Two Irish movies cause bidding wars at Sundance Festival

The Guard and Knuckle both find buyers at Sundance

It has been a successful year for Irish film at the Sundance Film Festival which is taking place this week. The comedy feature THE GUARD starring Brendan Gleeson and the documentary KNUCKLE have wooed critics and buyers alike with both receiving critical acclaim and making substantial international sales.

After four days of negotiations and a bidding war, Sony Picture Classics has closed a major deal for US and Latin American rights to John Michael McDonagh’s THE GUARD after the film received rave reviews from pundits following its world premiere at the festival. The film has now sold to almost every territory in the world. Securing a large US sale to such a major distributor has been the final coup for the film, which will be seen by international audiences throughout 2011.

Revolver Entertainment snapped up the Irish and U.K. rights for Ian Palmer’s documentary KNUCKLE while ContentFilm International bought all foreign rights (excluding the UK) and will sell the documentary at the European Film Market at the Berlinale next month. The film should now see a UK/Irish cinema release later this year.

The film which follows an epic 12-year journey into the world of an Irish gypsy community and their brutal bare-knuckle fighting lives has been the talk of the festival, particularly with industry players vying for remake rights. On Monday, HBO neared a deal which would see Rough House Pictures and the documentary’s producers Rise Films remake KNUCKLE into a TV drama series for the popular US channel.

The Irish short film SMALL CHANGE directed by Cathy Brady and the Irish-Scottish co-production PERFECT SENSE are also screening all week.