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4 YEARS

SUNDANCE: Buzz Grows Around 'Margin Call,' 'The Guard'

Early screenings provoke potential sales activity.

Sundance Film Festival - 2011 - Margin Call
Before The Door Pictures

PARK CITY -- Two early Sundance films are already drawing interest from buyers, as the festival dealmaking got jumpstarted Friday.

Both Margin Call and The Guard screened to enthusiastic audiences filled with a who's-who of acquisition execs from distributors major and minor.

No deals have been made, but sources say several offers have already come in for Margin Call, a financial thriller starring Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto and Paul Bettany that was given a sneak peek to press and industry on Friday morning. The Weinstein Co., Phase 4, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions and Focus, among others, were represented -- some execs even got turned away.

The film is being represented domestically by UTA, Cassian Elwes and Untitled and internationally by Myriad Pictures. It's screening in the festival’s Premieres section, with its first public screening coming Tuesday night.

The Guard, repped domestically by UTA and internationally by Metropolis International Sales, is the story of a small-town Irish cop who becomes embroiled in an FBI agent’s efforts to bust a drug trafficking ring. The dark comedy, which stars Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle, was screened Thursday night to open the festival’s World Cinema Dramatic Competition.

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