As Sundance started to wind down, Lionsgate took worldwide rightsto Chris Gorak's dirty bomb thriller Right At Your Door, which gathered rapid momentum this weekfollowing its Monday world premiere.
In another deal - the first for a documentary at this Sundance -IFC acquired North American rights to Patrick Creadon's crossword documentary Wordplay.
Meanwhile Universal executives were holding talks last night withYari Film Group's mystery The Illusionist but no deal had been confirmed at time of writing. Othertitles in the mix include Come Early Morning, Off The Black, Half Nelson and the coffee trade documentary BlackGold.
Lionsgate reportedly paid in the region of $2m for Right AtYour Door, which wasproduced by Jonah Smith and Palmer West of Los Angeles-based Thousand Words.
The thriller charts the (literal) fallout that ensues after aseries of dirty bombs is detonated over Los Angeles. Mary McCormack and RoryCochrane play a couple who try to survive and make sense of events as theyunfold.
"This taut andsuperbly executed thriller will prove to have global appeal," president ofinternational Nick Meyer, who is expected to begin international sales atBerlin, said.
"With our recently acquired UK distributor Redbus releasingin the UK, and Simon Franks and Zygi Kamasa team's enthusiasm and provensuccess in this genre, this film will be a great opportunity to maximise on theexpansion of our distribution model."
"We are ecstatic to be in business with Lionsgate,"Smith and West added. "They were our number one choice going into thisfestival as we know they will do a fantastic job brining the movie to audiencesworldwide."
Director of acquisitions Eda Kowan attended Monday's screening andidentified the picture for potential acquisition.
Lionsgate's president of acquisitions and co-productions PeterBlock, senior vice president of acquisitions and co-productions JasonConstantine and Meyer negotiated the deal with UTA's Richard Klubeck, AlanGrodin of Weissman, Wolff, Bergman, Coleman, Grodin and Evall, and Smith andWest on behalf of Thousand Words.
The documentary Wordplay generated instant buzz as soon as it premiered lastweekend, and means IFC walks away with two Sundance films following thefinalised deal for Factotum earlier in the week.
IFC plans a 2006 release for Wordplay, a profile of New York Times puzzleeditor Will Shortz that features footage of the American Crossword PuzzleTournament.
The picture includesinterviews with crossword aficionados Bill Clinton, comedian Jon Stewart anddocumentarian Ken Burns. Christine O'Malley served as producer.
"This has been one of the most rewarding Sundance experiencesin the history of IFC," IFC Entertainment president Jonathan Sehring said.
"With our acquiring Factotum at the start and announcing the launchof IFC's First Take [Screendaily, Jan 24], we felt it couldn't get any better.Then Wordplay captured the hearts of the entire team, and we simply couldn'tlive without it."
"We are so excited that Wordplay has found a home at IFC Films,"Creadon said. "IFC's reputation for supporting independent film, and thefact that they loved the movie as much as we did, makes our partnership aperfect fit."
Sehring andsenior vice president of acquisitions Sarah Lash negotiated the deal with CineticMedia on behalf of the filmmakers.