Worldwide rights to Lynn Shelton’s “Humpday” have been acquired by Magnolia Pictures, the company announced tonight at the Sundance Film Festival. Magnolia said tonight that the film will launch on VOD at the end of summer ’09, followed one month later by a 15 market theatrical release. Josh Braun and Kevin Iwashina of Submarine represented the filmmakers and negotiated the pact with Tom Quinn and Eamonn Bowles from Magnolia.
The film, sold for a reported mid-six figures (according to an insider) was pursued by a number of companies, including Goldwyn, Oscilloscope, IFC, Miramax, and Roadside, among others, after its debut at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, according to a source close to the deal. Dubbed “a bromatic comedy” in an announcement tonight, the film is a high-concept indie about two straight guys (old college friends) who decide to have sex with each other in a low budget porno. It stars Mark Duplass (The Puffy Chair), Josh Leonard (The Blair Witch Project) and newcomer Alycia Delmore and was co-produced by Jennifer Maas and Steven Schardt.
Earlier this week, indieWIRE critic Eric Kohn called the film “a comedic ‘Revolutionary Road’ for twenty-first century audiences.” Praising the “crisp, believable performances from the two leads,” Kohn added, “Shelton assembles a ceaselessly entertaining dissection of heterosexual confusion.” The film is her third feature.
Shelton explained earlier in the fest that the idea for “Humpday” emerged from a conversation she had with fellow filmmaker Joe Swanberg who was apparently gushing about some of the gay films he’d seen at Seattle’s Hump fest. Similarly in “Humpday,” the two guys (filmmaker and actors Mark Duplass and Josh Leonard) decide to shoot and enter their straight-gay porn film in the Seattle festival.
“It’s sassy, it’s irreverent, it takes risks and it’s really smart,” Sundance Film Festival director Geoff Gilmore said, introducing the film on the first full day of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.
In addition to “Humpday,” Magnolia’s Ultra VOD program will release “The Great Buck Howard,” “Two Lovers,” and “Mutant Chronicles” later this year.