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TORONTO — The latest trend in Canadian film: Internet sensations that land on the big screen.
Indie distributor D Films has picked up the Canadian rights to Andrew Bush’s upcoming camp comedy “Roller Town” from Halifax producer Bad Astronaut.
The Canadian feature, to shoot in Halifax this summer, stars comedy troupe Picnicface in its debut feature after a string of irreverent comedic short films that secured a cult following online.
“Roller Town” portrays three friends in the 1980s looking to stop a local crime syndicate from transforming a roller rink into a video arcade.
The eight-strong Picnicface troupe is repped by United Talent Agency.
Bill Niven and Jay Dahl are producing “Roller Town” from a screenplay penned by Bush, Mark Little and Scott Vrooman.
The distribution deal was hammered out by Tony Cianciotta for D Films and Nivens for Bad Astronaut.
In other distribution news, indie distributor KinoSmith acquired all Canadian rights to Ben Steinbauer’s feature documentary feature “Winnebago Man” after it screened at last week’s Hot Docs festival in Toronto.
The film is based on Internet buzz created when outtakes from a 1988 Winnebago sales video featuring profane outbursts from salesman Jack Rebney surfaced on YouTube and other video sites.
Steinbauer tracked down Rebney, now 80 years old, to a mountain top in Northern California where he lives.
“Winnebago Man” will be released stateside by Kino International, which is not affiliated with Kinosmith.
The deal was brokered by Josh Braun of Submarine Entertainment for the filmmakers and Robin Smith for Kinosmith.
Elsewhere, Strand Releasing has acquired the U.S. rights to Montreal director Matthew Bissonnette’s “Passenger Side,” a comic road movie screening in Cannes.
The film stars Adam Scott, Joel Bissonnette and Robin Tunney.
The deal was negotiated between Jon Gerrans of Strand Releasing, Glen Reynolds of Circus Road Films and “Passenger Side” producer Corey Marr.
Mark Austin of Breakaway Media is handling foreign sales.
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