Sundance 2012: Deals penned for “Plague,” “Imposter”

Hot Sundance titles How to Survive a Plague (pictured), from first time director David France, and The Imposter, from British director Bart Layton, have both landed distribution deals.
January 27, 2012

Hot Sundance titles How to Survive a Plague (pictured), from first time director David France, and The Imposter, from British director Bart Layton, have both landed distribution deals.

Plague has been picked up by Sundance Selects, while Imposter has been acquired in a joint deal by Revolver Entertainment and Picturehouse Entertainment.

The former film looks at how a group of mostly HIV-positive young men and women took on Washington and the medical establishment in the late 1980s to infiltrate the pharmaceutical industry and accelerate the development of new drugs to help battle AIDs.

Sundance Selects is acquiring North American rights to the doc, which features a screenplay by France, T. Woody Richman, and Tyler H. Walk; and was produced by France and Howard Gertler. Joy Tomchin and Dan Cogan exec produced the project, which was made in association with Ford Foundation/JustFilms, Impact Partners, and Little Punk.

Jonathan Sehring, president of Sundance Selects/IFC Films, said: “This is a towering film in the history of cinema about social activism. Its astonishing use of archival material to reconstruct an era of political indifference in the face of an unimaginable health crisis helps to create a new blueprint for modern activists.

“David France has made a deeply powerful and unforgettable film which we look forward to bringing to the widest audience possible.”

The deal for the film was negotiated by Arianna Bocco, senior VP of acquisitions and productions for Sundance Selects/IFC Films; and Betsy Rodgers, senior VP of business and legal affairs for Sundance Selects/IFC Films; with Josh Braun, David Koh, Dan Braun and Dan O’Meara of Submarine on behalf of the filmmakers.

Meanwhile, Picturehouse and Revolver teamed up for a joint deal that saw them acquiring all UK rights for The Imposter and narrative feature Liberal Arts, which is also debuting at Sundance.

The Imposter looks at the story of a missing boy who disappears from his home in Texas only to be found alive, three and a half years later, in Spain. Looking decidedly different and speaking with a strange accent, it is only when an investigator begins probing the situation that the truth begins to emerge.

Produced by Dimitri Doganis, the film is an A&E IndieFilms, Film4 and Channel 4 presentation of a Raw Production, in association with Red Box Films and Passion Pictures. The film’s exec producers are John Battsek (One Day in September, Restrepo) and Simon Chinn (Man on Wire, Project Nim).

Revolver CEO Justin Marciano said: “We’re delighted to be expanding our relationship with Lyn, Clare, Sara and all the team at Picturehouse. We’ve been looking to collaborate on a project for some time.

“This represents the coming together of two great companies to provide an unparalleled proposition for Independent filmmakers. Liberal Arts and The Imposter have both wowed audiences here at Sundance and we couldn’t have hoped for two better films to begin this unique partnership.”

Rights for The Imposter were agreed between Dave Bishop, Revolver’s head of acquisitions; Clare Binns, Picturehouse’s director programming and acquisitions; and Ben Roberts, CEO of Protagonist Pictures.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.