I can predict that we shall be hearing more from UTA's Indie Film Group headed by Rena Ronson and Rich Klubeck. This is notable because it speaks well of the indie business and it is notable because their new hire, Yale Chasin, is a real up-and-comer who will be heard from on the festival circuit starting with Toronto where UTA Indie Film Group is very active in representing films, although that is not exactly what he will be doing.
In Sundance, UTA repped 12 films, tying with CAA and Submarine for the most films repped there.
Here is what UTA repped:
- Austenland / U.S., United Kingdom (Director: Jerusha Hess ♀, Screenwriters: Jerusha Hess, Shannon Hale) — Thirtysomething, single Jane is obsessed with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice. On a trip to an English resort, her fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman become more real than she ever imagined. Cast: Keri Russell, JJ Feild, Bret McKenzie, Jennifer Coolidge, Georgia King, James Callis. Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions acquired worldwide rights at Sundance - Sony Pictures Classics has U.S.
- In a World... / U.S. (Director and screenwriter: Lake Bell (♀)) — An underachieving vocal coach is motivated by her father, the king of movie-trailer voice-overs, to pursue her aspirations of becoming a voiceover star. Amidst pride, sexism and family dysfunction, she sets out to change the voice of a generation. Cast: Lake Bell, Demetri Martin, Rob Corddry, Michaela Watkins, Ken Marino, Fred Melamed. Roadside Attractions acquired U.S. rights and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions acquired international rights post-Sundance.
- Crystal Fairy /ɤ LGBT/ Chile (Director and screenwriter: Sebastián Silva ɤ) — Jamie invites a stranger to join a road trip to Chile. The woman’s free and esoteric nature clashes with Jamie’s acidic, self-absorbed personality as they head into the desert for a Mescaline-fueled psychedelic trip. Cast: Michael Cera, Gabby Hoffmann, Juan Andrés Silva, José Miguel Silva, Agustín Silva. World Premiere. DAY ONE FILM ISA: Content -- IFC Films acquired No. American rights post-Sundance.
- Breathe In / U.S. (Director: Drake Doremus, Screenwriters: Drake Doremus, Ben York Jones) — When a foreign exchange student arrives in a small upstate New York town, she challenges the dynamics of her host family’s relationships and alters their lives forever. Cast: Guy Pearce, Felicity Jones, Amy Ryan, Mackenzie Davis. ISA: QED International. Cohen Media Group acquired U.S. from Paintbrush in March 2012. Dutch Filmworks has The Netherlands.
- Ass Backwards / U.S. (Director: Chris Nelson, Screenwriters: June Diane Raphael, Casey Wilson) — Loveable losers Kate and Chloe take a road trip back to their hometown to claim the beauty pageant crown that eluded them as children, only to discover what really counts: friendship. Cast: June Diane Raphael, Casey Wilson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Alicia Silverstone, Jon Cryer, Brian Geraghty.ISA: Premiere Entertainment Group. Gravitas has U.S., Eagle has the Middle East.
- Afternoon Delight / U.S. (Director and screenwriter: Jill Soloway ♀) — In this sexy, dark comedy, a lost L.A. housewife puts her idyllic hipster life in jeopardy when she tries to rescue a stripper by taking her in as a live-in nanny. Cast: Kathryn Hahn, Juno Temple, Josh Radnor, Jane Lynch. Shares rights with Lichter, Grossman, Nichols, Adler & Feldman. Premiere Entertainment Group picked up international rights and The Film Arcade picked up U.S. post- Sundance.
- C.O.G. / U.S. (Director and screenwriter: Kyle Patrick Alvarez (ɤ) — In the first ever film adaptation of David Sedaris’ work, a cocky young man travels to Oregon to work on an apple farm. Out of his element, he finds his lifestyle and notions being picked apart by everyone who crosses his path. Cast: Jonathan Groff, Denis O’Hare, Corey Stoll, Dean Stockwell, Casey Wilson, Troian Bellisario.Shares rights with Preferred Content. Screen Media Films has U.S. except for VOD and Focus World (a part of Universal's Focus Features) has VOD.
