Sundance 2017: Film Acquisitions

by IMDb-Editors | last updated - 07 Feb 2017

Check out the Sundance 2017 films that have been picked up for distribution around the world.

43 images

Fred Armisen, Adam Pally, and Zoe Lister-Jones in Band Aid (2017)

Band Aid (U.S. Dramatic Competition)

The directorial debut from Zoe Lister-Jones landed on many best-of-the-festival lists, and IFC Films picked up U.S. rights to the comedy that follows a bickering couple who try to save their relationship by starting a band and channeling their respective angst through their music. And that's Fred Armisen on the drums, ladies and gentlemen.

Harris Dickinson in Beach Rats (2017)

Beach Rats (U.S. Dramatic Competition)

New indie distributor Neon picked up this coming-of-age drama from festival veteran Eliza Hittman. The film, which won the U.S. Dramatic Competition's directing award, depicts a Brooklyn teenager who balances his time between his trouble-making friends and a potential new girlfriend, while exploring a penchant for cruising for older men online. In the wake of controversy surrounding the fate of one of the story's characters, Pittman has proved herself to be a filmmaker who is truly one to watch.

Kyle Mooney in Brigsby Bear (2017)

Brigsby Bear (U.S. Dramatic Competition)

A summer U.S. release is planned for this offbeat comedy after Sony Pictures Classics acquired worldwide distribution rights for a reported $5 million. With a wide-ranging cast that employs Mark Hamill, Claire Danes, and numerous 'Saturday Night Live' alums — including Brigsby co-writer and current cast member Kyle Mooney — the movie documents a 25-year-old man's relationship with a fictional children's-show character that played a key role in his unusual upbringing.

Lakeith Stanfield in Crown Heights (2017)

Crown Heights (U.S. Dramatic Competition)

Lakeith Stanfield stars in this hard-hitting drama about a man sent to prison on a murder conviction and his friend who fights for 20 years to reverse the verdict. Amazon Studios, in their fifth acquisition at the festival, dropped another $2 million on the well-received picture.

Edie Falco, Jenny Slate, and Abby Quinn in Landline (2017)

Landline (U.S. Dramatic Competition)

Amazon Studios came calling for this dramatic comedy set in the 1990s. The movie reunites director Gillian Robespierre and star Jenny Slate, who worked together on 2014's Obvious Child.


The Hero (U.S. Dramatic Competition)

The Orchard has acquired all North American rights to Brett Haley’s drama starring Sam Elliott, in a deal understood to be worth $3 million. The film, in which Elliott plays an ailing movie star who comes to terms with his past and mortality, is expected to be released theatrically in fall 2017.

Elizabeth Olsen and Aubrey Plaza in Ingrid Goes West (2017)

Ingrid Goes West (U.S. Dramatic Competition)

Neon has acquired the rights to Matt Spicer's indie comedy-drama that follows Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza), a mentally disturbed young woman, who becomes obsessed with Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen), a social media star who appears to have the perfect life. When Ingrid decides to drop everything and move west to befriend Taylor, her behavior turns unsettling and increasingly dangerous.

Margaret Qualley in Novitiate (2017)

Novitiate (U.S. Dramatic Competition)

Sony Pictures Classics has acquired worldwide rights to this drama set in the 1960s, which centers on a young woman in training to become a nun who struggles with issues of faith, the changing church and sexuality. The film is expected to be released later in 2017.

Danielle Macdonald in Patti Cake$ (2017)

Patti Cake$ (U.S. Dramatic Competition)

Reportedly subject to a bidding war, this New Jersey-based movie from first-time director Geremy Jasper landed with Fox Searchlight in an estimated $10.5 million deal. Patti Cake$ chronicles the quest of rapper Patricia 'Killa P' Dombrowski (Danielle Macdonald) to break out of the local strip-mall circuit.

Chanté Adams in Roxanne Roxanne (2017)

Roxanne Roxanne (U.S. Dramatic Competition)

You could hear gasps from the audience when it was announced that Chanté Adams was cast in this biopic eight days before it began production. With its third pick-up of the festival, Neon grabbed Roxanne Roxanne, a chronicle of legendary rapper Roxanne Shaté, in a deal worth a reported $3 million. Adams earned a Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Performance and is considered one of the festival's breakout stars.

