Focus Features has picked up worldwide rights to writer-director Dee Rees' Sundance U.S. Dramatic Competition film, "Pariah." It's their first acquisition of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival; last year, their sole festival pickup was Lisa Cholodenko's "The Kids Are All Right."
Starring Adepero Oduye, "Pariah" centers on a Brooklyn teen conflicted by her butch inclinations and her conservative parents' expectations. The film screened on Sundance's opening night, Jan. 20. John Sloss' Cinetic Media reps the film.
The acquisition includes a deal for Rees to write and direct a feature for Focus, which has been the object of some speculation given their new ownership under Comcast's NBCUniversal. The subject matter of "Pariah" -- the urban coming-out tale of an African-American lesbian -- suggests the change in the corporate parent has had no initial effect on Focus' ability to acquire titles that fall well outside the genre safety zone.