Sundance: Awkwafina Drama 'The Farewell' Lands at A24

Courtesy of Sundance Institute
'The Farewell'

Written and directed by Lulu Wang, the film made its world premiere Friday at the Eccles Theatre in Park City.

In the second big-ticket sale of this year's Sundance Film Festival, A24 has acquired worldwide rights, minus China, to Lulu Wang's The Farewell in a deal said to be worth up to $7 million.

A source says the film will get a traditional theatrical release in the summer.

The Awkwafina starrer revolves around members of a Chinese family who discover their grandmother has only a short time left to live and decide to keep her in the dark, scheduling a wedding before she dies. Tzi Ma, Diana Lin, Zhao Shuzhen, Lu Hong and Jiang Yongbo round out the cast.

Written by Wang, the film made its world premiere Friday at the Eccles Theatre in Park City. Big Beach Films, the indie film company behind the Sundance mega-hit Little Miss Sunshine, produced the pic. The Farewell is in English and Mandarin and is seen as having the potential to do robust business in Asia. Amazon, Netflix and Fox Searchlight also were chasing the film.

The Hollywood Reporter's David Rooney wrote in his review that Awkwafina's performance was "a quiet revelation ... the center of an impeccably cast ensemble all drawn with deep personal investment and keen-eyed observation of complex Chinese family dynamics, making writer-director Lulu Wang's bittersweet, poignant comedy-drama a gentle delight."

Daniele Melia, Peter Saraf, Marc Turtletaub, Andrew Miano, Chris Weitz, Jane Zheng, Lulu Wang and Anita Gou produced the pic, while Eddie Rubin executive produced.

UTA, which reps Awkwafina and Wang, and Endeavor negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers. The Farewell marks the second splashy sale of the ongoing market, coming on the heels of a $13 million U.S. deal for the Emma Thompson-Mindy Kaling comedy Late Night to Amazon.