A Complete List of Films Sold At Sundance 2017

By  · Published on January 30th, 2017

So far it’s a solid mix of narratives and documentaries.


It’s safe to say that the ultimate Sundance dream is to sell a film (second to Ava DuVernay casually walking by you, of course). Filmmakers want to sell their films so that their work can reach more audiences and they can hopefully go on to make bigger and better films. Studios want to buy films so that they can compete in the industry. Patrons especially want sales so that when their friends later ask if they want to see this new indie film that just came out they can casually go, “Is that finally out? It seems like AGES since I saw it at Sundance. Also did I tell you that Ava DuVernay walked by me this year? I did? Okay.”

The 2017 Sundance Film Festival is entering closing weekend with a decent number of those dream sales already under its belt. As of Saturday morning, 37 films have been sold. 14 of those are documentaries, exciting for all us doc lovers, ranging in topics from crowded maternity wards to dying coral reefs to a girls’ high school step dance team. The 23 narrative sales include ghost stories, mom stories, rap stories, and nun stories.

Of those 37 films sold, 11 are from women directors, including one of the first pre-festival sales (Kitty Green’s Casting JonBenet). Directors who had their first feature-length film sold include Amanda Lipwitz (STEP), Geremy Jasper (PATTI CAKE$), Marti Noxon (To The Bone), and Matt Spicer (Ingrid Goes West). Festival alumni include David Lowery, Gillian Robespierre, and Matthew Heineman.

Casting JonBenet

Netflix comes out as the supreme sales champion (totally a thing) with 10 of the 37 acquisitions. A couple share theatrical rights with other distributors (Alethea Jones’ Fun Mom Dinner, Cate Shortland’s Berlin Syndrome), but most are for worldwide rights. Streaming services continue to reign supreme with Amazon coming in second place with five acquisitions. And in third place with three acquisitions is Sony Picture Classics.

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A24 surprised no one by snagging A Ghost Story and we’re all looking forward to the inevitable bizarre marketing campaign that will include sheets with cutout eyeholes and pie. (If they could also work in Black Phillip somehow, I’d super appreciate it.) A24 also acquired the mysterious project Toru. Remember just before the festival when they teased that trailer and Film Twitter went bananas? It turns out it was a short film that premiered at Sundance. Likely they will be doing more with the short and its creators.

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Two of the largest sales of the festival so far have gone to Netflix (Dee Rees’ Mudbound for $12.5M) and Amazon ($12M for Michael Showalter’s The Big Sick). Fox Searchlight also interestingly acquired the rights to documentary STEP for $4M. They don’t often deal in documentaries (the last was 2015’s He Named Me Malala) but considering their scope, it can only mean a substantial release for STEP, which is absolutely what the inspiring documentary deserves. Another large documentary sale was Icarus ($5M, Netflix). I’m not trying to say that the world is anywhere near perfect but it definitely can’t be all bad when seven figures are dropped for documentaries.

Below is the list of current sales. We’ll update it as more roll in. (You can also click here to see where to watch many of the Sundance 2017 films.)

[Updated February 2nd to include Dina, Menashe, and Beach Rats]

Beach Rats (dir. Eliza Hittman) ‐ Neon

Beatrix At Dinner (dir. Miguel Arteta) Roadside Attractions, FilmNation

Berlin Syndrome (dir. Cate Shortland) ‐ Vertical, Netflix

The Big Sick (dir. Michael Showalter) ‐ Amazon

Review ‐ The Big Sick, More Like The Big Cure

Brigsby Bear (dir. Dave McCary) ‐ Sony Pictures Classics

Bushwick (dir. Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott ) ‐ RLJ Entertainment

Call Me By Your Name (dir. Luca Guadagnino) ‐ Sony Pictures Classics)

Call Me By Your Name

Casting JonBenet (dir. Kitty Green) ‐ Netflix

City of Ghosts (dir. Matthew Heineman )— Amazon

Chasing Coral (dir. Jeff Orlowski) ‐ Netflix

Cries from Syria (dir. Evgeny Afineevsky) ‐ HBO

Crown Heights (dir. Matt Ruskin) ‐ Amazon

Dayveon (dir. Amman Abbasi) ‐ FilmRise


Dina (dir. Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini) ‐ The Orchard

Fun Mom Dinner (dir. Alethea Jones) ‐ Netflix, Momentum

A Ghost Story (dir. David Lowery) ‐ A24

The Hero (dir. Brett Haley) ‐ The Orchard

Icarus (dir. Bryan Fogel) ‐ Netflix

An Inconvenient Sequel (dir. Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk) ‐ Paramount

Review ‐ An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

Ingrid Goes West (dir. Matt Spicer) ‐ Neon

The Incredible Jessica James (dir. James Strouse) ‐ Netflix

Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower (dir. Joe Piscatella) ‐ Netflix

Killing Ground (dir. Damien Power) ‐ IFC Midnight

Review ‐ Killing Ground Delivers Terror and Corn-Holing Down Under

Landline (dir. Gillian Robespierre) ‐ Amazon

Legion of Brothers (dir. Greg Barker) ‐ Gravitas Ventures, CNN

Little Hours (dir. Jeff Baena) ‐ Gunpowder & Sky

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Long Strange Trip (dir. Amir Bar-Lev) ‐ Amazon

Menashe (dir. Joshua Z. Weinstein ) ‐ A24

Motherland (dir. Ramona Diaz) ‐ Dogwoof

Mudbound (dir. Dee Rees) ‐ Netflix

Nobody Speak: Hulk Hogan, Gawker and Trials of a Free Press (dir. Brian Knappenberger ‐ Netflix

Novitiate (dir. Maggie Betts) ‐ Sony Pictures Classics

PATTI CAKE$ (dir. Geremy Jasper) ‐ Fox Searchlight


Pop Aye (dir. Kirsten Tan) ‐ Kino Lorber

Roxanne, Roxanne (dir. Michael Larnell) ‐ Neon

STEP (dir. Amanda Lipitz) ‐ Fox Searchlight

Thoroughbred (dir. Cory Finley) ‐ Focus Features

Review ‐ Thoroughbred Finds Heart With the Heartless

To The Bone (dir. Marti Noxon) ‐ Netflix

Toru (dir. Jonathan Minard, Scott Rashap) ‐ A24

Trophy (dir. Shaul Schwarz) ‐ The Orchard, CNN

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78/52 (dir. ) ‐ IFC Midnight

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