Some big purchases were recently made – first,  Anchor Bay acquired the rights to the SXSW 2012 Midnight selection Girls Against Boys, which resulted in one of the first film distribution deals at the festival. Directed by Austin Chick (XX/XY) and produced by Aimee Shieh and Clay Floren, the thriller follows Shea, a 21-year old student who, after a brutal sexual assault, teams up with fellow nightclub bartender Lu for a weekend of “one beautifully staged execution after another.” Danielle Panabaker (Friday the 13th, The Crazies) and Nicole LaLiberte (Dinner for Schmucks, Kaboom) play the murderous duo in the rape revenge film that has already been described as “controversial.” [Deadline]

And we won’t have to wait long to see their killing spree – it was confirmed by Kevin Kasha, executive vice president of acquisitions and co-productions for Anchor Bay, that the film will be released this year as part of their “2012 line-up.”

Girls Against Boys wasn’t the only film picked up at the festival – Image Entertainment nabbed another thriller, The Tall Man, and to any fellow Phantasm fans out there, please don’t get too excited. It’s a creeper about a mysterious child abductor and it stars Jessica Biel (New Years Eve, The A-Team). Written and directed by Pascal Laugier (Martyrs), and produced by Clément Miserez, Kevin DeWalt, Jean-Charles Levy and Scott Kennedy, the film has been making the festival rounds, premiering earlier this year at the Berlin Film Festival before making its U.S. debut yesterday at SXSW. See the synopsis below:


A darkness hovers upon the town of Cold Rock. Children have gone missing over the years leaving neither a clue, nor a witness. Superstitious locals talk of “The Tall Man”, a legendary, mysterious dark figure who takes children away never to be seen again. Julia (Biel) is a nurse living in Cold Rock who doesn’t believe in legends. That is, until one night, she wakes with an eerie feeling only to find her son’s bed empty. Frantic, she rushes downstairs where she stops dead in her tracks – a huge dark figure stands in the entrance holding her son, David. Driven by pure instinct, Julia rushes after them willing to do whatever it takes to get her son back. The chase is on and with it, the quest for answers. Who is the Tall Man? And what has become of the children?

Besides Biel, the film also features Jodelle Ferland (The Cabin in the Woods, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse), Stephen McHattie (Immortals, 2012), William B. Davis (The X-Files, Passengers), Samantha Ferris (Along Came a Spider) and Katherine Ramdeen (The World, The Flesh & The Devil). No word yet on a release date for The Tall Man, but we’ll keep you updated.

And on the heels of The Artist‘s success, another film about the silent film era has found a distributor. BY Experience, a company  that specializes in alternative digital content and live-event theatrical releases, will screen Barrymore, a filmed performance of Christopher Plummer‘s Tony-winning one-man show about the often turbulent  life of early screen legend John Barrymore. The film was being shopped around after its premiere at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival in hopes of being considered for the Oscar race, but any acquisition was delayed after its producer, Garth Drabinsky, was given a five-year prison sentence for fraud and forgery. Luckily, Plummer had Beginners, so it all worked out in the end.

Barrymore will open in select theaters throughout the U.S. this October.

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