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Sundance '11: 'Salvation Boulevard,' 'Project Nim' & 'The Last Mountain' All Find Distribution

by Oliver Lyttelton
January 28, 2011 4:20 AM
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The 2011 Sundance Film Festival is heading towards its final weekend, with the awards ceremony capping things off on Sunday night, and attendees are starting to head home, nursing hangovers and ski injuries. But things aren't quite over yet, and another day brings news of new distribution deals, with three films being acquired in the last 24 hours, and just when we thought we weren't going to have to hit the thesaurus to find new euphemisms for the word 'acquired.'

First up is the satire "Salvation Boulevard," which stars Pierce Brosnan as a charismatic preacher trying to build a new church, and Greg Kinnear as the former hippie who takes the fall when Brosnan accidentally shoots a rival. There's a top-notch supporting cast as well, including Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly, Jim Gaffigan and Marisa Tomei, but the word's been fairly negative, for the most part, with most saying that the film's funny in spots, but mostly too broad and one-dimensional. Still, slapping that cast on a poster was too tempting for some to resist, and Deadline reports that IFC and Sony have teamed up to buy the North American rights, for an undisclosed sum. IFC will release the movie in theaters, while Sony presumably has the home entertainment spoils. Unless the reviews are wildly wrong, we're not particularly keen on this one, but we're sure it'll be worth checking out just for the cast.

More excitingly, Deadline also brings news that the festival's opener, the documentary "Project Nim," from "Man on Wire" director James Marsh, which was picked up by HBO Documentary Films before the festival began, will also get a theatrical release courtesy of Roadside Attractions. The film follows the titular Nim, a chimpanzee who became the center of an experiment, being raised as a human child to see if it would be able to communicate with language, and has picked up rave reviews ever since its first screening. As someone who had "Man On Wire" on their top 10 of the decade list, we're pleased as punch that this'll be seen on the big screen.

Finally, Dada Films has picked up US rights to the documentary "The Last Mountain" (again, via Deadline). The film, from director Bill Haney ("The Price of Sugar"), looks at the battle between an Appalachian community and a giant coal company, over the practice of blowing off the top of mountains, ruining the nearby landscape. Again, the film's received strong reviews, and Dada will release it in 20 top markets on June 3rd, making it the only film of the three to get a place on the calendar so far. We look forward to checking out all three, and indeed the rest of this year's Sundance grads, later in the year.

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