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Sundance 2012: Fox Searchlight buys 'Beasts'

January 24, 2012 | 10:28 am

Fox Searchlight has locked down its second deal of the Sundance Film Festival, picking up Ben Zeitlin’s “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”

The fantastical picture, which blends striking images of animals with a gritty Southern poverty, had garnered both critical acclaim and sales interest, with several other major players throwing their hats in the ring. Talks heated up between the studio and seller WME in the last 24 hours, with the deal being finalized early Tuesday morning.

The deals began to flow in earnest Tuesday, with Sony Pictures Classics buying the Rashida Jones dramatic comedy "Celeste & Jesse Forever" and Focus Features acquiring rights to “For a Good Time, Call,” a raunchy phone sex comedy starring Ari Graynor.

PHOTOS: The scene at Sundance 2012

As for "Beasts," the movie features a range of non-actors in what critics have said is a moody and powerful look at a regional poverty; the film centers on a 6-year-old character named Hushpuppy who walks among feral animals in a poor part of the Louisiana bayou, fiercely devoted to her dying father.

The news comes after Searchlight on Monday picked up “The Surrogate,” Ben Lewin’s uplifting story about a middle-aged disabled man who hires a sex surrogate.


Sundance 2012: Beasts of the Southern Wild sparks a strong response

Sundance 2012: In 'Shut Up,' the enigma of LCD Soundsystem

Second for second, the most cinematic experience in Sundance

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: "Beasts of the Southern Wild." Credit: Sundance Film Festival

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