Overture Films buys McCarthy's 'Visitor'

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TORONTO -- In one of the most drawn-out and anticipated sales of the Toronto International Film Festival, new indie distributor Overture Films picked up all North American rights to writer-director Thomas McCarthy's "The Visitor" early Tuesday morning for more than $1 million plus boxoffice bonuses for the filmmakers.

The complicated negotiations ran late Monday night as filmmakers Groundswell Prods. and Participant Prods. hashed out a way to make the deal profitable based on boxoffice take and ancillary deals. Final paperwork was being drafted overnight for a formal announcement to be made past sunrise.

The follow-up to McCarthy's "Station Agent" was eagerly awaited by indie buyers before the film's Friday night world premiere. But the low-budget film's lack of stars, quiet style and abrupt shift in tone from intimate character study to immigration drama made several admiring buyers a bit wary of the cost. The film is at the low end of the under-$30 million budgets in Overture's mission statement.

"Visitor" was produced by Mary Jane Skalski and Michael London, and executive produced by Omar Amanat, Jeff Skoll, Ricky Strauss and Chris Salvaterra.