Sundance: Amazon Acquires Alan Ball Drama 'Uncle Frank'

Uncle Frank - Sundance - PREMIERES - Publicity - H 2020
Courtesy of Sundance

The streamer also nabbed the North American rights to Irish drama 'Herself' out of this year's fest.

Amazon Studios has picked up Alan Ball's family drama Uncle Frank.

The Six Feet Under showrunner wrote and directed the movie, which is set in 1973 and follows teenager Beth (Sophia Lillis), who leaves her rural hometown to study at New York University, where her estranged uncle Frank (Paul Bettany) is a revered literature professor. She soon discovers that Frank is gay and living with his longtime partner, Wally (Peter Macdissi) — an arrangement he has kept secret for years.

After the sudden death of surly patriarch Mac (Stephen Root), Frank reluctantly returns home for the funeral with Beth and Wally in tow. Along the way, he’s forced to reckon with the ghosts of the past and finally face his family.

Steve Zahn, Judy Greer and Margo Martindale also star.

The movie screened in the fest's Premieres section to lukewarm reviews. In The Hollywood Reporter review of Uncle Frank, Leslie Felperin wrote that the movie "feels way too thirsty for audience love."

Ball produced the movie, along with Macdissi, Michael Costigan, Jay Van Hoy, Stephanie Meurer and Bill Block. Bob Osher and Andrew Golov executive produced.

UTA Independent Film Group brokered the deal, which fell in the $12 million range, according to those familiar with the sale.

This is the second pickup for Amazon out of this year's fest — the streamer has already nabbed the North American rights to Irish drama Herself.