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UTA has signed writer-director Dee Rees, whose debut film Pariah had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Rees has also signed with Cinetic Management.
Partner Blair Kohan will head Rees’ UTA team, and manager Bart Walker will rep her for New York-based Cinetic. Attorney Victoria Cook of Frankfurt, Kurnit, Klein & Selz continues to rep the filmmaker.
Focus Features picked up worldwide rights to Rees’ teen drama, which had screened opening night of the festival, just before the fest ended. As part of the deal, which Cinetic negotiated, Focus also hired Rees to write another project. The indie company has a late fall release planned for Pariah.
Pariah, which is based on an award-winning short Rees screened at Sundance three years earlier, stars Adepero Oduye, Charles Parnell, Pernell Walker and Kim Wayans in the story of a teenager in Brooklyn coming to terms with her lesbianism. Nekisa Cooper produced and Spike Lee is an executive producer.
Read THR’s review from Sundance
The film’s director of photography, Bradford Young, was given the U.S. dramatic cinematography award at Sundance.
An alumnus of NYU’s graduate film program, Rees was a 2008 Sundance screenwriting and directing lab fellow. She directed the documentary Eventual Salvation in 2008.
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