Keanu Reeves and Lily Collins in To the Bone (2017)

To the Bone (U.S. Dramatic Competition)

Screenwriter Marti Noxon's big-screen debut as a director quickly generatred buzz by the end of the festival's first weekend. Netflix scooped up the comedy/drama that has already started conversations due to Lily Collins' remarkable physical transformation and her assured performance.

Salma Hayek in Beatriz at Dinner (2017)

Beatriz at Dinner (Premieres)

Director Miguel Arteta and screenwriter Mike White, who have previously stormed Sundance with the films The Good Girl and Chuck & Buck, literally handed this script to Salma Hayek as a birthday present, and their collective comedy has been scooped up by indie stalwarts Roadside Attractions and FilmNation.

Zoe Kazan and Kumail Nanjiani in The Big Sick (2017)

The Big Sick (Premieres)

Amazon Studios has landed distribution rights to this comedy romance in a deal understood to be worth $12 million. The film is about a Pakistani-American comedian (Kumail Nanjiani) whose relationship with his girlfriend (Zoe Kazan) is nearly derailed over cultural differences and a health crisis.

Michael Stuhlbarg, Armie Hammer, and Timothée Chalamet in Call Me by Your Name (2017)

Call Me By Your Name (Premieres)

Sony Pictures Classics snapped up worldwide rights to this romance between an adolescent boy (Timothée Chalamet) and a summer guest (Armie Hammer) at his parents' cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera.

The film was made by acclaimed Italian director Luca Guadagnino (A Bigger Splash).

Jason Segel in The Discovery (2017)

The Discovery (Premieres)

Netflix acquired this film starring Rooney Mara, Robert Redford, and Jason Segal in June 2016.

Set in a world where there is proof of an afterlife, the film will launch globally on Netflix on March 31.

Toni Collette, Molly Shannon, Katie Aselton, and Bridget Everett in Fun Mom Dinner (2017)

Fun Mom Dinner (Premieres)

Momentum Pictures has acquired North American theatrical rights to this comedy, while Netflix has secured streaming rights. The combined deals are understood to be worth around $5 million. The film, starring Toni Collette, Molly Shannon, Katie Aselton, and Bridget Everett, centers on four moms of pre-school children who decide to get together for a harmless "fun mom dinner."

Jessica Williams in The Incredible Jessica James (2017)

The Incredible Jessica James (Premieres)

Netflix has acquired worldwide rights to this comedy, which will premiere the film later this year on the streaming service. The story centers on an aspiring playwright (Jessica Williams) who strikes up a friendship with a guy (Chris O'Dowd) while on the rebound from a break-up.

Garrett Hedlund and Jason Mitchell in Mudbound (2017)

Mudbound (Premieres)

Pariah filmmaker Dee Rees returned to Sundance with the WWII drama Mudbound, which received multiple standing ovations at its premiere screening. Reportedly one of the more expensive projects at the festival, Netflix laid down a $12.5 million for multi-territory rights, which should stand as the biggest sale of Sundance 2017. It's a high-profile role for Jason Mitchell, who played Eazy-E in Straight Outta Compton and will be seen later this year in Kong: Skull Island.

78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene (2017)

78/52 (Midnight)

In its second pick-up at the festival, IFC Midnight has acquired documentarian Alexandre Philippe's obsessive break down of Psycho's infamous shower scene. "78" refers to the number of setups, while "52" represent how many cuts featured in the scene. Philippe is perhaps even hotter than his documentary since we hear he's being pursued by a number of agencies for representation.

Brittany Snow and Dave Bautista in Bushwick (2017)

Bushwick (Midnight)

RLJ Entertainment purchased U.S. rights to this action-thriller starring Dave Bautista and Brittany Snow. Former pro-wrestler Bautista plays a war veteran who helps a young woman when a military force invades their Brooklyn neighbourhood.

