In Toronto, the newest film from Sarah Polley, the documentary "Stories We Tell," was picked up by Roadside Attractions, while in anticipation of its midnight debut, Rob Zombie's witchy "Lords of Salem" has a trio of studios courting him, with Anchor Bay leading the pack.
Polley's "Stories We Tell" is an autobiographical documentary about Polley's mother that recently played three major festivals – in addition to Toronto, it was exhibited at Venice and Telluride, to near-universal acclaim. Our man in Venice said that the film "tickles both the brain and the heart, and by some distance Polley’s most consistent, and best, work as a director to date."
Anita Lee, who produced the film through the National Film Board of Canada, said in a press release that, "We were overwhelmed with excellent offers but felt Roadside was the perfect fit.”
In the same press release Roadside Co-President Eric d'Arbeloff said, "In fearlessly laying bare her family's most intimate moments and remembrances, Sarah allows we as audience members to reflect on each of our own family histories, both real and fabricated." d'Arbeloff added: "With 'Stories We Tell,' Sarah Polley yet again proves herself a master of translating the specific into the universal and stakes her claim as one of today's greatest young filmmakers." Plans are for an "early 2013" theatrical release in the States (we wonder if there will be some kind of brief end-of-the-year run for awards qualification).
Meanwhile, on the complete opposite end of the spectrum is master of mayhem Rob Zombie's new film "Lords of Salem." The horror film, about a DJ that unwittingly unleashes a coven of evil witches (that old story), was produced by the "Paranormal Activity" team of Oren Peli, Jason Blum and Steven Schneider and premieres tonight, at midnight, at the festival. (It's based, at least in part, on a song of the same name by Zombie from his 2006 album "Educated Horses.") According to Deadline, at least three studios are feeling bloodlust for the project – in addition to Anchor Bay, Millennium and Image are also dying to release the film. We imagine Dimension, who Zombie made the two "Halloween" movies for, could easily get in the mix before all was said and done.
It worries us that all three companies are known more for their home video releases than their theatrical prowess, which would suggest a swift theatrical run followed up by a DVD/Blu-ray release, or some kind of simultaneous home video/theatrical campaign. Still, a final deal won't be ironed out until after the midnight screening tonight, so if you're at the screening tonight and squeezed in between a Zombie freak in white face paint and a pasty white guy wearing a suit, you'll know why.