantic comedy directed by Charles Herman-Wurmfeld took the audience award at the Independent Feature Project/West Los Angeles Film Festival in addition to a special jury prize for writing and acting.

Pic is the story of a young woman frustrated at her inability to find love who embarks on a series of disastrous first dates before answering a promising personal ad. The ad was placed, as it turns out, by another woman.

“Kissing” stars Jennifer Westfeldt and Heather Jurgensen, who also adapted the script from their play, “Lipschtick.” Eden Wurmfeld and Brad Zions produced the film, with Westfeldt and Jurgensen serving as co-producers. “Swingers” helmer Doug Liman served as an associate producer.

At one time, “Kissing” was in development at Gramercy Pictures. Filmmakers reacquired the rights when it was put in turnaround. Pic made its world premiere at last month’s IFP/W Los Angeles Film Festival.

John Sloss of Cinetic Media repped the pic and closed the deal with exec VP Joseph De Marco. Pic was brought into Fox Searchlight by junior acquisitions exec Hillary Field.

“The film deals with the ups and downs of a relationship from a unique perspective in a provocative, emotional and humorous way and is a real audience pleaser,” said Peter Rice, president of Fox Searchlight Pictures.