Harriet Dyer and Riley Parkes in Killing Ground (2016)

Killing Ground (Midnight)

IFC Midnight has secured North American distribution rights for this Australian entry. The movie, from first-time director Damien Power, chronicles a couple's visit to a campground and the suspicious things they find within it.

Dave Franco and Aubrey Plaza in The Little Hours (2017)

The Little Hours (Midnight)

Gunpowder & Sky has picked up North American rights to the latest drama from Jeff Baena, the director behind Joshy and Life After Beth. The film follows a young servant (Dave Franco) fleeing from his master, who takes refuge at a convent full of emotionally unstable nuns in the middle ages. The cast includes Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, and Nick Offerman.

Devin Blackmon in Dayveon (2017)

Dayveon (NEXT)

FilmRise has acquired the North American rights to this rural drama, which marks the feature directorial debut of Amman Abbasi. The film centers on 13-year-old Dayveon, who spends sweltering summer days roaming his rural Arkansas town in the wake of his older brother's death. When he falls in with a local gang, he becomes drawn to the camaraderie and violence of their world.

Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara in A Ghost Story (2017)

A Ghost Story (NEXT)

A24 has acquired worldwide distribution rights to this haunting drama starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara, made by Pete's Dragon director David Lowery. Affleck and Mara previously co-starred in Lowery's Ain't Them Bodies Saints.

Menashe Lustig and Yoel Falkowitz in Menashe (2017)

Menashe (NEXT)

A24 has acquired U.S. and Chinese distribution rights to the Joshua Z. Weinstein-directed father/son drama. Set within Brooklyn's ultra-orthodox Jewish community, the story centers on a widower who battles for custody of his son. The film is one of the first to be performed almost entirely in Yiddish in nearly 70 years.

Anton Yelchin, Olivia Cooke, and Anya Taylor-Joy in Thoroughbreds (2017)

Thoroughbred (NEXT)

Focus Features is understood to have paid around $5m for world rights to this psycho-thriller. Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy, and the late Anton Yelchin star in the Cory Finley-directed drama about two suburban girls who rekindle their friendship and contemplate murder.

Teresa Palmer in Berlin Syndrome (2017)

Berlin Syndrome (World Cinema Dramatic Competition)

Vertical Entertainment has acquired North American theatrical rights to this psychological thriller about a passionate holiday romance that leads to an obsessive relationship.

Netflix will get all rights including streaming following theatrical release, which is planned for summer 2017.

Alec Secareanu and Josh O'Connor in God's Own Country (2017)

God's Own Country (World Cinema Dramatic Competition)

This gay-romance, which marks the debut feature of Francis Lee, has been picked up for the UK (Picturehouse Entertainment), France (Pyramide Films), Australia/New Zealand (Rialto), Benelux (September Film), and Scandinavia (Non Stop). The story centers on a young farmer who strikes up an intense relationship with a Romanian migrant worker. Lee won the special jury award at Sundance for directing.

Thaneth Warakulnukroh in Pop Aye (2017)

Pop Aye (World Cinema Documentary Competition)

Kino Lorber has acquired the North American rights this elephant dramedy, which marks the debut feature for writer-director Kirsten Tan and the first film from a Singaporean director to land an opening night slot at Sundance. The film centers on a disenchanted architect who bumps into his long-lost elephant on the streets of Bangkok. Excited, he takes his elephant on a journey across Thailand, in search of the farm where they grew up together.

Kino Lorber plans to release the movie in North American theaters this summer, with a VOD and physical media release later in the year.

Cries from Syria (2017)

Cries From Syria (Documentary Premieres)

HBO has acquired U.S. television rights to this documentary, directed by Oscar nominee Evgeny Afineevsky (Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom). The film draws on hundreds of hours of war footage shot by Syrian activists and citizen journalists. Content Media has acquired international sales rights.

Al Gore in An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (2017)

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (Documentary Premieres)

Paramount Pictures announced during Sundance that it would release the sequel to An Inconvenient Truth theatrically on July 28, 2017. A decade after the first film brought climate change into the heart of popular culture, the follow-up -- again fronted by Al Gore -- follows the former Vice President in his efforts to fight climate change.

