Having been in Toronto for a week, many buyers and sellers started heading back home Wednesday, with industry attendance noticeably lighter today. While there are still many more screenings and events at the Toronto International Film Festival, those in town purely for the market side of the event tend to wind up their trips on day seven. A pair of Indiewood deals marked Wednesday in Toronto, with companies acquiring new projects by filmmakers they had previously worked with. Focus acquired "Dave Chappelle's Block Party" and Sony Classics nabbed "House of Sand".
Focus Features' Rogue Pictures arm officially announced its deal for worldwide rights to "Dave Chappelle's Block Party", directed by Michel Gondry. The film scored a high dollar deal, surprising some here, but Focus insiders said the pact was way lower than the $8 million figure that was rumored. The pact happened the day after the film's boisterous world premiere here Monday night. Meanwhile, Sony Pictures Classics announced another deal today, nabbing North American rights to Andrucha Waddington's "House of Sand", which received a standing ovation here Sunday night.
"Block Party", a performance film featuring the comedy of Chappelle and live music from Kanye West, Erykah Badu, Dead Prez, Jill Scott, The Roots and others, was directed by Gondry and filmed by Ellen Kuras in Brooklyn last year and presented as a work-in-progress Special Presentation here in Toronto. The two worked together on "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," a Focus Features release last year. Bob Yari Productions and Dave Chappelle's Pilot Boy Productions produced the film.
"House of Sand", starring Fernanda Montenegro and her daughter Fernanda Torres, is the story is described as "the story of three generations of women whose lives are destined to be lived out in the isolated and destitute northern Brazilian desert town of Maranhão."
Leonardo Monteiro de Barros, Pedro Guimarães, Pedro Buarque de Hollanda, and Andrucha Waddington produced the movie, which received the Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award in 2002. Sony Classics last worked with Waddington on "Me, You, Them".