Even as the Toronto International Film Festival closed out today, the business of the festival continued with Focus Features picking up Mike Mills’ “Beginners.” The specialty outfit, which only rarely acquires titles at festivals – “The Kids Are All Right” being another notable exception – plans a 2011 theatrical release for “Beginners.” It marks one more acquisition for a particularly busy Toronto Film Festival.
The pact is for worldwide rights to the film excluding Canada, France, Australia, Scandanavia, and Benelux, all of which were sold earlier by UTA; Focus Features International will be the film’s sales agent in all remaining overseas territories. United Talent Agency (UTA)’s Independent Film Group represented the film and filmmakers in the deal.
“Beginners” explores the hilarity, heartbreak, and surprises of love through the evolving consciousness of Oliver (Golden Globe Award nominee Ewan McGregor). Oliver is distracted from his promising new relationship with Anna (Mélanie Laurent of “Inglourious Basterds”) by memories of his late parents. Following three decades of marriage, the widowed Hal (Academy Award nominee Christopher Plummer) told his son that he was gay, and lived the remainder of his life out and proud. While father and son became closer than ever before, Oliver wonders if he will ever be able to live life to the fullest as Hal ultimately did.
A filmmaker, graphic designer, and artist, Mr. Mills last directed “Thumbsucker,” which was an Independent Spirit Award nominee for Best First Feature and which he adapted from Walter Kirn’s novel of the same name.