- Touchy Feely /LGBT/ U.S. (Director and screenwriter: Lynn Shelton ♀) — A massage therapist is unable to do her job when stricken with a mysterious and sudden aversion to bodily contact. Meanwhile, her uptight brother’s foundering dental practice receives new life when clients seek out his “healing touch.” Cast: Rosemarie DeWitt, Allison Janney, Ron Livingston, Scoot McNairy, Ellen Page, Josh Pais. Shares rights with Submarine. ISA: Magnolia (acquired post-Sundance). Kurmaca Film has Turkey.
- The Spectacular Now / U.S. (Director: James Ponsoldt, Screenwriters: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber) — Sutter is a high school senior who lives for the moment; Aimee is the introvert he attempts to “save.” As their relationship deepens, the lines between right and wrong, friendship and love, and “saving” and corrupting become inextricably blurred. Cast: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kyle Chandler. ISA: The Exchange - A24 took U.S. distribution at Sundance.
- Magic Magic / ɤ/ U.S., Chile (Director and screenwriter: Sebastián Silva ɤ) — An American girl vacationing in remote Chile mentally unravels, putting herself and those around her in danger. Cast: Michael Cera, Juno Temple, Emily Browning, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Augustín Silva. World Premiere ISA: The Exchange/ 6 Sales. Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions acquired most international rights.
- Kill Your Darlings /LGBT/ U.S. (Director: John Krokidas, Screenwriters: Austin Bunn, John Krokidas) — An untold story of murder that brought together a young Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs at Columbia University in 1944, providing the spark that led to the birth of an entire generation – their Beat revolution. Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHann, Ben Foster, Michael C. Hall, Jack Huston, Elizabeth Olsen. Shares rights with Elevated Film Sales ISA: Inferno Entertainment -- Sony Pictures Classics acquired U.S., Australia/ N.Z., South Africa, African TV and Eastern Europe excluding C.I.S. at Sundance. Post Sundance sales included Lumière Benelux, Future Film – Finland, Koch Media Gmbh – Germany, Notorious Pictures – Italy, Noble Entertainment – Sweden. Applause Entertainment Ltd. Taiwan Branch – Taiwan, The Works UK Distribution - U.K.
- The Look of Love / U.K. (Director: Michael Winterbottom, Screenwriter: Matt Greenhalgh) — The true story of British adult magazine publisher and entrepreneur Paul Raymond. A modern day King Midas story, Raymond became one of the richest men in Britain at the cost of losing those closest to him. Cast: Steve Coogan, Anna Friel, Imogen Poots, Tamsin Egerton. - UTA is No.American consultant to StudioCanal. IFC Films acquired No. American rights at Sundance. StudioCanal has U.K., Madman Entertainment – Australia/ N.Z., Wild Bunch – Benelux and Germany, Blue Sky Media -Czech Republic, Alpenrepublik Filmverleih - Germany , Pretty Pictures – France, Vertigo Média Kft. – Hungary, So. Korea - Timestory
Chasin who had earlier been VP of International Distribution for The Weinstein Company in New York oversaw films there that included The Artist, The Kings Speech, The Fighter, A Single Man, Inglorious Bastards and The Reader. He joined the Weinstein Company as an assistant in 2006. That is quite an arc in the space of 6 years.
At UTA, he will focus on film finance strategies for domestic and international productions. Hailey Wierengo of UTA Indie Group was recently promoted to agent and Mikey Schwartz Wright to coordinator in the divison which also has agents David Flynn and Bec Smith.
“Yale brings a wealth of experience in international sales and distribution that makes him a great addition as we expand our global reach,” said UTA Independent Film Group co-head Rena Ronson. Rena also cut her eye-teeth in international sales and so I predict what we will be hearing is much more international news coming out of UTA.