'Waitress' to Searchlight for $4 mil

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PARK CITY -- Fox Searchlight continued its Sundance acquisition binge Monday by purchasing worldwide rights to the Adrienne Shelly film "Waitress" for just under $4 million.

Fox Searchlight has confirmed the deal, which closed soon after the film screened at Sundance for its second time Monday at the Library Theatre at 11:30am. It's the third and final feature from the slain writer/director, who was murdered in her New York apartment in early November

The film stars Keri Russell in the title role of a poor Southern woman trapped in a bad marriage who finds true love when a new gynecologist comes to town. Jeremy Sisto, Cheryl Hines, Nathan Fillion and Andy Griffith also star.

"Waitress" was produced by Michael Roiff and executive produced by Todd King, Jeff Rose, Danielle Renfrew and Robert Bauer. It is scheduled to be released in 2007.

The deal was brokered on Fox Searchlight's side by senior vp acquisitions Tony Safford and executive vp business affairs Stephen Plum with the Film Sales Co. president Andrew Herwitz and Irwin Rappaport on behalf of the filmmakers.

It was also announced Monday that the nonprofit Adrienne Shelly Foundation has been established by her husband, Andy Ostroy, who will serve as its executive director. It will focus on women filmmakers, helping to finance student and independent films and produce screenplay readings.

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