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PARK CITY '06 BIZ DAILY: IFC Gets "Factotum"; Crossword Doc in Play, and More

By Indiewire | Indiewire January 23, 2006 at 2:31AM

As Sundance '06 continued Sunday, buyers honed in on other festival entries to acquire. IFC Films nabbed North American rights to Bent Hamer's "Factotum," starring Matt Dillon, Lili Taylor and Marisa Tomei. The film, based on the Bukowski novel, had been acquired by Picturehouse in Cannes, but according to Picturehouse the deal fell apart due to an unresolved legal matter, shortly after the announcement of this year's Sundance Film Festival lineup. IFC is planning to release it this year.
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As Sundance '06 continued Sunday, buyers honed in on other festival entries to acquire. IFC Films nabbed North American rights to Bent Hamer's "Factotum," starring Matt Dillon, Lili Taylor and Marisa Tomei. The film, based on the Bukowski novel, had been acquired by Picturehouse in Cannes, but according to Picturehouse the deal fell apart due to an unresolved legal matter, shortly after the announcement of this year's Sundance Film Festival lineup. IFC is planning to release it this year.

The film, produced by Hamer and Jim Stark, is described as the story of a man who "considers himself a writer, and on occasion writes. Mostly he quests for the booze and women that sidetrack and seduce, rather than inspire greatness."

IFC Entertainment chief Jonathan Sehring and VP of acquisitions Sarah Lash negotiated the deal with Charlotte Mickie of Celluloid Dreams, UTA and Jim Stark on behalf of the film.

"Word" in Play?

Patrick Creadon's competition doc "Wordplay" seems to have stirred a sizable amount of buyer interest. During a Sunday morning brunch at 350 Main, guests ate bacon & eggs while doing this week's NY Times crossword puzzle, created by the film's subject Will Shortz. Among those guests were a steady stream of would-be buyers of the movie who had been invited to sit down and meet with the "Wordplay" team.

Mark Gill, head of Warner Independent (along with his distribution chief (Steve Friedlander) mingled for a long time with Shortz and others, followed later by Picturehouse head Bob Berney who was joined by his acquisitions head Sara Rose for a sit down with the "Wordplay" team. Other buyers who met with the filmmakers included execs from Roadside and Fox Searchlight. Cinetic Media is selling the film.

Jacquet's Latest

One year after Mark Gill and Warner Independent nabbed "The March of the Penguins" at Sundance, the film's director Luc Jacquet was back at the festival, this time via video conference. During a press conference on Main St. Sunday morning the director touted his new project, "The Fox and the Child" (Le Renard et l'Enfant). It has been described as both a nature doc and "fairy tale" look at the story of young girl and her friendship with a fox.

Other Biz Buzz

A host of other Sundance '06 titles stirred buyer interest in Park City this weekend. Hadjii's "Somebodies," a comedy shot in Athens, GA, has a number of buyers considering offers, while Paul Rachman's hardcore punk doc "American Hardcore" seemed to click as well.

Ryan Fleck's "Half Nelson, starring Ryan Gosling, was popular among buyers Sunday, according to buzz after its debut screening. Nearly immediately after the showing, rumors began to circulate that the film had found a distributor. However, a source close to the movie told indieWIRE Sunday night that the "Nelson" team were still talking with a number of potential buyers. The William Morris Agency is selling the film.

Michel Gondry's "The Science of Sleep" is drawing considerable industry buzz after a Sunday night debut screening. UTA is handling the film, which drew all the major buyers to the Eccles last night. It will screen again this morning.

Patrick Stettner's "The Night Listener" stirred industry buzz over the weekend, as did Dito Montiel's "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints" and Julian Goldberger's "The Hawk Is Dying". Hilary Brougher's "Stephanie Daley drew a buyers from most large and small companies to its Saturday night debut at the Racquet Club, but buyers seemed a bit mixed immediately after the screening.

Insider are also eyeing the prospects of Neil Burger's "The Illusionist," starring Edward Norton, Jessica Biel, Paul Giamatti, and Rufus Sewell, which premiered Sunday night at Sundance.

[Get the latest from the Sundance Film Festival throughout the day in indieWIRE's special Park City '06 section.]

This article is related to: Features, Festival Dispatch