UPDATE 5:10PM SUNDAY
I just read a post by Neil Miller over at Film School Rejects that states,
"I was sent over a scoop by a very reliable source that said that Lionsgate is very close to acquiring the U.S. distribution rights to the film. The source said that the deal may not be done yet, but that Lionsgate is working hard to get it done."
Well... Lionsgate has proven to be more willing to take risks with films that other majors aren't necessarily rushing to buy.
ORIGINAL POST 4:37PM SUNDAY
I know I'm about a day late on this, and most of you have probably already read or heard the news... but here it is anyway:
The award winners of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival were announced yesterday evening, and Lee Daniels's Push, based on a novel of the same name by Sapphire, was the big winner, as it won the Dramatic Grand Jury prize, the Audience Award AND the Special Jury prize for actress Mo’Nique.
When was the last time a film at the festival swept the majors like this one did? I'd have to research, but I'm very sure it's a rare occurrence.
Kudos to Lee Daniels and company for what sounds like an extremely worthwhile production, and I'm certainly looking forward to seeing the film whenever I'm given the opportunity.
However, despite the accolades, including all the wonderful reviews I've read from critics who screened the film at the festival, Push did not get picked up by a distributor... which isn't at all surprising to me.
About 20 years ago, a little film by the name of Chameleon Street was also awarded the Grand Prize at the Sundance Film Festival that year, by a jury that was led by then relatively unknown Steven Soderbergh, whose Sex, Lies And Video Tape took home the same prize the year before, and didn't have much difficulty attracting a mini-major distributor, in the then Weinstein brothers owned Miramax. Unfortunately, the same fate escaped Chameleon Street, and Wendell B Harris, the filmmaker, had to settle for a smaller distribution company, after the festival was long over, that simply failed to ensure the film's success - a film that only recently, in the past year or so, was finally given the DVD treatment.
As for Push, I'd expect a happier ending; Lee Daniels has been around long enough to know how to properly navigate the established system to his advantage. So, I'm certain the film will find the right distributor; and that might mean a cable TV buy, as opposed to the coveted theatrical release.
But the award wins are very good news, and should help the film in the marketplace!