Cinematical's Indie Roundup: 'Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work,' 'The Tillman Story,' 'Only When I Dance'

Indie Roundup is your weekly guide to what's new and upcoming in the world of independent film. Pictured from left to right:
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, The Tillman Story, Only When I Dance.

Deals. The week after Sundance saw a mini-flurry of distribution deals, all as reported by our friends at indieWIRE. IFC grabbed Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, which world premiered at Sundance. Directors Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg told Cinematicalthat their film "takes the audience on a year long ride with Joan Rivers in her 76th year of life ... [peeling] away the mask of an iconic comedian [and] exposing bare the struggles, sacrifices and joy of living life as a ground breaking female performer." The doc will be released later this year.

Another Sundance doc, Amir Bar-Lev's The Tillman Story, went to The Weinstein Company. Pat Tillman left the NFL to serve in the military after 9/11, only to be killed by friendly fire. Cinematical's Eric D. Snider included it as one of The 10 Sundance Films You Need to Watch For, noting: "I didn't talk to anyone who saw it who didn't love it." As is often the case with the Weinsteins, release plans are not yet known.

Only When I Dance, directed by Beadie Finzi, has been acquired by Film Movement. The company intends to release the drama, in which two Brazilian teens dream of dancing their way out of poverty, via video on demand and in theaters this summer.

After the jump: more deals and releases for next month, plus indie box office!


More deals. Josh Lucas and the great Jon Hamm (Mad Men) headline Stolen (formerly titled Stolen Lives), a mystery thriller snatched up by IFC Films. James Van Der Beek and Rhona Mitra also appear; Anders Anderson and Andy Steinman directed. It will be available via the IFC in Theaters platform, which means video on demand first (March 3), followed by a limited theatrical release starting on March 12.

Stephen Milburn Anderson's thriller CA$H (no apparent relation to Richard Brooks' $), stars Chris Hemsworth (the upcoming Thor) and Victoria Profeta as a struggling couple. They find a suitcase full of money, which brings "strange and sinister" Sean Bean to their door. Roadside Attractions will open it March 26.

Come late spring, Hawaiian biopic Princess Kaiulani will find its way into theaters, courtesy of Roadside Attractions. Q'orianka Kilcher stars in the period piece as the titular character, "caught up in the last days of the Hawaiian monarchy." Marc Forby wrote and directed the film, which at one point was evidently known as Barbarian Princess, which sounds like a 70s drive-in flick. Probably a good idea to change the title. The great Barry Pepper and Will Patton also star.

Indie Weekend Box Office. While Dear John was busy dethroning Avatar, Red Riding Trilogy took the top spot for indies, according to Box Office Mojo. The special, one-theater engagement earned $14,526. You can watch the individual trailers for the three films right here at Cinematical. Christopher Campbell said it was one of his favorite moviegoing experiences last year: "Three British films, each from a different director, each shot in a different film or video format, each set in a different year and each terrific as a stand-alone work." Our own Eugene Novikov had more to say.

Ajami grossed an average of $11,931 at three theaters, while Terribly Happy made $11,650. (The trailer for the latter can also be viewed elsewhere at Cinematical.) The reissue of Akira Kurosawa's epic Ran took in $10,245 at two theaters, an average of $5,123.