First, The Weinstein Company has acquired actor Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut “Quartet,” the comedy that stars an impressive ensemble of older talent like Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, Michael Gambon and Pauline Collins. Apparently the Weinsteins closed the deal to acquire this one for around $3 million, and picked it up before anyone else could get their hands on it. Word has it that a screening for buyers was scrapped following the Weinstein’s acquisition, and it was a title insiders were expecting would be nabbed closer to Cannes. “Quartet” follows Cecily (Collins), Reggie (Tom Courtenay) and Wilfred (Connolly), aging opera singers who reside in a home for those of their profession, and each year they stage a concert to celebrate Verdi’s birthday. When Reggie’s ex-wife Jean (Smith) arrives at the home, things are upturned for these professionals who have become set in their ways. Though this isn’t the first time Hoffman has sat in the director’s chair, as he did some uncredited work on the underrated classic “Straight Time” in 1978, this will be his first official gig. This sounds like material ripe for awards season, so we’d expect to see this one to be a highlight on the fall festival circuit.
Last, Tribeca Film has acquired the Paul Dano-starring “For Ellen,” which we saw at Sundance and called "a grinding and exhausting experience," will make it’s way to select theaters starting September 5th at New York’s Film Forum. “Treeless Mountain” helmer So Yong Kim’s latest directorial effort centers on a father attempting to reconcile with his young daughter, and win custody from his estranged wife. The film is also set for a VOD and online release, which we’d imagine would happen around the same time. [Deadline/Deadline]