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SUNDANCE: Roadside Attractions Seals Deal for 'The Future'

The quirky, somber tale about thirtysomething malaise attracted multiple offers after its world premiere Jan. 21 at the Eccles Theatre.

Wild Cards: “The Future”
Todd Cole

The Future is looking bright for Roadside Attractions, which finally acquired domestic rights to writer-director Miranda July’s idiosyncratic drama Friday.

The company is said to have made a substantial release commitment to The Future, which had also drawn bids from IFC Films and Oscilloscope Laboratories over the past week. Fox Searchlight and Sony Pictures Classics had also expressed their fondness for the film, which had its world premiere Friday at the Eccles Theatre as part of the Sundance fest’s Premieres section.

The Future is the quirky, yet somber tale of a thirtysomething couple grappling with their personal and professional malaise. And it features the most unique narrator of any film in the festival -- a talking shelter cat named Paw Paw.

The cat, which narrates the film in a scratchy, childlike voice, presides over a story that tracks the 30 days before couple Jason and Sophie adopt the wounded feline. Jason (Hamish Linklater) and Sophie (July) turn off their Internet connection and try to make the most of the month, but things don't progress as either character expects.

July, writer-director of the 2005 film Me and You and Everyone We Know, said at a Q&A following The Future's premiere that the idea for Paw Paw came from a writing exercise of sorts on penning something from an "inhuman" perspective. The film is a whimsical affair -- the moon talks and time stands still in one segment. Set in Los Angeles, The Future offers takes on suburban decay, digital dependency and loss. Multi-instrumentalist Jon Brion, an institution in L.A.'s indie music scene, scored the film to pleasant and appropriate effect.

UTA repped the deal for the filmmakers. Producers are Gina Kwon, Roman Paul and Gerhard Meixner  and production companies GNK, Razor Film and Film Four.

Sunday, Roadside partnered with Lionsgate to buy domestic rights to the financial thriller Margin Call for $2 million, and the company closed a deal Thursday to pick up theatrical and DVD rights to Project Nim from HBO, which had picked up TV and film rights to the James Marsh documentary just before the fest.