With the Toronto Film Festival headed into the home stretch, the pace of dealmaking has remained steady rather than sizzling.
Wednesday sale of Lynn Shelton’s “My Sister’s Sister” for an estimated $1.5 million aggregate in a trio of transactions emerged as the day’s major development. IFC also bought a pair of lower-profile titles — Abel Ferrara’s “4:44: Last Day on Earth” and Alexandre Courtes’ horror pic “The Incident” — and Palisades Tartan nabbed U.S. and U.K. rights to Iranian director Jafar Panahi’s clandestine “This Is Not a Film.”
So far, the major deal closed remains CBS Films’ purchase Sunday of “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” for around $5 million. Other notable buys include “Awakening,” “God Bless America,” “Goon,” “The Lady,” “Killer Joe” and “Shame”; key titles “Friends With Kids,” “360,” “The Hunter,” “Winnie,” “Peace Love and Misunderstanding,” “Rampart,” “The Oranges” are still in play.
Presence of new buyers (aside from CBS Film) hasn’t yet generated much activity as Open Road, Relativity and FilmDistrict haven’t pulled the trigger on deals. Several players noted that with the emergence of digital platforms, transactions have become far more complicated.
Kevin Kasha, exec VP of worldwide acquisitions and co-productions for Anchor Bay Entertainment, told Variety that the pace of dealmaking so far isn’t surprising. “No surprises at the festival yet… at least not in my humble opinion,” he said Wednesday. Anchor Bay made a first-day buy of the U.S. rights to “13,” Gela Babluani’s remake of his 2005 thriller “13 Tzameti.”
‘Your Sister’s Sister’ makes three for IFC
After a long night of negotiation, IFC Films has acquired North American and Latin American rights to “Humpday” helmer Lynn Shelton’s latest, “Your Sister’s Sister,” which preemed Sunday in Toronto.
Love-triangle comedy stars Mark Duplass as a man mourning the recent death of his brother, Emily Blunt as his platonic best friend and Rosemarie DeWitt as her sister.
Sellers Submarine and UTA also closed separate deals for other territories. Studiocanal has acquired U.K. rights, while Madman acquired rights for Australia and New Zealand. The aggregate value of the three rights deals is estimated at $1.5 million.
IFC is planning a summer rollout.
“Sister” is an ADA Films production. The producer is Steven Schardt, Jennifer Roth and Vallejo Gantner exec produced.
Deal was negotiated by Arianna Bocco, senior VP of acquisitions & productions for Sundance Selects IFC Films, with Submarine Entertainment and UTA Independent Film Group on behalf of the filmmakers.
IFC also picked up North American rights to Abel Ferrara’s apocalyptic “4:44 Last Day on Earth.”
Ferrara wrote the screenplay for “4:44,” which stars Willem Dafoe, Shanyn Leigh, Paz de la Huerta and Natasha Lyonne and was produced by Fabula, Funny Balloons and Wild Bunch. Pic premiered at Venice and will screen at the upcoming New York Film Festival.
“4:44” explores how people would spend their final hours on Earth. Deal was negotiated by Bocco with Carole Baraton at Wild Bunch on behalf of the filmmakers.
Meanwhile, the multiplatform distrib’s IFC Midnight arm picked up North American rights to Alexandre Courtes’ thriller “The Incident,” which premiered Monday in Toronto’s Midnight Madness lineup.
Story centers on three band members who are cooks at a mental hospital and come face to face with the lunatics after a power outage. Producers are Wassim Beji, Yannick Bollor and Emilie Chatel. Roy Lee and Doug Davison exec produced.
Deal was negotiated by Jeff Deutchman, manager of acquisitions and productions for Sundance Selects/IFC Films, with Paradigm and Charlotte Boucon, sales manager at SND M6, on behalf of the filmmakers.
Oscilloscope buys ‘Wuthering Heights’
Oscilloscope Laboratories has acquired North American rights to Andrea Arnold’s “Wuthering Heights.”
The updated adaptation of Emily Bronte’s novel screened at TIFF on Friday after premiering at Venice, where it won the cinematography award.
Oscilloscope plans to release the film theatrically next year followed by releases on DVD and in multiple digital platforms.
“Wuthering Heights” is an Ecosse Films production co-developed and co-financed by Film4, the U.K. Film Council, Screen Yorkshire and Goldcrest Films. Producers are Ecosse’s Robert Bernstein and Douglas Rae, along with Kevin Loader.
Deal was negotiated by David Fenkel of Oscilloscope and Thorsten Schumacher and Claire Taylor of HanWay.
Palisades Tartan picks up ‘This Is Not a Film’
Palisades Tartan has snapped up U.S. and U.K. rights to “This Is Not a Film,” the clandestine picture about Iranian director Jafar Panahi, from Wide Management.
Deal was announced Wednesday, a week after Iranian authorities banned documaker Mojtaba Mirtahmasb — who co-helmed “This Is Not a Film” with Panahi — from traveling outside the country. The purpose of the trip was to promote the French theatrical release of “This Is Not a Film” before flying on to the Toronto fest to attend the Canadian premiere.
“This film is of undeniable importance today, especially amid the current Middle Eastern unrest,” said Palisades president-CEO Soumya Sriraman on Wednesday.
Mirtahmasb was allowed to attend the Cannes Film Festival in May for the world preem of “Not a Film,” shot almost entirely in Panahi’s apartment on digital video and an iPhone for just $4,500. Dedicated to all Iranian filmmakers, it was smuggled to France on a USB drive hidden inside a cake.
Panahi openly supported the opposition party in Iran’s 2009 election, resulting in a six-year prison sentence and a 20-year ban from filmmaking and conducting interviews with foreign press. Panahi is currently under house arrest.