Bron Studios film shakes up Sundance

Bacon and God's Wrath
Bron is one of four prodcos on The Birth of a Nation and two Canadian shorts pick up Sundance prizes. (Bacon & God's Wrath pictured.)

There is a Canadian connection to a reportedly record deal out of Sundance this week. 

B.C.’s Bron Studios is one of four production companies attached to The Birth of a Nation, which was picked up by Fox Searchlight for $17.5 million, according to multiple media reports. Other production companies attached to the U.S. film include Phantom Four, Mandalay Pictures and Tiny Giant Productions. Bron Studios’ managing director Aaron L. Gilbert served as a producer on the feature along with writer/director/star Nate Park, Kevin Turen, Jason Michael Berman and Preston L. Holmes. Frequent Bron collaborator Creative Wealth Media, out of Toronto, was also a financier on the project.

The drama, about a slave-preacher who leads an uprising, had its world bow at the Sundance Film Festival in the dramatic competition program to wide critical acclaim. The film is currently set for a wide release in 2016.

The deal for The Birth of a Nation was negotiated by Fox Searchlight’s EVP of business affairs Megan O’Brien and SVP of acquisitions and coproductions Ray Strache, with WME Global and Christian Simonds and Jared Bloch of Gray Krauss Stratford Sandler Des Rochers representing the filmmakers.

Outside of deal-making news, the Sundance Film Festival also named the winners of its short film competition early Wednesday, with two Canadian shorts earning prizes. Sol Friedman’s Bacon & God’s Wrath won the Sundance Short Film Jury Award for non-fiction, the festival announced Wednesday. The short features a 90-year-old Jewish woman as she reflects on her life as she gets ready to try bacon for the first time.

Canadian actor Grace Glowicki also picked up the Short Film Special Jury Award for Outstanding Performance for her work in the Canadian short Her Friend Adam. The short was written and directed by Ben Petrie, and shows what happens when a boyfriend’s jealous impulse spirals out of control.

Over at the Slamdance film festival, Saskatchewan-based filmmaker Dianne Ouellette also picked up a prize at the Kodak Super 8 Filmmaking challenge for her project Red is Dead. She was one of three winners of the global competition, which drew more than 530 submissions all shot on Kodak Super 8 cameras. Read more about her win here.