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Sundance bidding for 'Polanski' is on

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Complete Sundance coverage

PARK CITY -- Friday night saw Sundance sales activity begin to percolate, with the most juicy story line involving the possibility of the old and the new Miramax pursuing the same project.

Sources said both the Weinstein Co. and the Daniel Battsek-run specialty division were in talks for "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired," Maria Zenovich's docu that tracks the iconic director's statutory rape trial and urges a second look at the particulars of the case. An international deal was already said to be close for the film.

The movie screened Friday evening at a small screening at Holiday Village and met with widespread acclaim. A bidding battle between the Weinstein Co. and its former corporate home would provide one of the first instances of the two aggressively pursuing the same project. A third specialty division also was said to be in the mix.

Harvey Weinstein was spotted late Friday evening at both afterparties for Jonathan Levine's coming-of-age dramedy "The Wackness" and the Big Beach female-bonding drama "Sunshine Cleaning." Those movies played to packed, distributor-heavy screenings at the Racquet Club, but neither movie was said to be close to a deal by midnight Friday.

Also on Friday, Michael Keaton's directorial debut, drama "The Merry Gentlemen," played an Eccles premiere.

Two dark-horse documentary candidates also were said to be closing distribution deals Friday evening: Katrina Browne's slavery expose "Traces of the Trade: A Story From the Deep North" and Susan Koch's exploration of a soccer championship to benefit the homeless, "Kicking It."