Paramount Classics andNickelodeon have teamed up to buy worldwide rights excluding Australia and New Zealand toSlamdance opening night picture Mad Hot Ballroom, on a day that produced a raft of major deals atSundance (27).
In three North American acquisitions Samuel Goldwyn Films and RoadsideAttractions picked up Pretty Persuasion, THINKFilm took The Aristocrats and Warner Independent Pictures bought Strangers With Candy.
Slamdance organisers said the final screening of Mad Hot Ballroom drew a record number of buyers on Tuesday. Paramount Classics will take the picture to Berlin next month for a single screening.
Paramount Classics co-presidents Ruth Vitale and David Dinerstein, Paramountsenior vice president of business Jeff Freedman and senior vice president ofNickelodeon Movies Julia Pistor negotiated the deal with John Sloss and MicahGreen of Cinetic Media. Icon Entertainment bought rights to Australia and NewZealand earlier in the week.
Directed by Marilyn Agrelo and written by Amy Sewell, the documentary tracks agroup of 11-year old New York public schoolchildren who train for a citywideballroom dancing competition. Sewell and Agrelo produced.
"Mad Hot Ballroom is brilliantlytold and extremely entertaining," Vitale and Dinerstein said. "Like thereaction to Spellbound and StrictlyBallroom, we are confident that thisfilm will have universal appeal. It's an audience pleaser that is absolutelyirresistible."
This is the second cross-branding deal of the week for Viacomcompanies after the three-picture deal struck by Paramount and MTV Films withproducer John Singleton.
"We are so delighted for Marilyn and Amy," Slamdance director Kathleen McInnisadded. "This movie reaffirms so much the joy of life and I can't wait for therest of the country to see what we saw."
The Pretty Persuasion sale wasnegotiated by Samuel Goldwyn Films director of acquisitions Peter Goldwyn andRoadside Attractions co-president Howard Cohen with Doug Stone and MitchSmelkinson of Stone, Meyer & Genow and Phil Raskind of Endeavor.
A late summer release is planned for Marcos Siega's American DramaticCompetition entry, a satirical high school tale starring Evan Rachel Wood as agutsy Beverly Hills student who accuses her teacher of sexual harassment.
"Anybody who has seen the movie knows that it's pretty special and we saw whatthe distributors did with Super Size Me and Raising Victor Vargas,so it was an easy choice for us," producer Matt Weaver of Prospect Picturessaid.
"We have made a movie with the best actress of her generation in Evan RachelWood and the rest of the cast and director Marcos Siega are brilliant."
THINKFilm president Jeff Sackman and senior vice president of acquisitions andbusiness affairs Randy Manis negotiated the deal for The Aristocrats with Ken Weinrib of Franklin, Weinrib, Rudell andVassallo and Peter Golden on behalf of the filmmakers.
Playing in the American Documentary Competition, Paul Provenza and PennJillette's picture is arguably the bawdiest title screening in Park City thisweek, and features the same little-known lewd joke told by a who's who offamous comedians.
"I have rarely been more excited about a film and its potential," Sackman said."The Aristocrats audience runsthe gamut from frat boys to intellectuals, and we're going to have a great timereaching out to both ends of the spectrum and to everyone in between."
"I'm thrilled to be in business with THINKFilm because of their passion, theircreativity, and mostly because I haven't heard of anyone being screwed by themyet," Provenza added.
Warner Independent Pictures' Andrew Kramer negotiated the purchase of StrangersWith Candy with Cinetic Media's JohnSloss and Micah Green.
Paul Dinello's Midnight programme hopeful is a shock comedy prequel to the UStelevision series of the same name and stars Amy Sedaris as a former junkie whoenrolls in high school to start over in life.