So Sundance is over. Weary buyers are returning home, harried critics are catching up on email and much-needed rest and the sleepy ski resort has finally been freed from the hordes until next year. But there are still a few more loose ends to tie up, including a few more acquisitions that were made as the festival headed to a close.
—Oprah Winfrey‘s OWN network snagged the documentary “Crime After Crime” in a six-figure deal. Directed by Yoav Potash, the film “is about Deborah Peagler, an abused woman who struck back at the boyfriend who beat her. She was sentenced to 25 years to life for his murder. Some 20 years into her sentence, California passed a law permitting domestic violence survivors to have their case reopened. A pair of real estate lawyers took on Peagler’s case, and what seemed an easy effort turned into a politically-driven nightmare to free her.” The tear-jerker sparked interest from a number of buyers including Samuel Goldwyn and IFC, with the might O winning out. The film will get an Oscar-qualifying run this year, before unspooling on Winfrey’s network. It will also get a DVD release on Oprah’s Documentary Club. [Deadline]
—Oscilloscope picked up the English-territory rights to “Bellflower.” Directed by Evan Glodell making his debut feature, the film stars Jessie Wiseman, Tyler Dawson, Rebekah Brandes and Vincent Grashaw and follows “a pair of eccentric L.A.-based friends who spend their time preparing for the apocalypse.” Things presumably go haywire from there. Oscilloscope plans to release the film this summer. [Variety]
—HBO ordered up the doc “Hot Coffee.” The film “focuses on how corporations have used the memory of outlandish legal verdicts as a way to press for tort reforms and avoid jury trials through arbitration on cases that actually have merit” and was directed by Susan Saladoff and picked up in a six-figure deal. The film will get an Oscar-qualifying run before airing on the network. [Deadline]
Finally, Vulture has dug up a quartet of shorts or bumpers made for this year’s Sundance Film Festival that were never screened. Traditionally, the festival commissions these brief segments to play before the films that screen to provide a breather before the film, and for branding purposes to show the logo of the festival and the slogan. This year, Jeremy Konner (“Drunk History: Douglass & Lincoln“) and Jordan Vogt-Roberts (the excellent “Successful Alcoholics“) were tapped to create the segments. Konner’s were kiboshed early on, but Vogt-Roberts’ segments were killed just a week before the festival started, for being “too edgy” (an irony considering this is supposed to an independent film festival. Anyway….)
Well, the shorts are online for all to see and one wonders if they were killed because they mock exactly the kind of douchebags that tend to come out of the woodwork for these things. At any rate, these rule and maybe Old Man Redford needs to lighten up before next year’s fest.