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Sundance Dealbook: IFC Gets The Ledge, Searchlight Does Homework, Sundance Selects Adds Buck

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood January 24, 2011 at 6:28AM

The Sundance deals continued to play out in a more active market. On Sunday Fox Searchlight picked up most worldwide rights (for $3 million) to rookie director Gavin Wiesen's high school romance Homework, starring Emma Roberts as a gorgeous girl who sees merit in lonely depressive Freddie Highmore. Produced by P. Jennifer Dana, Kara Baker, Gia Walsh and Darren Goldberg, the teen flick is set for 2011 release. The trades didn't go for it: here'sVariety and THR.)
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Thompson on Hollywood

The Sundance deals continued to play out in a more active market. On Sunday Fox Searchlight picked up most worldwide rights (for $3 million) to rookie director Gavin Wiesen's high school romance Homework, starring Emma Roberts as a gorgeous girl who sees merit in lonely depressive Freddie Highmore. Produced by P. Jennifer Dana, Kara Baker, Gia Walsh and Darren Goldberg, the teen flick is set for 2011 release. The trades didn't go for it: here's
Variety and THR.)

On Monday, IFC Films acquired U.S. rights to writer-director Matthew Chapman's grim suicide drama The Ledge, starring Liv Tyler, Terrence Howard, Charlie Hunnnam and Patrick Wilson, and produced by Mark Damon, which polarized audiences and critics at the fest. The film is entered in the dramatic competition. And Sundance Selects/IFC Films announced the pick-up of North American rights to Cindy Meehl's popular Horse Whisperer doc Buck (more details and trailer here), which is in the doc competition.

"The Ledge is a well-crafted and morally complex thriller that will really get people talking," said Jonathan Sehring, President of Sundance Selects/IFC Films. "Our entire company has fallen in love with Buck. Cindy Meehl's funny, deeply inspiring and crowd pleasing film about Buck Brannaman has ignited the passion of audiences in Park City and we're confident the rest of the country will feel the same."

Here's college student Nora Chute's take on Homework:

It's a fresh spin on the high school love story. It manages to take cliche components-- the smart but unmotivated loner, the pretty misunderstood girl, the over-worked mom--and create an honest story with just enough hollywood polish and fantasy. It was pleasant, funny, complex and accurate.

This article is related to: Festivals, Sundance


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.