news Sundance 2023 Movie Deals So Far: Music Box Films Nabs ‘Other People’s Children’

It won’t hurt that the 2023 Sundance Film Festival will be back in-person in Park City for the first time since 2020, but this year’s fest is swimming with potential sales titles. Starry, English-language movies and those with either big financial backing or big-name executive producers can be found not just on the competition or premieres slates, but also across the World Cinema, NEXT, and Midnight sections. What’s more, the size of the lineup still isn’t quite at pre-pandemic levels, but just about 20 percent of the 99 films premiering at this year’s Sundance have already been pre-sold.

While the theatrical landscape is dicey for any film, not just the indie ones that thrive on being crowd pleasers inside the Eccles, buyers are already getting a jump on everything the festival has to offer. With that in mind, we’re tracking all of the year’s acquisitions out of Sundance below.

Films Acquired Ahead of the Festival​

Title: “Other People’s Children”
Section: Spotlight
Distributor: Music Box Films

Music Box Films on Tuesday, January 10 acquired the U.S. rights to Rebecca Zlotowski’s family drama “Other People’s Children,” which first premiered at Venice in competition and will make its U.S. premiere at Sundance on January 20. The film stars Virginie Efira, Roschdy Zem, and Chiara Mastroianni, and IndieWire out of Venice called it “delightfully French” and praised Efira’s performance. She plays a high school teacher who falls in love with a man and soon grows a close bond to his 4-year-old daughter, making her grapple with her own ambitions with motherhood.

Music Box Films is planning a release for “Other People’s Children” in theaters and on home entertainment platforms this spring.

Title: “My Animal”
Section: Midnight
Distributor: Paramount

“My Animal” is a horror movie and romance starring Bobbi Salvör Menuez (“Under the Silver Lake”) and Amandla Stenberg (“The Hate U Give”) as two teens in a small town who fall for each other, only for one girl’s growing desires to slowly clash with her darker animal instincts within (translation: she’s a werewolf). Director Jacqueline Castel has collaborated with everyone from John Carpenter, Jim Jarmusch, and David Lynch and should be able to go beyond the traditional genre beats. Jae Matthews (“The Runner”) wrote the script.

Paramount Worldwide Acquisition Group picked up the worldwide rights (excluding Canada) to “My Animal” ahead of the festival, though whether the film will be theatrical, released through Paramount+, or another channel has yet to be determined.

Title: “The Deepest Breath”
Section: Premieres
Distributor: Netflix

From “Free Solo” to free diving. Irish filmmaker Laura McGann directs this documentary about a champion freediver training to break a world record with the help of an expert safety diver. The film explores not just the silent depths of the ocean but the depths of the emotional bond formed between the two divers.

Netflix collaborated on “The Deepest Breath” with A24 alongside Motive Films, Ventureland, and RAW, the latter of which was behind Netflix’s documentary hit “The Tinder Swindler.”

Films Arriving with Distribution​

Title: “Infinity Pool”
Section: Midnight
Distributor: Neon and Topic

Brandon Cronenberg, son to David Cronenberg, makes his return to Sundance with his follow-up to “Possessor.” Early buzz suggests that he delivers. This Midnight title stars Alexander Skarsgard and Mia Goth and follows a couple on an all-inclusive resort vacation that reveals a perverse subculture of surreal horrors and hedonistic tourism after a fatal accident.

Neon and Topic came into the festival with the rights for “Infinity Pool” and promptly released a twisted and surreal trailer, but have not set a release date.

Title: “Still: A Michael J. Fox Story”
Section: Premieres
Distributor: Apple TV+

Davis Guggenheim’s first documentary feature in seven years follows “Back to the Future” icon Michael J. Fox in a film that charts this Canadian kid’s meteoric rise to stardom and how his life was altered by his Parkinson’s diagnosis at age 29. Guggenheim’s telling of Fox’s story is described via the festival’s description as a playful and humorous account of an “eternal optimist” dealing with the unthinkable.

Apple TV+ is releasing “Still” and acquired the rights to it back in April.

