AfterDark loves 'Wristcutters'

4:00 AM PST 03/07/2007 by Gregg Goldstein, AP

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NEW YORK -- AfterDark Films has acquired North American rights to Goran Dukic's dark romantic comedy "Wristcutters: A Love Story," starring Patrick Fugit, Shannyn Sossamon, Will Arnett and Tom Waits.

The film will be released in August via the company's Lionsgate output deal. A potentially controversial marketing campaign is planned, featuring cardboard cutouts of characters jumping off a bridge, electrocuting and hanging themselves in keeping with the film's suicide theme. "We just hope they don't cause too many accidents," said AfterDark partner Courtney Solomon, who plans to place the signage on telephone poles and trees in major markets.

"Wristcutters," based on a short story by Etgar Keret, follows a group of young adults stuck in purgatory after committing suicide. The group embarks on a "Wizard of Oz"-style road trip, stopping at a magical camp run by an eccentric man (Waits) on their way to meeting the messiah (Arnett). Fugit will play a heartbroken member of the group, and Sossamon plays a hitchhiker who claims that her fate is all a big mistake.

The film debuted at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and went on to win best feature honors at last year's Gen Art Film Festival. It earned a nomination for best film not playing at a theater near you at fall's Gotham Awards and noms for best first feature and best first screenplay at the Independent Spirit Awards in February.

Solomon already has had test screenings of the R-rated film and plans to begin an Internet and college campus campaign targeting target ages 17-30 in April before its platform release.

"Wristcutters" was produced by Tatiana Kelly, Mikal Lazarev, Chris Coen and Adam Sherman. The executive producer is Jonathan Schwartz.

The deal was negotiated for AfterDark by Solomon and executive vp acquisitions and creative affairs Stephanie Caleb with attorney Greg Bernstein. Attorney Wayne Kazan of Weissman Wolff Bergman Coleman Grodin & Evall Llp. represented the filmmakers.
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