EXCLUSIVE: In the first big deal of the 2021 Sundance Virtual Film Festival, Apple landed worldwide rights to CODA, for a number north of $ 25 million. This sets a new Sundance acquisition record – above $ 22.5 million Palm springs received last year from Hulu / Neon. But this time around, all of the premiere viewing and all-night auction took place away from the slopes of Park City. It boiled down to a pitched battle between Apple and Amazon.
Writer-director Siân Heder’s coming-of-age drama is about a high school student who is the only hearing person in her deaf family and is torn between maintaining this unity or pursuing her own dreams. The film premiered on the opening night of the US Drama Competition. Buyers loved it and it became clear yesterday that its value to distributors was heading into the stratosphere, after receiving rave reviews and feedback from buyers. Several bids were on the table and brought the auctions closer to Palm springs territory. It was the movie Andy Samberg-Cristin Milioti that broke Sundance’s sales record last year with $ 22.5 million.
‘CODA’ ignites first auction battle at Sundance Film Festival
The film (the acronym of the title is Child of Deaf Adults) centers on Ruby (Emilia Jones), the only hearing person in her deaf family. When the family’s fishing business is threatened, she finds herself torn between pursuing her love of music and her fear of abandoning her parents. The photo is based on the award-winning French hit The belier family. Jones is a real find and the film is a real crowd pleaser with heart and the potential for rewards. Heder captured the Boston fishing scene and love of the classic Motown and Joni Mitchell and Marvin Gaye, whose songs are broken down and connect you to the messages they contain, and why they resonate with the characters sailing in. difficult circumstances. More importantly, it creates a real entry into the world of a mother, father and son born deaf, and when the film transports audiences to how these deaf characters experience the world without sound, and try to appreciate a darling girl’s brilliant singing talent that they can’t hear, the results are what they build for Best Picture contestants. Many buyers discussed the film with me yesterday and were saddened when the numbers exceeded what they could spend, as it became clear that this would be a global rights deal with a streamer.
Said Deadline’s Pete Hammond in his post review CODALast night’s premiere: “It hits you right to the heart, not only as a moving story of what it means to be in a family, but also as a story of becoming your own person and following a dream.”
Eugenio Derbez, Marlee Matlin and Ferdia Walsh-Peelo are also on the bill. Fabrice Gianfermi “ The film Pathe was produced by Philippe Rousselet, and Patrick Wachsberger produced the film with Jerome Seydoux, and an executive produced by Ardavan Safaee, Sarah Borch-Jacobsen, and co-produced by Hester Hargett-Aupetit, Ged Dickersin, Marie From Cenival and Eric Jehelmann, Stéphane Celerier and Valerie Garcia.
The auction was organized by CAA Media Finance and ICM Partners.
All of this bodes well for other hot festival titles, with Rebecca Hall headed Who passed first today.