Thetaste for street culture and urban storytelling continued to drive the earlydeals at Sundance yesterday (24) as Lions Gate Films acquired all worldwiderights to Rizeby David LaChapelle.
The documentary centres on a former children's entertainer who opens an academydevoted to clowning and krumping, an emerging dance form out of South CentralLos Angeles that involves blindingly fast body gyrations.
LaChapelle, an internationally renowned fashion photographer and music videodirector, adapted the story from his short film Krumped, which played atSundance last year. This year's homecoming was a success and earned thedirector a 10-minute standing ovation when it first screened on Jan 21.
Lions Gate Films Releasing president Tom Ortenberg, president of acquisitions,television and co-productions Peter Block, president of worldwide marketingJohn Hegeman and senior vice president of acquisitions Jason Constantinenegotiated the deal with CAA, Irwin Rappaport and Fred Torres of Lucid ShootProductions for LaChapelle.
"We were dazzled by its beauty and energy and look forward to introducing Rizetoaudiences around the world," Ortenberg said. An elated LaChapelle said he wentfor Lions Gate after "much thought and consideration" and thanked biddersfor their interest.
The deal follows Sunday's acquisition by Paramount and MTV Films of CraigBrewer's hip-hop drama Hustle & Flow under a three-picture deal with producerJohn Singleton.
Armada International has sealed a raft of international sales on Zola Maseko'sApartheid drama Drum, based on a true story and starring Taye Diggs as aninvestigative reporter in 1950s Johannesburg.
All rights were sold to Magna Pacific for Australia, California Films forBrazil, Paradiso for Benelux, and to Prooptiki for Greece. The picture receivesits premiere later today (25).
Meanwhile sources predicted The Matador, which Miramax is the favourite topurchase, was now likely to close later today, while buyers continued to circleRian Johnson's Brick, Scott Coffrey's episodic LA-set Ellie Parker, and Noah Baumbach'saccount of family dysfunction The Squid And The Whale in the AmericanDramatic Competition, as well as David Slade's Park City At Midnight hit HardCandy.
Last night there was intense speculation that UK and Australian rights to HardCandyhad sold to Redbus and Icon respectively, however sales agents Traction Mediaand William Morris had not confirmed this at time of going to press.
Slamdance is close to announcing deals, with buyers said to be closing in lastnight on documentaries MadHot Ballroom byMarilyn Agrelo and Ringers: Lord Of The Fans.