The Sundance Film Festival has once again witness an aggressive bidding war as Miramax Films outgunned Fox Searchlight Pictures to grab worldwide rights to Gary Winick's shoestring-budgetTadpole for around $6m. At the same timeas many as five leading distributors continue in hot pursuit of Miguel Arteta's The Good Girl.
But bragging rights for thefirst actual signed deal belongs to Karen Moncrieff's Blue Car, her heartbreaking debut about a teenage girl whocompetes in a national poetry writing contest as an escape from her domesticturmoil, for which Miramax has paid an estimated $1.2m for worldwide rights. Ashas often been the case with Sundance discoveries in recent years, the film isplaying this week in the American Spectrum sidebar rather than in the maindramatic competition.
The biggest talkingpoint in Park City so far remains Tadpole, a film starring Sigourney Weaver as the object of her fifteen-year-oldstepson's romantic obsession and one of seven digital video productions madeunder the InDigEnt collective at an average cost of no more than $1m apiece.
By Sunday evening, Winick'srapturously received dramatic competition entry had seen its asking price leapto $6m as once again John Sloss' Cinetic Media finds itself orchestrating auction fever in Park City. All of which will be good newsfor everyone involved in Tadpole,from actors all the way down to the key grip, all of whom get to share in 50%of the distribution spoils.
As for Good Girl, which stars TV superstar Jennifer Anniston as abored blue-collar wife who embarks on an adulterous affair with a psychoticco-worker at a discount store, the interested buyers included United Artists,USA Films, Fine Line Features, Lions Gate Films and Fox Searchlight Pictures.The film was financed by Myriad Pictures, with WMA Independent charged withhandling the domestic negotiations at the festival.
Apart from these films,offers have been tabled for Gus Van Sant's Jerry, including one said to have come from Sony Pictures Classics, Nick Broomfield's L.A. Story and John Malkovich's directorial debut The DancerUpstairs. All three are alsorepresented by the WMA Independent team of Rena Ronson and Cassian Elwes. Also stirring early buying interest were Better Luck Tomorrow and Love Liza starring Philip Seymour Hoffman.