UPDATE: Fox Searchlight has made the deal official. The release is below the original story.

BREAKING: Fox Searchlight has closed its second big deal of the festival, capturing U.S rights to Beasts Of The Southern Wild, the Benh Zeitlin-directed film that created a ton of buzz since its premiere last Friday at the Eccles Theater. Several distributors were chasing, and Searchlight was rumored to be the most eager since that screening. Last night, Fox Searchlight paid $6 million for world rights to The Surrogate. WME Global sold this one.

Zeitlin wrote the script with Lucy Alibar, and the film stars Quvenzhané Wallis and Dwight Henry. The logline: Waters gonna rise up, wild animals gonna rerun from the grave, and everything south of the levee is goin’ under in this tale of a 6-year-old named Hushpuppy, who lives with her daddy at the edge of the world. The film is in the U.S. Dramatic Competition, and to hear festivalgoers tell it, is a strong contender. Last weekend, the film won the Sundance Institute’s Indian Paintbrush Producer’s Award. Here’s the release: (more…)