Title: “Landscape with Invisible Hand”
Section: Premieres
Distributor: MGM

Director Cory Finley (“Thoroughbreds,” “Bad Education”) makes his return to Sundance with an adaptation of M.T. Anderson’s National Book Award winner. It’s a darkly comedic sci-fi and coming-of-age story about two teenagers who have to livestream their courtship to curious alien invaders as a means of making money and scraping by an existence after the advanced alien technology has made all but the wealthiest humans obsolete.

MGM’s United Artists Releasing is distributing the film backed by Annapurna and Brad Pitt’s Plan B, and it also stars Tiffany Haddish, Michael Gandolfini, William Jackson Harper, and Clifton Collins Jr.


“You Hurt My Feelings”

courtesy of Sundance Institute/A24

Title: “You Hurt My Feelings”
Section: Premieres
Distributor: A24

Julia Louis-Dreyfus reunites with her “Enough Said” director Nicole Holofcener for this dramedy about a successful New York novelist who is offended and devastated to learn that her husband of decades doesn’t like her planned memoir. The film has a rare comedic turn for Tobias Menzies and also stars Michaela Watkins and Arian Moyaed. A24 is distributing the film.

Title: “Cassandro”
Section: Premieres
Distributor: Amazon Studios

Gael García Bernal stars as a gay luchador tired of losing and tired of hiding behind a mask during his wrestling matches who manages to break barriers within the lucha libre circuit by developing an eccentric “exótico” character that takes crowds by storm. Roger Ross Williams, who is best known for his documentary “Life, Animated” that played at Sundance in 2016, is making his narrative feature debut on “Cassandro.” Amazon Studios is releasing the film.

Title: “Judy Blume Forever”
Section: Premieres
Distributor: Amazon Studios

Davina Pardo and Leah Wolchok (“Very Semi-Serious”) co-direct this documentary about one of literature’s most influential children’s authors, Judy Blume. In addition to profiling the author, it also shows fans who share heartfelt letters that they wrote to the author over the years.

Amazon is releasing the film that is produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Documentaries.

Title: “L’immensita”
Section: Spotlight
Distributor: Music Box Films

Penélope Cruz stars in this ’70s period drama set in Rome as a mother who forms a deeper bond with her teenage child who is just beginning to discover their transgender identity. The film is the first movie from Italian director Emanuele Crialese in 11 years, and early reviews have praised Cruz’s performance and its Italian pop music soundtrack.

Music Box Films is releasing “L’immensita” in the U.S., while Warner Bros. Italy has the Italian distribution rights. It first made its premiere at the Venice Film Festival.

Title: “A Thousand and One”
Section: U.S. Dramatic
Distributor: Focus Features

Those in Sundance circles have long anticipated “A Thousand and One,” which is the feature debut of a Sundance Lab alumnus A.V. Rockwell. The film is about a mother bouncing around from shelter to shelter in ‘90s New York who kidnaps her own 6-year-old son from a foster home and attempts to build a new life together. The film spans years and is hyped to feature a star-making turn from the musician and singer Teyana Taylor.

Focus Features has already set a theatrical release date for March 31, 2023 for the film.


“Rye Lane”

Searchlight Pictures

Title: “Rye Lane”
Section: Premieres
Distributor: Searchlight Pictures

Though it’s in the splashier Premieres section, “Rye Lane” is an under-the-radar feature directorial debut of UK filmmaker Raine Allen-Miller and is a rom-com about two 20-somethings who pair up and cavort around London after they each have to confront some awkward recent break-ups. Searchlight Pictures is releasing.

Title: “All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt”
Section: U.S. Dramatic
Distributor: A24

“All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt” is the feature directorial debut of poet Raven Jackson, who manages to bend the cinematic medium in surprisingly poetic and lyrical ways. The film spans decades in charting the growth, loves, and heartbreaks of a Black woman in Mississippi from her childhood to adult years.

The film is one of two movies A24 is bringing to Sundance, but this one has the backing of Barry Jenkins and his Pastel banner.

Title: “The Amazing Maurice”
Section: Kids
Distributor: Sky Cinema

The animated “The Amazing Maurice” is based on a book by the same name and follows a street-smart cat who along with a gang of rats develops a moneymaking scheme.

