One of the Sundance FilmFestival's most acclaimed competition entries this year - Nicole Kassell's TheWoodsman - was sold yesterday toNewmarket Films for North America for a figure in the $1.2m range.
The deal, closed yesterdayafternoon, was the end of a bidding war between six buyers for thecontroversial title which tells the story of a paedophile and his attempts toreintegrate into the community after 12 years in prison. It stars Kevin Bacon,who also executive produced, and his wife Kyra Sedgwick.
Also sold yesterday to FirstLook Media for the world was September Tapes, a movie shot in post-9/11 Afghanistan about anAmerican man's attempts to understand the current state of the world. Playingin the American Spectrum section of Sundance, the film was sold for a figureapproaching seven figures.
The Woodsman, tipped by many to clinch the Grand Jury Prize atSundance this year, is Newmarket's first buy of the festival. The deal wasnegotiated by William Tyrer, Bob Berney and Robert Fyvolent for Newmarket withCassian Elwes and Rena Ronson of William Morris Independent on behalf ofproduction company Lee Daniels Entertainment.
William Morris alsorepresents Bacon, Sedgwick and co-star Benjamin Bratt and represented co-starEve when the film was first packaged.
"We are very proud to behandling the film," Bob Berney told Screendaily yesterday. "It is the same kindof challenging material as Monster,which is on release for us at the moment, and Monster's Ball [Lee Daniels Entertainment's previous film] and weplan to release it in the fourth quarter of the year like those films."
Some studio distributorsbalked at the subject matter of The Woodsman, which was expected to be sold to a trueindependent. The film is executive produced by Bacon, Damon Dash and Brooke andDawn Lenfest. A deal for international rights has yet to be closed.
First Look acquired SeptemberTapes from Persistent Entertainmentand Complex Media. The deal was negotiated by Peter Lawson, vice president ofacquisitions, and Bill Lischak, president of First Look Media, with ShaunRedick of ICM and Linda Lichter of Lichter/Grossman on behalf of PersistentEntertainment's Matthew Rhodes and Judd Payne and Complex Media's ChristianJohnston and Brent Henry.
First Look will handletheatrical distribution of the film itself in North America.
As the festival draws to aclose, there are still several deals being negotiated, marking a busy year fordeals. The Sundance awards will be announced on Saturday night.