'Twelve,' 'Hesher' picked up at Sundance

New distributor takes rights to Joel Schumacher film

PARK CITY -- A new distributor has made its mark at Sundance and a veteran indie is back in the game as the result of two film pickups on Thursday. Several more sales were brewing.

The film and video division of independent book publisher Hannover House ponied up about $2 million for "Twelve," director Joel Schumacher's look at drug-dealing among privileged Manhattan teens that will play Friday as the fest's closing feature. Roeg Sutherland, who co-heads CAA's film finance group with Micah Green, shepherded the deal.

Meanwhile, Newmarket Films re-entered the fest market, picking up domestic rights to the Natalie Portman-produced drama "Hesher," starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, in a deal in the $1 million range.


Late Thursday, as most buyers were leaving town, several other deals were said to be imminent. Some bigger fish were looking to catch the documentary "Catfish," the Weinstein Co. remained the leading candidate to march off with the Iraq War hero docu "The Tillman Story," and a handful of top indies were vying for the comedic "Douchebag."

WME Global and CAA co-repped the "Hesher" sale, which closed just before dawn Thursday after a late-night Salt Lake City screening. The deal includes a significant P&A commitment. Lucy Cooper, Matt Weaver, Scott Prisand, Johnny Lin, Win Sheridan and the film's director, Spencer Susser, produced along with the Portman's Handsomecharlie Films.

In the film, Gordon-Levitt plays the title character, an intrusive, greasy-haired mayhem-seeker who insinuates himself into the lives of a bullied 13-year-old boy and his pill-popping father. The language and content place it squarely in the R-rated realm.

The WME-repped Susser had his short film "I Love Sarah Jane" screen at the festival in 2008. Newmarket recently released "Creation," "The Nines" and "The Prestige."

For Hannover, which has primarily dealt in the video market, the "Twelve" buy represents a commitment to a serious theatrical rollout.

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Narrated by Kiefer Sutherland, "Twelve" stars Chace Crawford, of "Gossip Girl" fame, along with a cast that includes Emma Roberts, Ellen Barkin, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson and Rory Culkin.

Hannover has brought on Lionsgate and Weinstein Co. veteran Tom Ortenberg's new One Way Out Media to oversee domestic distribution.

CAA, which packaged and arranged financing for the film, and Gaumont brokered the deal with Eric Parkinson and Fred Sheft, CEO and president of Hannover House, respectively. Gaumont is handling foreign sales.