Happy Accidents and Shadow Magic were the last two pictures to secure domestic distribution deals at this year's Sundance Film Festival, although offers are on the table for at least four more, making it one of the busiest, if most conservative, buyer frenzies in years.
Paramount Classics is in the final stages of acquiring rights in the English-speaking world (North America, UK, Australia & New Zealand, South Africa) to Brad Anderson's Happy Accidents for a reported $2.5m. It was the company's first buy at the festival.
Meanwhile Sony Pictures Classics, which clinched the first deal of the festival, buying worldwide rights to rave picture Groove, took North America and Australia on Ann Hu's Shadow Magic in a deal thought to be worth just under $1m.
A time travel romantic comedy starring Marisa Tomei and Vincent D'Onofrio, Happy Accidents was another festival success story for IFC Films which produced Girlfight. As on that film, John Sloss of Sloss Law Office represented IFC in the deal with Paramount Classics. A foreign sales agent has yet to be appointed.
Meanwhile Ira Deutchman of Redeemable Features represented Shadow Magic, a multi-national co-production written, produced and directed by first-timer Ann Hu, one of the first students allowed to leave China after the Cultural Revolution. The movie was co-produced by Sandra Schulberg, Zhang Xia, Lee You-Ning and Cheng Zheng.
In Shadow Magic, told almost entirely in Chinese, Jared Harris plays a westerner who arrives in Peking in 1902 to introduce the moving picture to the Chinese. He teams up with a young local photographer (Xia Yu) but the two underestimate the strength of traditional entertainments.
The film was produced by C&A Productions, Schulberg Productions, Post Production Playground, China Film - and marking their first collaboration - China's Beijing Film Studio and Taiwan's Central Motion Picture Corporation. Additional funding was sourced from Road Movies and NRW Film Foundation in Germany.
Other films which should close domestic distribution deals include Adam Marcus' romantic comedy Snow Days (which played in American Spectrum), Maggie Greenwald's period drama Songcatcher which Trimark Pictures is close to acquiring, Henry Bromell's comedy Panic starring William H Macy and Neve Campbell, and Kenneth Lonergan's Grand Jury Prize-winner You Can Count On Me for which both Paramount Classics and USA Films have made initial offers.