As the Toronto International Film Festival enters its final hours, a flurry of deals have continued to make this a very successful year for the festival's marketplace. Last night, indieWIRE reported that Oscilloscope had picked up Kelly Reichardt's acclaimed "Meek's Cutoff," while by midnight Deadline had reported two more deals: IFC Films' picked up Barry W. Blaustein's "Peep World," which stars Michael C. Hall and Sarah Silverman (for low seven figures), and Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions teamed up to buy Dan Rush's Will Ferrell drama "Everything Must Go" for more than $3 million.
“We are very pleased to see Toronto playing a role in the turnaround in the sales climate,” Cameron Bailey, Co-Director of the Toronto International Film Festival, said yesterday in a statement. “As a result, audiences in North America and around the world will see some of the outstanding films that premiered here.”
Last night's sales bring the festival's current North American deal total to a whopping 18 titles, with a variety of players coming to the table. Lionsgate purchased John Cameron Mitchell's "Rabbit Hole," and teamed up with Roadside Attractions for both "Everything Must Go" and Robert Redford's "The Conspirator"; IFC Films' picked up James Gunn's "SUPER" and Werner Herzog's "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" in addition to "Peep World"; Sony Pictures Classics' took both Denis Villeneuve's "Incendies" and Richard J. Lewis's "Barney's Version" (both Canadian productions, interestingly enough); The Weinstein Company nabbed both Abe Sylvia's "Dirty Girl" and Richard Ayoade's "Submarine" - both of which gained hefty buzz out of nowhere in the early days of the fest.
Compared to last year, this is an impressive result for Toronto. By the time the 2009 festival ended, only a half dozen films or so had been picked up, including "A Single Man," "Get Low," "Dogtooth," "The Art of the Steal," and "Valhalla Rising." While in the end the vast majority of for sale titles at TIFF 2009 ended up finding homes, the immediate success of this year's Toronto market seemed to even surprise its organizers.
"A lot of sales happened six or eight weeks after the festival [last year] but they were seen here," Cameron Bailey told indieWIRE just prior to this year's festival. "And some of them were big successes like 'The Secret In Their Eyes,' which was bought here, and 'Get Low' as well. Sony Classics picked up both of those and did quite well with them. So I expect that to happen again. Obviously, the distribution landscape is changing in North America so it's hard to say we're going to go back anytime soon to the days of crazy, late night bidding wars in cigar filled rooms..."
It seems that late night bidding wars actually ended happening after all. Tales of battles for many Toronto titles made the rounds, particularly with regard to "SUPER," "Submarine," "Dirty Girl" and "Rabbit Hole." And there might still be one more before the festival ends tomorrow night: Focus Features is reportedly circling Mike Mills' very well-received drama "Beginners." So far, "Rabbit Hole" is the only film picked up that confirmed for release this year (and a place in the 2010 awards race), though "Beginners" could potentially add one more, and with good reason: Christopher Plummer's performance in the film could be a definite factor in this year's supporting actor race. More from indieWIRE as that deal potentially develops.
A list of the deals that went down in Toronto for U.S. or North American rights:
Anchor Bay: Beautiful Boy
ATO Films: Casino Jack
IFC Films: Peep World, SUPER, Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Lionsgate: Rabbit Hole
Lorber Films: Le Quattro volte
Magnet Releasing: I Saw The Devil
Music Box Films: Potiche
Oscilloscope: Meek's Cutoff
Roadside Attractions: Cool It
Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate: The Conspirator, Everything Must Go
Sony Pictures Classics: Incendies, Barney's Version
The Weinstein Company: Dirty Girl, Submarine
Women Make Movies: Pink Saris
Check back with indieWIRE tomorrow for coverage of Toronto's awards ceremony.