Push Took Top Dramatic Prizes at Sundance, But Still No Distribution

push-lee-daniels Earlier this week, the 25th Sundance Film Festival came to a close. Despite the lack of distribution offers relative to years past, there were many notable films that will come out of this festival, to a theater near you. Many of those distribution deals will include the top films from the dramatic competition. Humpday, Bronson, and In the Loop were all well received by audiences and critics, but one narrative rose to the top. It was so good, that it received three awards from the festival. Push: Based on a novel by Sapphire earned the Grand Jury Prize: US Dramatic, as well as, the Audience Award: US Dramatic. Due to the striking performance of Mo'Nique, the film also took home a Special Jury Prize for Acting. push-gabourey-sidibe [excerpt from Sundance.org] With sheer audacity and utter authenticity, director Lee Daniels tackles Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire and creates an unforgettable film that sets a new standard for cinema of its kind. Precious Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) is a high-school girl with nothing working in her favor. She is pregnant with her father’s child—for the second time. She can’t read or write, and her schoolmates tease her for being fat. Her home life is a horror, ruled by a mother (Mo’Nique) who keeps her imprisoned both emotionally and physically. Precious’s instincts tell her one thing: if she’s ever going to break from the chains of ignorance, she will have to dig deeply into her own resources. Don’t be misled—Push is not a film wallowing in the stillness of depression; instead, it vibrates with the kind of energy derived only from anger and hope. The entire cast are amazing; they carry out a firestorm of raw emotion. Daniels has drawn from them inimitable performances that will rivet you to your seat and leave you too shocked to breathe. If you passed Precious on the street, you probably wouldn’t notice her. But when her story is revealed, as Daniels does in this courageous film, you are left with an indelible image of a young woman who—with creativity, humor, and ferocity—finds the strength to turn her life around. Even as the awards were garnered on this film, there were no takers on the distribution end. In fact, at the time of this writing, Daniels (who is also the film's producer) is still in search of distribution.  It was rumored that Lionsgate may pick up the flick, but unfortunately, it did not go through.  It is very surprising that a film, as good as this one, is still sitting on the shelf. In an economic climate as sobering as this one, there weren't the quick, Little Miss Sunshine, deals being offered for movies at this year's Sundance. The silver lining, though, is that there was more focus on film than deals.  Although, with some big names on the cast, like Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz, could Daniels be seeking out more money than distributors are willing to offer? Even if that is the case, I suspect that the film will get the distribution deal it deserves. When it does, do yourself a favor, and go see this film! In fact, buy two tickets and take someone with you!

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