British films 'The Look of Love' and 'The Summit' both secure distribution at Sundance
PARK CITY - The acquisitions announcements are coming thick and fast in Sundance, and while I haven't been keeping up with that side of things, I did notice that two of the festival's bigger British entries have found a home with the IFC family.
Michael Winterbottom's "The Look of Love," a semi-comedic biopic of London porn entrepreneur Paul Raymond, has been picked up by IFC Films -- no surprise there, given that they've handled most of Winterbottom's recent work. The new film has enjoyed a mixed reception at the festival -- I thought it was so-so myself -- but is on the accessible end of spectrum, and might actually play better on a VOD platform. (In my review, I mentioned that I thought the material best suited to TV, so close enough.)
Meanwhile, a few days ago, IFC's more specialized Sundance Selects label announced its acquisition of UK-Irish production "The Summit," a documentary study of a 2008 mountaineering tragedy on the slopes of K2, which saw 11 climbers disappear in mysterious circumstances.
The film had its world premiere last year at the London Film Festival, where I reviewed it for Variety: I wasn't all that taken with its skewed perspective on events, though it showcases more remarkable work from the cinematographer Robbie Ryan (director Nick Ryan's cousin, incidentally). My HitFix colleague Daniel Fienberg also expressed some issues with the film in his Sundance review, and comparisons to "Touching the Void" aren't going to the flatter it, but it's easy to imagine it playing better with audiences -- and, with Sundance Selects' backing, could even be one to watch for in the next Oscar documentary shortlist. (I know, I know... let's not go there.)
Anyway, with no equivalent to 2009 Sundance entry "An Education" in this lineup, that's been the best news for British cinema at Sundance this year. (Well, if we're just talking movies rather than business, I'd be inclined to mention the cheap, cheerful and highly effective horror film "In Fear," which is headed for some kind of midnight-movie life, but I'll be reviewing that one at a later date.)