PenelopeThere's a certain satisfaction in reading about distribution deals for independent films that have caught your interest -- the smaller the film, the greater the satisfaction. Suddenly, there's a real possibility that you might actually get to see the film without having to live in New York or LA. And if you did catch the film at a film festival, and loved it, now you can persuade all your friends to see it too, when the movie arrives in theaters or on DVD. (If you hated it, well, then you can boast to everyone that you saw it already, that was soooo last week, and it's not worth bothering over ... and that's a whole other type of pleasure.)

When Kim reviewed Penelope (pictured right) at TIFF, I was intrigued and hoped I'd get a chance to see the movie. Fortunately, IFC and The Weinstein Company have jointly purchased the North American rights to the film produced by Reese Witherspoon and starring Christina Ricci and James McAvoy. Kim was worried that the movie had no clear audience, but I'm sure that IFC and the Weinsteins will find one. IFC is handling the theatrical distribution, and TWC will handle TV and video rights. My only worry is that Penelope seems to share certain superficial story elements with Gretchen, an Austin-shot feature I enjoyed at SXSW, and I hope that this buy doesn't harm Gretchen's chances at distribution.

In addition, Zeitgeist films has acquired the U.S. distribution rights for the film Into Great Silence, a documentary about the Carthusian Order monastery in the French Alps. Cinematical interviewed the film's director, Philip Groening, at Sundance in January. Zeitgeist faces a challenge: marketing a nearly three-hour documentary that contains almost no dialogue, because the filmmakers respected the monastery's vows of silence. (Perhaps they could persuade Morgan Freeman to record narration? I hope not.) The distributor is planning a release timeframe of next February or March.

categories Movies, Cinematical