Toby Genkel directs, and Emilia Jones, Hugh Laurie, Himesh Patel, and Gemma Arterton make up the voice cast. The Sky Original will hit theaters February 3.

Title: “The Eight Mountains”
Section: Spotlight
Distributor: Sideshow Releasing and Janus Films

Felix van Groeningen (“Beautiful Boy”) and Charlotte Vandermeersch, both Sundance alums, direct this drama that’s set in Italy and is based on a novel about a boy from the city visiting a tiny mountain village over the summer.

Sideshow Releasing and Janus Films acquired “The Eight Mountains” after it won the Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Title: “Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields”
Section: Premieres
Distributor: ABC News on Hulu

Named for her breakout role when she was just 12, “Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields” has been described as a revealing and critical documentary about a teen model and icon. Lana Wilson, who most recently got some intimate details out of Taylor Swift for her doc “Miss Americana,” directs the film.

The two-part documentary will air on Hulu via ABC News.

Title: “20 Days in Mariupol”
Section: World Cinema Documentary
Distributor: Frontline/PBS

A timely news documentary about the Russian invasion in Ukraine, Ukrainian filmmaker and AP News video journalist Mstyslav Chernov was up close and personal during the early days of the attacks on the city of Mariupol as one of the last international journalists to flee the country. Some of Chernov’s footage should already be familiar around the world and in some cases has directly refuted Russian misinformation.

“20 Days in Mariupol” is part of a larger editorial collaboration between Frontline and AP, and the film will be released by PBS Distribution following its Sundance premiere.

Title: “birth/rebirth”
Section: Midnight
Distributor: Shudder

A new take on the classic Frankenstein story, “birth/rebirth” is about a single mother and a mortician who form a bond after they manage to re-animate a 6-year-old girl from the dead. The psychological horror film is directed by Laura Moss, and it stars Marin Ireland, A.J. Lister, and the young Judy Reyes in a breakout turn.

“birth/rebirth” is a Shudder original film that only kicked off production in September of this year, and the horror streamer will release it in North America in 2023.

Title: “Little Richard: I Am Everything”
Section: U.S. Documentary
Distributor: CNN Films/HBO Max

Lisa Cortés (“Precious,” “All In: The Fight for Democracy”) directs this documentary about the rock icon Little Richard but approaches his legacy in the context of Blackness and queerness, as well as his own personal identity as it relates to his faith and Christianity.

“I Am Everything” is a Day One movie at Sundance, but it’s also one of six of the final long-form movies to come out of CNN Films that were commissioned from outside producers and filmmakers. It’s slated to air on the news network later in 2023 and will also be available on HBO Max.

Title: “Murder in Big Horn”
Section: Premieres
Distributor: Showtime

Sundance will present all three episodes of this Showtime docuseries in which each episode explores the missing person case of an Indigenous woman or girl who has disappeared from a reservation in the Big Horn region of Montana. Each episode is told from the perspective of the Native families and journalists involved in the case and who are still grieving. Razelle Benally and Matthew Galkin direct the series.


“Polite Society”

Focus Features

Title: “Polite Society”
Section: Midnight
Distributor: Focus Features

A different kind of Midnight movie, “Polite Society” is a mashup of comedy, horror, and martial arts movie and is also the feature directorial debut of “We Are Lady Parts” creator Nida Manzoor. The film follows an Indian girl who stages an elaborate heist in order to save her older sister from her upcoming marriage.

Focus Features will release “Polite Society” in theaters on April 28, 2023.

Title: “Victim/Suspect”
Section: U.S. Documentary
Distributor: Netflix

Nancy Schwartzman directs this documentary about a journalist investigating numerous cases of women reporting sexual assault to the police who are then accused of fabricating their stories and are charged with crimes of their own.

Netflix partnered on the feature with the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Title: “The Stroll”
Section: U.S. Documentary
Distributor: HBO

“The Stroll” takes audiences back to New York in the 1990s and tells the history of the city’s Meatpacking District, specifically from the perspective of transgender sex workers. Its co-director Kristen Lovell walked the streets in that time herself and is a long-time trans activist able to bring an intimate, personal touch to the film.

HBO Documentaries will air the film both on HBO and on HBO Max following its Sundance premiere.