EXCLUSIVE: Things are loosening up on the ground here at the Sundance Film Festival after last night’s massive deal for The Big Sick. Sony Pictures Classics is closing up a mid-seven-figure worldwide rights deal for Novitiate, the Maggie Betts-directed drama that premiered Friday afternoon at the Eccles. The film, which stars Margaret Qualley, Melissa Leo, Julianne Nicholson, Dianna Agron, Maddie Hasson and Morgan Saylor, focuses on a young woman (Qualley) who is training to become a nun in the early-’60s Vatican II-era time when the church was transforming. The teen struggles with faith and sexuality, and there is a strong performance by Melissa Leo as an overbearing Mother Superior, all too familiar to those like myself who spent time in Catholic school.
Buzz on the film is that the subject matter is provocative, and the director, who wrote the script, is an emerging talent worth watching closely. The deal is being brokered by CAA, and Betts is repped by Brillstein Entertainment Partners.
This marks the second big 2017 Sundance deal for SPC’s Michael Barker and Tom Bernard, who pre-bought world rights to Call Me By Your Name. Last year, SPC came away with The Eagle Huntress, an astounding female empowerment documentary which is in the Oscar hunt.