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Sundance 2012: 'Beasts,' 'Celeste and Jesse,' 'The Words' Pick Up Heat

As major snowfall blankets Park City on Day 3 of the Sundance Film Festival, sales activity heats up.

Celeste and Jesse Forever
"Celeste and Jesse Forever"

As major snowfall blankets Park City on Day Three of the Sundance Film Festival, sales activity has become equally heavy as several films field sustained interest from potential distributors.

Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild continues to draw possible buyers to the table. While Fox Searchlight, The Weinstein Co., Sony Pictures Classics and Focus Features all started circling Friday after the film’s world premiere screening at the Eccles Theatre, several more buyers have since had their interest piqued. The film has a press and industry screening at noon Saturday and will play again at the Redstone Cinema 8 in Park City later that night. WME Global is handling sales.

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Celeste and Jesse Forever, which had its world premiere at the Eccles Friday night, already has offers on the table, especially following another positively received screening Saturday morning. UTA is repping sales on the film, which stars Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg.

The Words has some momentum coming out of its press and industry screening Saturday morning at 10 am. The Premieres selection starring Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons and Olivia Wilde doesn’t have its official premiere until closing night of the festival, Friday, Jan. 27, but it could be sold by then. CAA and Untitled are repping sales.

Meanwhile, West of Memphis producers continue to hear pitches on how best to distribute the film. A sizable offer has been on the table since before the festival began Thursday, so a deal is all but assured, though the filmmakers have emphasized that money is less important than a pointed strategy for how best to make waves with the documentary among the public. Meaning, they want a substantial theatrical release and marketing commitment that will put the activist film in front of the most audience eyeballs. Executive producer Ken Kamins is repping sales.

Saturday afternoon premieres include Craig Zobel’s NEXT section drama Compliance, Ice-T’s Documentary Premieres debut Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap, Jonathan Kasdan’s narrative competition drama The First Time and Jake Schreier’s Premieres debut Robot and Frank.


Email: Jay.Fernandez@THR.com; Daniel.Miller@THR.com

Twitter: @Writer730@DanielNMiller