Sundance 2014 Acquisitions: THE SKELETON TWINS, GOD’S POCKET, and COLD IN JULY

     January 22, 2014


A few more films from the Sundance Film Festival have been acquired for distribution.

  • Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions will release the darkly comedic drama The Skeleton Twins, starring Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig.  It was one of my favorite films from the festival, and you can read my review here.
  • IFC Films has picked up the feature directorial debut of Mad Men star John Slattery, God’s Pocket.  The film stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Richard Jenkins, and Christina Hendricks, and you can read Matt’s review here.
  • Per Deadline, IFC Films has also picked up the genre-hopping crime film Cold in July, starring Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard, and Don Johnson.  Read Matt’s review here.

Hit the jump to read the press releases for Skeleton Twins and God’s Pocket, and click here to catch up on all of our Sundance 2014 coverage.

the-skeleton-twins-bill-hader-kristen-wiigThe Skeleton Twins

PARK CITY, UTAH  January 21, 2014 – Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) and Roadside Attractions, and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA) each announced today that the respective companies have acquired rights in all territories to Craig Johnson’s drama THE SKELETON TWINS. Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions have jointly acquired US rights to the film, while SPWA is taking all worldwide rights outside of the US.  Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions are planning a theatrical release for the feature film in late summer 2014

THE SKELETON TWINS premiered this week in the US Dramatic Competition at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.  Co-written by Johnson and Mark Heyman, the film stars Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Luke Wilson, and Ty Burrell.  A Duplass Brothers and Venture Forth Production, THE SKELETON TWINS is produced by Stephanie Langhoff, Jennifer Lee, and Jacob Pechenik, and executive produced by Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass, and Jared Ian Goldman. THE SKELETON TWINS was fully financed by Venture Forth.

Howard Cohen, Roadside Attractions Co-President, stated, “Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig give brilliant, breakout performances as a live wire but also out of control brother and sister who have to reconnect, and we fell in love with Craig Johnson’s amazingly assured film.”

In THE SKELETON TWINS, when estranged twins Maggie and Milo feel that they’re at the end of their ropes, an unexpected reunion forces them to confront why their lives went so wrong. As the twins reconnect, they realize the key to fixing their lives may just lie in repairing their relationship.

Craig Johnson’s first feature film, TRUE ADOLESCENTS, starring Mark Duplass and Melissa Leo, premiered at the 2009 SXSW Film Festival. He has written two films for 20th Century Fox and was a member of the inaugural Fox Writers Studio. He holds an MFA from NYU’s graduate film program and a BA in theatre from the University of Washington. THE SKELETON TWINS is his second feature.

The deals were negotiated by Jason Constantine, Lionsgate’s President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions, along with Eda Kowan and Wendy Jaffe on behalf of Lionsgate; Cohen on behalf of Roadside Attractions; SPWA’s Michael Helfand, Joe Matukewicz and Jon Freedberg for international territories; ICM Partners and UTA Independent Film Group on behalf of the film; with Jonathan Gray and André Des Rochers of Gray Krauss Stratford Sandler Des Rochers on behalf of the producers.

ICM Partners represents the Duplass Brothers and Ty Burrell. UTA represents Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig. CAA and Mosaic represent Craig Johnson.  CAA represents Luke Wilson and Mark Heyman.

gods-pocket-philip-seymour-hoffman-john-turturroGod’s Pocket

PARK CITY, UTAH (January 22, 2014) – IFC Films announced today from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival that the company is acquiring U.S. rights to John Slattery’s directorial debut film, GOD’S POCKET. The film, with a screenplay by Slattery and Alex Metcalf, stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Richard Jenkins, Christina Hendricks, and John Turturro. GOD’S POCKET was produced by Sam Bisbee, Jackie Kelman Bisbee, Lance Acord, and Emily Ziff, along with Hoffman and Slattery.  The film made its world premiere at this week’s festival in the U.S. Dramatic Competition section.

Based on the novel by Pete Dexter, the film is set in the gritty, blue-collar neighborhood of GOD’S POCKET.  When Mickey Scarpato’s crazy stepson, Leon, is killed in a construction “accident,” Mickey quickly tries to bury the bad news with the body. But when a local columnist comes sniffing around for the truth, things go from bad to worse. Mickey finds himself stuck in a life-and-death struggle compounded by a body he can’t bury, a wife he can’t please, and a debt he can’t pay.

“John Slattery has made a remarkable debut here as a director, proving that he is as talented behind the camera as he is in front of it,” says Sundance Selects/IFC Films President Jonathan Sehring.  “On behalf of IFC Films and AMC Networks, we are really proud to be releasing this tremendous film, and to get the chance to work with John, the producers and this terrific cast.”

Director John Slattery added, “I’m thrilled to be working creatively with IFC, and very happy to continue my ongoing and successful relationship with AMC. We’re very proud of this film and excited to partner with IFC Films to bring it to a wide audience.”

Producer Jackie Kelman Bisbee added, “It was an honor to produce John’s first feature as a director. He’s a natural actor’s director. Watching him work with the cast and crew was utterly exciting. John created characters of God’s Pocket with soulful hearts and criminal minds. Always at odds with each other as they try to get to the other side.  But never getting too far.”

Festival programmer Trevor Groth said this of the film: “Acclaimed actor John Slattery makes an impressive jump behind the camera with an assured directorial debut that shows he has a razor-sharp eye for conveying the absurdity, cruelty, desperation, and tragic optimism of the people he portrays. Like life, his scenes seamlessly fuse humor and heartbreak, but it’s Slattery’s wit and confident style that make the portrait so authentic. Featuring a top-shelf cast and impeccable cinematography, God’s Pocket oozes with talent and marks the emergence of an inspired directorial presence.”

The deal for the film was negotiated by Arianna Bocco, SVP of Acquisitions at Productions, at Sundance Selects/IFC Films, with Jay Cohen at the Gersh Agency, and attorney Marc H. Simon of Cowan DeBaets Abrahams and Sheppard, on behalf of the filmmakers.

IFC Films is a sister label to IFC Midnight and Sundance Selects, and is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc.

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