Sundance 2012: Magnolia Pictures Acquires Horror Film V/H/S; Rough House Pictures Presents THE COMEDY; National Geographic Picks Up CHASING ICE for TV

     January 26, 2012


Going into the final three days of Sundance 2012, a horror title had yet to be acquired. All that changed with the Magnolia Pictures pick up of domestic rights to V/H/S for $1 million plus. Other gets included the Rough House Pictures presentation of The Comedy and National Geographic’s documentary acquisition for TV, Chasing Ice. Check out the details here:

  • V/H/S is a found footage horror anthology about petty thugs tasked with searching a ramshackle house for a VHS tape which holds horrific recordings. V/H/S will have a pre-theatrical on-demand release on Magnolia’s Ultra VOD, with the theatrical release to follow after 30 days.
  • The Comedy, directed by Rick Alverson and starring Tim Heidecker, will be presented by Danny McBride’s Rough House Pictures. The dark comedy follows Swanson (Heidecker) after he inherits his father’s estate and stumbles into reckless situations in hopes of freeing him from his desensitization.
  • Climate-change documentary Chasing Ice by Jeff Orlowski follows photographer James Balog as he sets up time-lapse cameras on glaciers to document Earth’s melting ice. Film is also from Paula DuPre’ Pesmen, the award-winning producer of The Cove.

Hit the jump for more on each project.

THR reported on the acquisition of V/H/S in a late-night bidding war that Magnolia won against two competitors. The anthology project had a total of six directors: Adam Wingard, Glenn McQuaid, Radio Silence, David Bruckner, Joe Swanberg and Ti West. The posters and press releases for The Comedy and Chasing Ice follow below:

comedy-movie-poster-tim-heidecker-sundance-2012THE COMEDY gets Roughed Up

Rough House Pictures to Present Rick Alverson’s THE COMEDY

Park City, UT – January 26, 2012 – Submarine Entertainment announced today from the Sundance Film Festival that Rough House Pictures, the Production Company of Danny McBride, David Gordon Green, Jody Hill, and Matt Reilly, has come on board to present Jagjaguwar’s darkly irreverent and controversial film THE COMEDY, starring Tim Heidecker of The Tim and Eric Awesome Show.

Indifferent even to the prospects of inheriting his father’s estate, Swanson (Tim Heidecker) whiles away his days with a group of aging Brooklyn hipsters, engaging in acts of recreational cruelty and pacified boredom. Desensitized and disenchanted, he strays into a series of reckless situations that may offer the promise of redemption or the threat of retribution. A scathing look at the white male on the verge of collapse, Rick Alverson’s carefully observed portrait provokes and disorients; a cautionary fable for the autumn of the American Era. Featuring Eric Wareheim, James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem), Jeff Jensen, Kate Lyn Sheil, Alexia Rasmussen, and Gregg Turkington (A.K.A. Neil Hamburger). The film is produced in conjunction with Jagjaguwar, Greyshack Films and Glass Eye Pix.

Director Rick Alverson says, “THE COMEDY is meant to be an uncompromising exploration of humor and numbness. There’s a true harmony between David’s lyrical filmmaking and Danny’s darkly comic sensibility that makes Rough House Pictures a perfect partner for our film.”

David Gordon Green says, “THE COMEDY is a totally unique movie-going experience that balances the emotional with the absurd.  It’s rare that you discover a project that has a face with a big heart and laughs but such a beautiful melancholy darkness behind the eyes. Alverson’s latest film is an invitation to the flip-side of what we know of Tim and Eric, and that unexpected, unpredictable, personal journey is a wonderful thing.”

Danny McBride adds, “This is Tim Heidecker’s IRON LADY . . . it is not to be missed.”

Submarine Entertainment is currently in discussion with buyers at the Sundance Film Festival, where the film has polarized audiences and stirred controversy due to its unfiltered humor and provocative sensibility.

Here’s Chasing Ice:


Film is currently screening in the US Documentary Competition

Theatrical & Foreign Distribution partners to be announced shortly

From the Producer of The Cove

(Sundance Film Festival — January 26, 2012) Submarine Entertainment announced today that National Geographic Channel (NGC) has purchased television rights for the feature documentary Chasing Ice by Jeff Orlowski from Exposure, LLC following its Sundance Film Festival screening in the US Documentary Competition category. It was announced tonight by NGC Executive Vice President of Programming Michael Cascio and Josh Braun & David Koh of Submarine Entertainment.

The deal was negotiated by Braun & Koh of Submarine and Wilder Knight and Anne Atkinson of Pryor Cashman LLP on behalf of the Producers and Director along with Lisa Truitt, President of National Geographic Entertainment Cinema Ventures. The film was Produced by Jeff Orlowski, Paula DuPre’ Pesmen, and Jerry Aronson; Written by Mark Monroe; Associate Produced by Stacy Sherman and Billy Ray; Music by J. Ralph; Cinematography by Jeff Orlowski; Edited by Davis Coombe.

When acclaimed photographer James Balog asked, “How can one take a picture of climate change?” his attention was immediately drawn to ice. Soon he was asked to do a cover story for National Geographic on glaciers that became “the most popular and well-read piece in the magazine during the last five years” according to Editor Dennis Dimick.  But for Balog, that story marked the beginning of a much larger and longer-term project that would reach epic proportions.

The documentary, which Harry Potter director and producer Chris Columbus has called “the most important film of the year,” follows Balog to the Arctic as he attempts to capture images of the Earth’s changing climate.

“This has been a passion project for the entire team for the past 5 years, and to announce this deal following our premiere at Sundance is a dream come true,” said director Jeff Orlowski.  “We’re so glad that National Geographic is joining our team and helping to shine a light on James’s powerful imagery.

In this breathtakingly beautiful documentary, filmmaker Orlowski follows the indomitable photographer as he brings to life the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS)—a massive photography project that placed 30 time-lapse cameras across three continents to gather visual evidence of the Earth’s melting ice. Chasing Ice tells the story of a visionary artist who, in facing his own mortality, bequeaths the magic of photography and the adventure of the expedition to a new generation and captures the most visible sign of climate change on the planet today.

“This documentary is one of the highlights of the Sundance slate and an obvious fit for our distinguished global brand and we are pleased to work with the filmmakers to help present their wonderful and important film,” added Cascio.

National Geographic has an extensive history of involvement in Balog and his work and in 2009, National Geographic Books published “EXTREME ICE NOW: Vanishing Glaciers and Changing Climate: A Progress Report.” Balog’s ice survey photographs also appeared in two issues of National Geographic magazine in 2007 and 2010.

This also marks the latest in a number of high profile programming announcements since Howard T. Owens took over as the network president in November, including the recently announce Tony and Ridley Scott production on the New York Times best-selling novel Killing Lincoln.

Chasing Ice is directed by Jeff Orlowski, the cinematographer for the Extreme Ice Survey.  In addition to Orlowski, producers include Paula DuPre’ Pesmen, the winner of the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary and 2010 Producers Guild of America ‘Producer of the Year’ for her role on The Cove and Jerry Aronson, Academy Award nominee and Director of The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg.  Writer is Mark Monroe, who won the Writers Guild of America (WGA) award for Best Documentary in 2010 for his work on The Cove. Editor Davis Coombe received an Academy Award nomination for his short documentary The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner and is currently shortlisted for the upcoming Academy Awards for his film Saving Face.  Music by J. Ralph who scored The Cove and Man On Wire. J. Ralph also wrote the original song “Before My Time” for Chasing Ice performed by Scarlett Johansson.

You can catch up with all of our Sundance coverage thus far here. Below are links to all of the Sundance sales thus far:

Latest News