The snowy ground of Park City, Utah, is white, but the pockets of studio scouts are apparently stuffed with green, as three more movies were picked up for distribution. In recent years, the troubled economy and poor box-office performance of some indie-pickups put a chill on spending, but either due to the industry’s slow financial recovery, or simply a slate of more impressive films, distributors have been quick to make deals.
Here’s the latest to be heading from the festival to a theater near you:
Another Earth — Described as “near-fi,” or sci-fi that’s rooted in the very near future, sources close to the film confirm it was bought by indie powerhouse Fox Searchlight (its fourth purchase of the festival) for just under $1 million. This drama focuses on an MIT scientist (Brit Marling, also the co-writer), who causes a massive car accident on the day a new planet is discovered in the solar system — a twin version of Earth, previously hidden on the other side of the sun. As the secrets of this other world are explored, she struggles to make amends with the man whose family she killed in the crash (William Mapother, best known as creepy Ethan Rom on Lost) and yearns for a parallel life where the accident never happened.
The Guard — Sony Pictures Classics acquired this dark comedy, one of the first films to screen at the festival. A scofflaw Irish cop (Brendan Gleeson) is happy pinching a tab of LSD from a car crash victim, stealing a cache of guns from the IRA, and patronizing a pair of friendly prostitutes, but he’s the only real hero his small town has as he teams with a by-the-book FBI agent (Don Cheadle) to stop a half-a-billion-dollar drug shipment (though he quibbles with the actual dollar value of the drugs, from experience.)
UPDATE: IFC Films has announced it will distribute Perfect Sense, starring Ewan MacGregor and Eva Green in a dramatic thriller about an infection that spreads around the world and causes people to lose control of their emotions.
Some other movies that have been picked up: