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Sundance 2011 – Dee Rees’ “Pariah” Acquired By Focus Features For Seven Figures

A day after Rashaad Ernesto Green’s Gun Hill Road was acquired for “low seven figures” by Motion Film Group, comes news that Dee Rees’ feature film debut Pariah, has been picked up by Focus Features!

The company reportedly closed a deal for worldwide rights for the film, which also happened to be the opening night film for the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

BUT it doesn’t end there! Yes, it gets sweeter for Ms Rees and company.

In addition to the acquisition, Focus Features has signed the writer/director in a package that includes rights to her yet to be scripted next film – a total deal said to be in the seven figure range!


Deadline says that at least 2 other distribution companies were chasing Rees’ film.

As I said in my review of Pariah (which you can read HERE), I think Pariah is a widely accessible film, and will appeal to a much broader audience than most will expect, given the film’s subject matter and themes. And it looks like Focus (and whomever else was in the mix) saw that as well, if the deal is of any indication.

However, I am surprised by the news, as I certainly didn’t expect a deal to be made this soon, and for as much money as announced. I was just as surprised by the Gun Hill Road deal.

Given the history of the festival, black films and black filmmakers haven’t really seen this kind of success, so I’m both shocked and ecstatic for both Rashaad and Dee!

And it looks like many of you will also get to watch both films in theaters some time later this year!

2 down, a handful more to go :)

Motion Film Group

9 comments to Sundance 2011 – Dee Rees’ “Pariah” Acquired By Focus Features For Seven Figures

  • Yay!!! Congratulations to Ms. Rees, the cast and crew!

  • Clayton Broomes Jr.

    Wow. Congratulations to Dee Rees and the Pariah family.

  • AWESOME news!!! Congratulations!! I can’t wait to see this in theaters!!

  • This is FANTASTIC! :D Now, hopefully, they’ll distribute it and market it widely, instead of just NY and LA or just a few commercials on those “black people” stations and LOGO.

  • Mandla

    Very very nice. Had the pleasure of seeing Pariah, the short back in 2007, so glad to see everything come together for both Dee Rees and producer Nekisa Cooper. They are a good team. And the Kickstarter funding probably didn’t hurt there at the end either. And I’m not from Kickstarter. Just thought I’d drop that in, for those artists who don’t know, to show that it can work.

  • Curtis

    Very happy for this film but without tyler perry and Lionsgate, this film will not see the light of day. Focus film did the samething with talk To me and Catch a Fire and both bomb. I really wish Tyler perry and oprah do what they did with preacious for this film. It should be seen.

  • NothingButAMan

    VEEEEERY good to hear… but this film is still going to need continuing grassroots support and cred to have a decent B.O. experience. I know I’ll around opening weekend ;-)

  • Sweet! Focus is the perfect company to distribute Pariah

  • Patra Reynolds-Brown

    incredible news!!!!!!! ignoring curtis. INCREDIBLE news!!!!