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SUNDANCE: Focus Features Picks Up Lesbian Teen Drama 'Pariah' for Under $1M

The NBC Universal specialty division liked the film so much it also hired director Dee Rees to write another undetermined project.

Courtesy of the Sundance Film Festival

Focus Features has paid well under $1 million to acquire worldwide rights to filmmaker Dee Rees' Pariah, a drama about an African American teenager in New York coming to terms with her lesbianism.

The deal closed early Friday morning after Focus CEO James Schamus viewed the film and it was screened for Focus execs in Los Angeles. Other suitors for the film incuded the Weinstein Co. and Sony Pictures Classics. But the NBC Universal specialty division, which had also made a strong bid to acquire the romantic drama Like Crazy earlier in the week, liked Pariah so much it also hired Rees to write another undetermined project.   The film, executive produced by Spike Lee and produced by Nekisa Cooper, stars Adepero Oduye, Charles Parnell, Pernell Walker and Kim Wayans. It's a no-star inner-city drama, indicating that despite the recent takeover by Comcast of NBC Universal, Focus is still being allowed to pursue and release indie-minded, tough-sell films from new filmmaking voices.   Rees' award-winning short Pariah screened at Sundance in 2008. The feature-length version had its world premiere opening night Jan. 20 at the Eccles Theatre.