One of the biggest movies at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, “The Tale,” has sold to HBO Films, Variety has learned. The movie will premiere on the cable network, making it eligible for the Emmys.
In “The Tale,” Laura Dern stars as a professor and documentary filmmaker who is a survivor of sexual abuse, as she recalls what happened to her when she was 13. “The Tale” is based on writer-director Jennifer Fox’s own life, and it quickly became one of the most talked about and timely films to screen at Sundance, against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement.
The deal for North American and overseas territories was in the high seven figure range, making it one of the largest pacts out of this year’s Sundance. “The Tale” will debut along with an outreach program for victims of sexual abuse, which was one of the requests of the filmmakers.
“It has always been my intent to find an engaged distribution partner who deeply understands the wide reach of the project, not just as a film, but also for the impact it can have on a larger global conversation,” Fox said in a statement. “In a world in which stories like mine have often been pushed into the darkness, no one has been better at shining a light on storytelling and important social issues than HBO. I am overjoyed to be able to take ‘The Tale’ out into the world with such a vibrant and engaged team.”
Several distributors expressed interest in the movie, but HBO managed to land it. “I can’t imagine a more timely and relevant film for HBO to have bought at Sundance,” said Len Amato, president of HBO Films in a statement. “’The Tale, a courageous and deeply effective memoir from acclaimed filmmaker Jennifer Fox–and starring Laura Dern in a career-defining role–is a personal journey that embraces the truth of one survivor’s experience and the power of memory. We’re honored to bring this groundbreaking and revelatory film to the HBO audience”.
The rest of the cast includes Elizabeth Debicki, Jason Ritter, Frances Conroy, Ellen Burstyn, Common and newcomer Isabelle Nelisse as young Jenny.
“The Tale” was produced by Oren Moverman, Laura Rister, Lawrence Inglee, Mynette Louie, Sol Bondy, Simone Pero, Reka Posta, Regina K. Scully and Lynda Weinman.
The deal was negotiated by ICM Partners and Rister.