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TIFF Deal Round-Up: Neil Young and Panahi Films, Killer Joe, Awakening, God Bless America, Incident

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood September 14, 2011 at 6:00AM

While the Toronto Film Festival has not been a hotbed of dealmaking activity, many buyers are negotiating behind the scenes for smaller acquisitions that won't send rockets into the stratosphere. Here's a round-up of recent TIFF deals (UPDATED):
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Thompson on Hollywood

While the Toronto Film Festival has not been a hotbed of dealmaking activity, many buyers are negotiating behind the scenes for smaller acquisitions that won't send rockets into the stratosphere. Here's a round-up of recent TIFF deals (UPDATED):

-Not surprisingly, given their long relationship with Demme, Sony Pictures Classics is finalizing the U.S. pick-up of Jonathan Demme's third Neil Young music documentary, Neil Young Journeys, which weaves performances from two nights of the singer's new album (Le Noise) as well as older classics, with footage from a road trip through Ontario in a 1956 Ford Crown Victoria, in which Young reminisces about his years in the region. (Our Demme interview and exclusive clip here.)

Thompson on Hollywood


-Word started circulating Tuesday night that Magnet/Magnolia its chasing its second fest deal after Goon, a worldwide rights deal on Bobcat Goldthwait's Midnight Madness vigilante shooter flick God Bless America, starring Joel Murray, probably for Ultra VOD 2012 release.

-North American rights to another Midnight Madness thriller, Alexandre Courtes's horrific The Incident, about a trio of cooks trapped inside a high security lunatic asylum without electric power, have gone to IFC Midnight, a sister division to IFC Films and Sundance Selects.

-Palisades Tartan has acquired US and UK rights to Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb’s This is Not a Film, the clandestine profile of Iranian director Panahi (Offside, The Circle), whose support of the opposition party in Iran’s 2009 election landed him a six-year prison sentence (he is under house arrest) and a 20-year ban from filmmaking and talking to foreign press. Wednesday Mirtahmasb was detained at the Tehran airport, preventing him from attending the film’s Canadian premiere. The film community rallied behind Panahi at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, after which a long list of top directors signed an Amnesty International petition for him.

-CAA and Voltage sold William Friedkin's Killer Joe, starring Emile Hirsch and Matthew McConaughey, to Mickey Liddell Entertainment (Biufitul). The film follows a drug dealer (Hirsch) whose mom steals his money; in order to come up with cash to save his life, he hires a killer (McConaughey) to kill his mother for her life insurance policy. The killer waives his usual up-front demand and takes the drug dealer's little sister as collateral (you can see the set up in the clip below). The AV Club writes: "Killer Joe pitches to the rafters, amping up a hicksploitation thriller with unnecessary jolts of savage violence and abuse."

-Nick Murphy's frightener The Awakening sold to Cohen Media Group for US distribution from Studiocanal (who previously sold pics Outside the Law, La Delicatesse and My Afternoons With Margueritte to CMG). Rebecca Hall stars with Dominic West and Imelda Staunton in the supernatural period thriller, set in 1921. Hall plays a woman who seeks to expose all séances as shams but a boys' boarding school scares her out of her skepticism.

This article is related to: Directors, Festivals, Genres, Headliners, Independents, Video, Toronto, Drama, Documentaries, Action, Foreign, Trailers


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Thompson on Hollywood

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.