The Sundance Film Festival is still a week away, but Netflix isn’t waiting for the throngs to descend on Park City before making a big move.
The streaming giant has snapped up worldwide streaming video on-demand rights to “Tallulah,” Variety has learned. The story of a young drifter (Ellen Page) who takes a baby from a negligent mother was expected to be one of the hot titles at this year’s festival. It reunites Page with her “Juno” co-star Allison Janney.
Janney plays a woman who mistakenly believes she’s the child’s grandmother in what is being billed as a dramatic comedy.
It’s a homecoming of sorts for writer and director Sian Heder. She has a preexisting relationship with Netflix having worked as a writer and producer on “Orange is the New Black.” Her first short film, “Mother,” was honored at Cannes Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival and Florida Film Festival.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but insiders pegged the price as being in the mid-seven figures. Theatrical rights to the project are still in play.
The purchase comes as Netflix is moving aggressively to build up its feature film offerings, having scored by backing original television shows such as “House of Cards” and “Daredevil.” The company is currently on the Oscar hunt with last year’s child soldier drama “Beasts of No Nation” and released the Adam Sandler comedy “The Ridiculous 6” in December. Upcoming movies include “War Machine” with Brad Pitt, “Jadotville” with Jamie Dornan, “Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday,” and a sequel to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”
“Tallulah” was backed by Route One Entertainment, Maiden Voyages Pictures and Ocean Blue Entertainment. Russell Levine, Heather Rae, Chris Columbus and Todd Traina served as producers. The cast includes John Benjamin Hickey, Zachary Quinto, Uzo Aduba and Tammy Blanchard.
“Sian Heder is an exciting new voice in cinema and I am so proud to see her work continue from writing on the groundbreaking ‘Orange is the New Black’ to writing and directing this heartfelt crowd-pleasing film ‘Tallulah,'” said Levine, CEO of Route One Entertainment. “Audiences worldwide are now going to be able to see Sian’s amazing growth as an artist through the support of Netflix.”
ICM Partners and Good Universe represented the sale of the film.