Sundance Jury Prize Winner Winter's Bone Goes To Roadside Attractions

Apologies for bringing this to you a little late. Given how many Sundance deals were finalized in the last days of the festival, and how that was the time I had set aside for dancing up a storm and then flying back home exhausted, I missed some of the distribution deals that emerged. By the time Winter's Bone won the Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Dramatic Features, though, I was definitely aware that it had been picked up for North American release-- I just opted not to share that information with you guys. Yeah, I know, I'm sorry.

Anyway, the news hit last Saturday that Roadside Attractions had picked up Debra Granik's film, which depicts a 17-year-old girl traveling across the impoverished Ozarks to track down her absent father. The movie was praised for the lead performance by teenager Jennifer Lawrence, as well as its unflinching depiction of a cruel and poor corner of the country. You know, it's your typical heartwarming Sundance fare.

Below is the press release from Roadside Attractions, in which they announce their plans to release the film theatrically this summer. It sounds like a release pattern similar to the one for Frozen River, another bleak Sundance hit that did well enough to earn its star Melissa Leo a Best Actress nomination. Sounds like Roadside Attractions is hoping that history will repeat itself.

Park City,Utah (January 30, 2010) – In a deal for one of Sundance’s most critically-acclaimed films, Roadside Attractions has acquired all North American rights to DebraGranik’s Dramatic Competition thriller WINTER’S BONE. Featuring an astonishing, star-making performance from actress Jennifer Lawrence (Jodie Foster’s upcoming Mel Gibson starrer THE BEAVER), WINTER’S BONE follows 17-year-old Ree Dolly as she faces down the unforgiving Ozark wilderness and an even more hostile criminal underworld ina ttempt to find her missing father, who has put up the family homestead for his bail.“With WINTER’S BONE, Debra Granik has crafted a classic detective story, a nail-biting thriller and an unbelievably touching family drama, all in one film,” said Roadside’s Head of Acquisitions and Business Affairs, Dustin Smith. “It’s everything Sundance is about. It’s everything independent film is about. And it’s everything I go to the movies for. We cannot wait to help Debra and her team get this film in front of as many people as humanly possible.”Roadside plans to release the film theatrically this summer, with Lionsgate handling all ancillaries later in the year.Adapted from a novel by Missouri-based author Daniel Woodrell (Ride With the Devil), WINTER’S BONE was directed by Debra Granik, whose 2004 film Down To the Bone won two Sundance jury prizes and launched the career of UP IN THE AIR star Vera Farmiga. The WINTER’S BONE screenplay was adapted by Granik and Anne Rosellini,who also produced along with Alix Madigan. Executive Producers were Jonathan Scheuer and Shawn Simon. In addition to Jennifer Lawrence, the film also features stunning performances by John Hawkes (Me and You and Everyone We Know) and Dale Dickey (Changeling) as well as a team of supporting players cast directly from the Ozark region depicted in the film. WINTER’S BONE is a production of Anonymous Content and Winter’s Bone Productions.Following its Sundance launch, WINTER’S BONE will have its international premiere next month as an Official Selection of the 60th Berlin International Film Festival.The deal was brokered by Dustin Smith and Howard Cohen for Roadside and Josh Braun and Jason Janego of Submarine Entertainment, on behalf of the filmmakers.

Katey Rich

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend