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Sundance: SPC, Magnolia first out of the gate

Submarine has completed a rare two-for-two, selling its first pair of Sundance screenings as it emerged on Friday (20) that Magnolia had paid low-to-mid six figures for North American rights excluding TV to The Queen Of Versailles.

Earlier in the day SPC confirmed it had paid mid-six figures for North American rights to Searching For Sugar Man. Both this film and Queen were two of the four opening night films on Thursday and Submarine’s Josh Braun and his team were locked in negotiations into the small hours of Friday. Braun is now entertaining offers to remake both films.

Malik Bendjelloul’s directorial debut Searching For Sugar Man screens in the World Cinema Documentary Competition and follows two South African fans who track down Rodriguez, a 1970s underground music icon.

Simon Chinn of Red Box Films produced and John Battsek of Passion Pictures served as executive producer in association with Canfield Pictures and The Documentary Company. SPC brokered the deal with Josh Braun and David Koh of Submarine. Protagonist Pictures handles international sales. Oscilloscope, IFC and Mickey Liddell’s fledgling LD Distribution had all been circling the film.

Lauren Greenfield’s The Queen Of Versailles plays in the US Documentary Competition and is a riches-to-rags tale about property billionaire David Siegel and his wife, whose dream of building a sprawling home in the US is scuppered by the financial crash.

Magnolia’s Dori Begley negotiated the deal with Submarine and said it was too soon to reveal exact release dates but said the film would open sometime in 2012.

Heading into Friday night there were anticipated screenings of Celeste And Jesse Forever, Red Lights and The Pact. Others on the buyer watchlist include Simon Killer from the filmmaking team behind Martha Marcy May Marlene and the miscarriage of justice documentary West Of Memphis backed by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh.

Paradigm Motion Picture Finance Group reported heavy interest in Destin Cretton’s NEXT entry I Am Not A Hipster on Friday morning.

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