Last year's flat Sundance marketplace is but a distant, duddy memory, with two more sales confirmed overnight and likely more to come as the die-hard festivalgoers settle in for the Park City long haul.
· The Sam Rockwell-coached, girls-basketball comedy The Winning Season — the last film admitted to the 'Dance after a late, late submission — was picked up by Lionsgate on Tuesday for $3 million. Fingers crossed that the distributor can manage a little better roll-out than the one received by director James Strouse's last Sundance entry, Grace is Gone, a $4 million Weinstein buy that grossed a total of $50,000 in late 2007.
· Last year, Sundance offered the benchmark gay-zombie romp Otto, or: Up With Dead People. This year, IFC Films announced it closed a deal on the Norwegian entry Dead Snow, marking the venerable festival's equal-opportunity validation of a zombie Nazis.
· Did we mention that Steven Soderbergh's The Girlfriend Experience features esteemed critic Glenn Kenny as one of cinema history's most appalling sex-trade hobbyists? We did? Oh. Did we mention how proud he was? Ah-hah.
· Discussing the well-received Honduran immigrant saga Sin Nombre, which Focus Features will release this spring, studio boss James Schamus offered this fantastic if cryptic Inauguration Eve endorsement: "[It's a] big 'fuck you' to the idea of movies aimed at liberals who feel sorry for immigrants.'' All right! We've always wanted a Special Jury Prize for Excellence in "Fuck You."