Written by: FFT Webmaster | January 30th, 2012
Magnolia Films, the specialty distributor whose winning strategy of day-and-date releases in theaters and on VOD platforms has greatly increased its revenue power, has been the most active company at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, buying the rights to five films (and counting). In the Festival’s opening weekend, the company announced two high profile buys: Sundance documentary opener THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES, a devastating look at the excesses of wealth and its precipitous decline in one particularly dysfunctional and hideously rich family in Florida, and the horror anthology V/H/S, with several celebrated indie filmmakers shooting segments in the current vogue of “found video” gorefests. In the last days of the Festival, Magnolia was the winner in a bidding war to acquire 2 DAYS IN NEW YORK, actress/writer/director Julie Delpy’s charming romantic comedy that is her follow-up to her own 2 DAYS IN PARIS, an indie hit of a few years ago in which she also starred. The new film pairs Delpy and Chris Rock as a Manhattan couple with two kids who have to endure a two-day visit from relatives that will test their relationship. The company has also acquired North American to NOBODY WALKS, a relationship dramedy starring John Krasinski and Olivia Thirby, directed by up-and-coming director Ry Russo-Young and co-written with Lena Dunham (TINY FURNITURE). The film was produced by Jonathan Schwartz and Andrea Sperling, the producers of last year’s Sundance Grand Jury prize winner LIKE CRAZY, and the recipients this year of the Special Jury Award for Production for producing NOBODY WALKS and SMASHED, both of which premiered in the U.S. Dramatic Competition here. Finally, the busy Magnolia has signed up rights to COMPLIANCE, a controversial drama by writer/director Craig Zobel. The film is based on a true story about a fast-food restaurant employee who subjected a fellow employee to increasingly brutal treatment at the urging of a telephone caller who purported to be a police officer. The film, starring Ann Dowd and Dreama Walker, drew scattered boos at its first Sundance screening and prompted an angry and divisive Q&A. Zobel, an Atlanta-based filmmaker, won the Breakthrough Director award at the 2008 Gotham Awards for his debut THE GREAT WORLD OF SOUND.