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Film intelligence: Distributors keep on Sundancing

Every week there are dozens of film news stories. Every week, we read them all and bring you the five most important ones in the single most important blog post you’ll ever read (today [at this moment]).

1. Sundance Distributors Keep Picking their FAVORITEs

Our fairly complete Sundance acquisitions list is already fairly incomplete. The deals were closing fast and furious at the end of the festival, and in the intervening days, a few more films have signed on for distribution. The two biggest: the star-studded gambling comedy LAY THE FAVORITE featuring Bruce Willis, Rebecca Hall, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Vince Vaughn (sold to The Weinstein Company for $2 million), and the time travel comedy SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED featuring Mark Duplass, and Aubrey Plaza (sold to FilmDistrict for a seven figure sum). Sundance titles still distributorless include BACHELORETTE with Kirsten Dunst and Isla Fisher, SAVE THE DATE with Lizzy Caplan and Alison Brie, and THE HOUSE I LIVE IN, the 2012 Grand Jury Prize winner for Best U.S. Documentary. [The Hollywood Reporter]

2. Home of the (Not) Free, GASLAND of the Brave

Josh Fox, the Oscar-nominated documentary director of GASLAND, was arrested in Washington D.C. on Wednesday as he tried to film a public hearing on hydraulic fracturing. After he was processed and released, Fox released a statement that read, in part, “I was arrested today for exercising my First Amendment rights to freedom of the press on Capitol Hill. I was not expecting to be arrested for practicing journalism… As a filmmaker and journalist I have covered hundreds of public hearings, including Congressional hearings. It is my understanding that public speech is allowed to be filmed. Congress should be no exception. No one on Capitol Hill should regard themselves exempt from the Constitution.” “Nuts to that,” replied everyone on Capitol Hill. “You’re under arrest.” GASLAND 2 is going to be awesome. [Politico/Indiewire]

3. iTunes Makes a Dent in the Indie Film World

Former producer of the South by Southwest Film Festival and current (but about to be former) head of content at Cinetic’s FilmBuff Matt Dentler is joining Apple’s iTunes, where he’ll be the Indie Film Partner Manager. Dentler hasn’t spoken publicly about the position yet, but his hiring suggests iTunes, already a key component of indie distributors’ day-and-date VOD releases, is going to become an even bigger player in the world of independent film. [Deadline]

4. Ed Wood’s Latest Curtain Call

One of the highlights at the 2012 Slamdance Film Festival was a rare screening of a lost television pilot by notoriously bad filmmaker Edward D. Wood Jr. (GLEN OR GLENDA, PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE). Radio producer Jason Insalaco, inspired by a dead relative who’d worked with Wood, spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours tracking down an original print of the telefilm Final Curtain, then worked with his friend Jonathan Harris on a yearlong restoration. In true Ed Wood fashion though, there’s a shocking and slightly incompetent twist: Insalaco thought the film was lost, and that his copy might be the only one in existence. But a little investigative journalism by Charles Lyons at the Times turned up another print of Final Curtain at the UCLA Film & Television Archive. In Insalaco’s defense, he had passed that print by and never knew it… for it was from outer space!!! [The New York Times]

5. “Live from the This Space For Rent Theatre, it’s the 86th annual Academy Awards!”

Do you enjoy lavish, overproduced spectacles? Do you have $4 million lying around your house? You do? Then brother, have we got a deal for you! Photography company Eastman Kodak has fallen on hard times; now in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, they’re trying to void their contract with the Kodak Theatre, where they pay $4 million annually to hold the naming rights to the home of the Oscars. In turn, the Academy has yet to renew their own contract with the Venue Formerly Known as the Kodak Theatre — meaning after 2013, when their current agreement expires, we’re going to have a differently named home of the Oscars, one way or another. I think The Qwikster Auditorium has a nice ring to it, don’t you? [Reuters]