Legion of Brothers (2017)

Legion of Brothers (Documentary Premieres)

Gravitas Ventures has acquired U.S. distribution rights to this documentary, which centers on the Special Forces troops deployed to Afghanistan on secret missions after 9/11 to overthrow the Taliban. CNN retains U.S. broadcast rights.


Long Strange Trip (Documentary Premieres)

Amazon has acquired this documentary about American rock band The Grateful Dead, executive produced by Martin Scorsese.

Long Strange Trip will debut May 26 on Amazon Prime Video in the U.S. and U.K. as a six-part documentary, with additional territories to be announced.

Casting JonBenet (2017)

Casting JonBenet (U.S. Documentary Competition)

Netflix acquired this documentary, which centers on memories and mythology around the unsolved murder case of 6-year-old American beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey. Casting JonBenet will launch on Netflix and in limited theatrical release in the spring.

Chasing Coral (2017)

Chasing Coral (U.S. Documentary Competition)

Netflix has bought worldwide rights for the documentary about the destruction of coral reefs as a result of global warming. in the film, a team of divers, photographers and scientists set out on a thrilling ocean adventure to discover why and to reveal the underwater mystery to the world.

City of Ghosts (2017)

City of Ghosts (U.S. Documentary Competition)

Amazon strikes again, this time with a reported $2 million dollar acquisition of Matthew Heineman's documentary that chronicles the efforts of a group of anonymous activists/journalists whose homeland — Raqqa, Syria — was overrun by ISIS three years ago.

If Heinemann's name sounds familiar, then you might have seen his excellent, Oscar-nominated documentary Cartel Land.

Scott Levin and Dina Buno in Dina (2017)

[b][link=tt6333058]Dina[/link][/b] ([link=/sundance/mini-guide-us-documentary-competition/ls066403146/]U.S. Documentary Competition[/link]) The Orchard acquired the new project from the co-directing team of [link=nm397480]Dan Sickles[/link] and [link=nm1439692]Antonio Santina[/link] (their recent doc [i][link=tt3314958]Mala Mala[/link][/i] is fantastic). The documentary, which centers on an autistic couple who are headed to the altar, won the audience award in its category.

Bryan Fogel in Icarus (2017)

Icarus (U.S. Documentary Competition)

Netflix purchased worldwide rights to this documentary for $5 million, according to reports. The movie chronicles writer/director Bryan Fogel's foray into the world of performance-enhancing drugs and international efforts to subvert testing.

Hulk Hogan in Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press (2017)

Nobody Speak: Hulk Hogan, Gawker and Trials of a Free Press (U.S. Documentary Competition)

Netflix acquired worldwide rights to this documentary about the court case and fallout of the legal battle between media company Gawker and former WWE star Hulk Hogan.

Step (2017)

Step (U.S. Documentary Competition)

Fox Searchlight reportedly paid more than $4 million for the worldwide rights to this documentary, which tracks the senior year of a girls high school step team in inner-city Baltimore. The girls strive to make their dancing a success and become the first in their families to attend college, against the backdrop of social unrest in their troubled city.

Trophy (2017)

Trophy (U.S. Documentary Competition)

The Orchard has acquired all North American distribution (excluding broadcast) to this documentary and plans a theatrical release later this year on a minimum of 150 screens. CNN will air the documentary later this year. The film offers an look into the powerhouse industries of big-game hunting, breeding and wildlife conservation in the U.S. and Africa unravels the complex consequences of treating animals as commodities.

Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower (2017)

Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower (World Cinema Documentary Competition)

Netflix has acquired worldwide rights to this documentary and will premiere on the streaming service later this year. The film centers on a teenager who rallies thousands of kids to skip school and occupy the streets when the Chinese Communist Party backtracks on its promise of autonomy to Hong Kong.

Lucille Sharp and Brooklyn Robinson in Pineapple (2017)

Pineapple (Special Events)

Blackpills has acquired rights to Adaptive Studios’ digital series "Pineapple." Directed, written, and edited by Akasha Stevenson, the storyline focuses on a miner’s daughter who is assaulted in the local coal mine. Following the attack, she utters only one word, leaving the town’s sheriff baffled.