It has been a busy shopping season for studios.
Two more films have been added to the ever-growing list of indies getting pick-up at the Sundance Film Festival. The 30-something coming-of-age dramedy Liberal Arts, the creepy haunted house story The Pact, the Australian vacation-gone-bad thriller Wish You Were Here, and the AIDS documentary How to Survive a Plague.
UPDATE: Participant Media and AFFRM (African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement) have joined forces to distribute the drama Middle of Nowhere, about a woman with a jailed husband trying to maintain the relationship.
IFC Films announced Thursday it had acquired Liberal Arts, from writer, director, star Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother.) The movie, about a burned-out 35-year-old New Yorker who returns to his alma mater in pursuit of literature, music, and poetry, only to fall for a 19-year-old (Elizabeth Olsen) who shares the same passions, has been a massive crowdpleaser at the festival, following in the footsteps of his previous Sundance movie HappyThankYouMorePlease. No release date was set.
IFC also acquired the midnight horror film The Pact, starring Caity Lotz, a supernatural serial-killer saga about a ghostly force menacing a young woman in order to force her to discover an infamous killer. The film got only so-so reviews, with critics pointing out a number of gigantic logic holes (like, if the ghost can beat up this innocent woman, why doesn’t it just attack its own killer?)
Wish You Were Here was acquired by Entertainment One. Joel Edgerton stars in the film, about two couples who go on a trip to Cambodia and must deal with dark consequences when only three of them return from the journey.
Meanwhile, the AIDS activism documentary How to Survive a Plaguewent with Sundance Selects/IFC distribution.
“This is a towering film in the history of cinema about social activism,” said Jonathan Sehring, president of Sundance Selects/IFC Films. “It’s astonishing use of archival material to reconstruct an era of political indifference in the face of an unimaginable health crisis helps to create a new blueprint for modern activists. [Director] David France has made a deeply powerful and unforgettable film which we look forward to bringing to the widest audience possible.”
A number of other films were in deep negotiation at the festival. Though sales have been plentiful, the price for many of these movies has been on the low end.