Berlin wears Sundance stamp

Distant fests have long had symbiotic relationship

Park City and Berlin may not have a lot in common, but they are sharing some hot festival titles this year.

Lisa Cholodenko's crowd-pleasing comedy "The Kids Are All Right," Debra Granik's grand jury prize-winning drama "Winter's Bone" and Michael Winterbottom's polarizing noir "The Killer Inside Me" all booked flights to Europe after their Stateside bows to screen at the 60th Berlinale.

The Berlin fest typically launches just 10 days after the Sundance program has run its course, and the two often share films.

Last year, Berlin added Lone Scherfig's "An Education" after its buzzy Park City premiere as well as Oren Moverman's drama "The Messenger." Both recently fielded multiple Oscar nominations. (On the other hand, Winterbottom's Sundance 2010 documentary "The Shock Doctrine" actually premiered in Berlin the year before.)

Among the other popular or intriguing festival films moving from Sundance to Berlin are the Banksy-directed street art documentary "Exit Through the Gift Shop," Nicole Holofcener's Catherine Keener/Rebecca Hall comedy "Please Give" and a Spike Jonze short about robot love called "I'm Here" that mostly charmed audiences. The Banksy, Cholodenko and Holofcener films will screen out of competition in Berlin.

Less high-profile Sundance titles "Peepli Live," "Boy," "Bran Nue Dae," "Waste Land" (winner of the world cinema documentary audience award at Sundance) and opening-day premiere "Howl" also scored Berlin slots, as well.

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"Please Give" already had a pre-fest home at Sony Pictures Classics, but Cholodenko's, Granik's and Winterbottom's films all picked up distribution at Sundance. Focus Features purchased U.S., U.K., German and South African rights to "Kids," which shows what happens when the teenage children of a married lesbian couple seek out their sperm donor, for just south of $5 million.

Roadside Attractions acquired North American rights to the dark thriller "Winter's Bone," which it plans to release theatrically this summer. And despite the controversy "Killer Inside Me" kicked up because of several scenes that depict brutally realistic beatings of women, IFC Films picked up U.S. rights to the film for north of $1 million, with a theatrical and VOD release planned for summer.

Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman's "Howl," which follows the 1957 obscenity trial sparked by Allen Ginsberg's infamous Beat-era poem, will screen in competition at the Berlinale, as will Winterbottom's "Killer."
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