As the competition heats up at the otherwise chilly 2003 Sundance Film Festival, film distributors are scrambling to find the latest and greatest independent films.
Variety reports bidders are eyeing indie standouts such as the Katie Holmes starrer Pieces of April, about a Thanksgiving dinner from hell; Thirteen, starring Holly Hunter, about a prepubescent girl trying to become popular; and The Station Agent, about a dwarf who connects with two other people at a train station, starring Patricia Clarkson (Far From Heaven).
Also sparking buzz is the dark comedy Bookies, centering on a trio of college friends who start their own gambling ring. From the director of Happy, Texas, it stars Nick Stahl (In the Bedroom) and Lukas Haas (Mars Attacks!).
There is also HBO Films' American Splendor. According to Variety, the film is based on the underground comic book series of the same name and combines animation and documentary techniques to tell the true story of Harvey Pekar, an eccentric and self-described flunky file clerk who finds salvation and a measure of fame by documenting his life in comics illustrated by artists like Robert Crumb. It stars Paul Giamatti (Duets) and Hope Davis (About Schmidt).
So far the only confirmed deal was made Tuesday by the small New York distributor Women Make Movies, which acquired the North American rights to the documentary Love & Diane, Variety reports. The film revolves around a recovering crack addict who is reunited with her children only to find her oldest daughter following in her footsteps.
The Sundance Film Festival runs Jan. 16 through Jan. 26.