SXSW has been underway for just short of a week now, and distribution deals have been struck for a couple of the films playing Austin. But to get things started, let's rewind to Sundance.
Phase 4 Films has acquired the U.S/Canadian distribution rights to "That's What She Said," Carrie Preston's comedy starring Anne Heche, Marcia DeBonis ("Whatever Works") and Alia Shawkat ("Arrested Development"). It's not the best news for anyone who saw the film's premiere at Sundance and loved it, because although it has secured distribution, it will be a fairly low-key affair with a day-and-date release in theaters and on VOD later this year. The movie follows best friends (Heche and De Bonis) -- one looking for love, another just coming out of a relationship -- who cross paths with a neurotic New Yorker (Shawkat). If anything, the film continues the recent renaissance of Anne Heche -- which is a good thing in and of itself.
Next up comes news that Anchor Bay is negotiating a distribution deal on the controversial thriller "Girls Against Boys." Austin Chick's film stars Nicole LaLiberte ("Kaboom") and Danielle Panabaker ("Friday the 13th") as a pair of bartenders who take revenge against men who have abused them. It sounds like an interesting exploitation flick, if nothing else, and should be able to find an audience one way or another.
And finally, Image Entertainment has picked up the U.S. distribution rights to "The Tall Man," starring Jessica Biel. Directed by Pascal Laugier -- who previously helmed the brutal "Martyrs" -- the film is set in a small town where children have gone missing over the years, leaving superstitious locals to tell tales of the Tall Man, a legendary, dark figure who absconds with children. The film has screened at SXSW and you'll be seeing our review shortly.