One of the most significant deals announced at this week’s European Film Market in Berlin is the one that Sony Pictures Classics has signed for a multi-territory deal with The Exchange, a new sales outfit headed by Brain O’Shea, for HIGHER GROUND, the directorial debut of actress Vera Farmiga (UP IN THE AIR). Under the deal, Sony will take rights in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe as well as France, the U.K., Germany, Italy, Benelux, Scandinavia, Spain and Portugal for the drama. India and South Africa are also included in the agreement. Based on the memoir This Dark World from screenwriter Carolyn S. Briggs, HIGHER GROUND is set in a tight-knit spiritual community which is thrown out of whack when one of its members starts to question her faith. Farmiga both stars and directs, as well as contributed to the script. The film received good reviews during its North American bow, but was not a major success story at the box office. O’Shea’s new shingle is representing a number of interesting titles in Berlin, including MAGIC MAGIC starring Michael Cera, Juno Temple and Sandina Moreno (MARIA FULL OF GRACE), with Sebastian Silva (THE MAID) attached to direct. Christine Vachon, Mike White and Frida Torresblanco are producing the film which very likely will show up at next year’s Sundance Film Festival.
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