Ball's 'Private' sold to WIP, Red Envelope

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NEW YORK -- As evening fell in Toronto on Tuesday, Warner Independent Pictures acquired and Netflix's Red Envelope Entertainment was finalizing the joint acquisition of all North American rights to the most controversial film of the fest, writer/director Alan Ball's "Nothing is Private," for around $1.25 million. The deal also included an Eastern European territory for WIP, which is eyeing a mid-2008 domestic release.

The story of a 13-year-old Arab-American girl's adolescent awakening includes graphic scenes involving menstruation, rape, racist language and pedophilia. It has received many good reviews but equally passionate positive and negative reactions from buyers and audiences, making it a brave choice by WIP. The film, which has already received an R rating, will be cut solely for length reasons from its current unfinished 134-minute running time.

Based on Alicia Erian's controversial novel "Towelhead," the This is That/Indian Paintbrush production stars Aaron Eckhart, Toni Collette, Maria Bello and newcomer Summer Bishil in the lead role.

The film was eagerly anticipated heading into the fest before its Saturday night premiere and chased by several indie distributors, with some hesitation over the button-pushing themes.

“We are thrilled to be working with Alan on his first feature as a director,” said WIP head Polly Cohen. “His film is provocative, warm-hearted and is sure to create a lot of discussion as his past work on ‘American Beauty’ and ‘Six Feet Under’ has.”

"Private" marks "Six Feet Under" creator and Oscar winning "American Beauty" scribe Ball's feature directorial debut. Ted Hope, Steven Rales Ball produced the project and Anne Carey, Scott Rudin and Peggy Rajsk executive produced, with UTA repping sales for the filmmakers. WIP's Polly Cohen, Jun Oh and Paul Federbush negotiated for their studio.
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