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Wellspring taps ‘Tarnation’

Sundance doc secures distrib in U.K., Oz

Wellspring has closed theatrical distribution deals in the U.K. and Australia for Jonathan Caouette’s “Tarnation,” which drew a rousing response at its international premiere screening in Directors Fortnight Saturday.

Optimum Releasing — which also has Michael Moore’s competition entry “Fahrenheit 9/11” — picked up U.K. rights, while Dendy Films acquired rights for Australia.

Gotham-based Wellspring picked up worldwide rights to “Tarnation” last month in addition to boarding as co-producer. Company provided financing for additional post-production work, rights clearance and 35mm blowup.

One of three U.S. entries in the Directors Fortnight that originally premiered at Sundance, “Tarnation” was made entirely on Caouette’s home computer for a reported budget of $218.32.

The film uses still photos, home movies, video and audio diaries, phone messages, dramatic reenactments and ’80s pop culture samples to assemble a 20-year collage of the director’s early life with his mentally ill mother.

“Tarnation” was produced by Stephen Winter and exec produced by Gus Van Sant and John Cameron Mitchell.

Wellspring is negotiating sales in other key territories that the company expects to close in Cannes. Distrib is planning a fourth-quarter theatrical release in the U.S.