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Sundance 2012: IFC Films Acquires Josh Radnor's 'Liberal Arts'

The indie distributor paid seven figures for the story of a listless 35-year-old who falls for a sophomore at his old college.

Liberal Arts

IFC Films has acquired North American rights to Josh Radnor’s Liberal Arts for a seven-figure sum. The film drew a positive reaction from viewers and buyers after its world premiere Sunday night at the Eccles Theatre. IFC plans to release the film in theaters later this year.

In Arts, Radnor stars with Elizabeth Olsen in the story of a listless 35-year-old who returns to his alma mater to speak at his professor’s retirement dinner and falls for a sophomore at the school. Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney, John Magaro and Elizabeth Reaser co-star.

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Jesse Hara, Claude Dal Farra, Brice Dal Farra and Lauren Munsch produced with Radnor. Gersh represented the filmmakers in the sale.

Radnor’s Happythankyoumoreplease won the narrative feature audience award at the 2010 festival. Anchor Bay Films released the film in March 2011.

Liberal Arts was produced by Jesse Hara and BCDF Pictures partners Brice Dal Farra, Claude Dal Farra and Lauren Munsch.

“There is a reason this is one of the hottest films at Sundance right now. Josh Radnor delivers a poignant and smart comedy, with incredible acting and a terrific screenplay," said Jonathan Sehring, president of Sundance Selects/IFC Films, in a statement.

Wednesday morning, Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions closed a deal to pick up U.S. rights to Arbitrage for a day-and-date theatrical-VOD release, much as they did for the 2011 Sundance thriller Margin Call. The sale price was just north of $2 million. And on Wednesday afternoon, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions and Samuel Goldwyn Films partnered to pick up Robot and Frank for slightly more than $2 million.

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Other recent sales include Red Lights to Millennium Entertainment (U.S. rights, just under $4 million); Celeste and Jesse Forever to Sony Pictures Classics (North American, Latin American, Eastern European rights, around $2 million); For a Good Time, Call… to Focus Features (worldwide rights, $2 million); and Beasts of the Southern Wild to Fox Searchlight, which also grabbed worldwide rights to The Surrogate for just under $6 million Monday.

Sunday, LD Distribution picked up the thriller Black Rock for just over $1 million, and CBS Films acquired the drama The Words for a combined deal valued at $3.5 million. Competition documentaries Searching For Sugar Man and The Queen of Versailles found homes at SPC and Magnolia Pictures, respectively, on Friday.

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

Twitter: @Writer730@DanielNMiller