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Par Vantage makes big buys

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PARK CITY -- As the unexpectedly insane buying frenzy at the Sundance festival was reaching a fever pitch, Paramount Vantage seemed to be staying out of the spotlight. That all changed Tuesday morning when the studio announced that it has acquired two films, "How She Move" for $3-4 million and "Son of Rambow," the fest's biggest buy so far at $7 million.

Each hefty purchase was notable because neither film features any big or even recognizable actors. "How She Move," an urban drama centered in the world of step dancing, closed early Tuesday morning after an all-night bidding war that attracted several specialty divisions. Vantage picked up virtually all worldwide rights to the film from director Ian Iqbal Rashid and first-time feature screenwriter Annmarie Morais.

"Move," an entry in the World Cinema dramatic competition, was produced by Jennifer Kawaja, Julia Sereny and Brent Barclay. UTA and Celluloid Dreams represented the project in the sale.

Vantage also picked up worldwide rights (excluding Japan, Germany and French free tv) to "Son of Rambow," an 80s-era tale of young friends inspired to become filmmakers by their favorite Sylvester Stallone movie. Miramax, Picturehouse and Focus were among those in the final running for the film from writer/director Garth Jennings ("The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy").

"Rambow" was produced by Jennings and Nick Goldsmith's company Hammer & Tongs, along with Celluloid Dreams Productions, Reason Pictures/Good and Arte. Celluloid Dreams president Hengameh Panahi, Gersh Agency and attorney Andrew Hurwitz repped the filmmakers in the deal with Vantage executive vp production and acquisitions Amy Israel and executive vp business affairs and operations Jeff Freedman.

In other Sundance news, Fortissimo Films acquired all international sales rights (excluding China) to the World War II docu "Nanking," which is in the fest's documentary competition. Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman's film was produced by AOL vice chairman Ted Leonsis. The deal was negotiated by CAA on behalf of Leonsis and by Wouter Barendrecht and Winnie Lau on behalf of Fortissimo.