'The Killer Inside Me' secures distribution deal
BY GENE TRIPLETT
The head of the state Film and Music Office said the last-minute sale of a controversial made-in-Oklahoma motion picture during the final weekend of the Sundance Film Festival bodes well for the future of the Sooner state’s movie industry, and another major feature is scheduled to start shooting here in April.
Scenes of graphic violence in “The Killer Inside Me” reportedly shocked many audience members during its premiere screening last week at the Park City, Utah, event, and some critics and industry observers were predicting the film’s producers would have a hard time landing a major distributor for it.But IFC Films stepped in on Saturday and paid about $1.5 million for the North American distribution rights to the film, which stars Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson and Casey Affleck, and was shot in May and June on locations in Guthrie, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Enid and Cordell.The crime thriller, directed by Michael Winterbottom (“A Mighty Heart”), is based on a 1952 novel by Anadarko-born pulp fiction writer Jim Thompson, about a West Texas deputy sheriff (played by Affleck), whose dull exterior masks the mind of a sadistic serial killer.IFC is known for acquiring controversial films, having purchased the rights to Lars Von Trier’s “Antichrist” at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.”Well, it is good news,” state Film and Music Office Director Jill Simpson said Monday of the film’s distribution deal.”I’m excited that it’s going to play in theaters either late summer or early fall. And I know that they’re headed to the Berlin Film Festival next. They’ve already sold some of the foreign territories, so I’m sure they’re going to continue to close deals.”Yes, it’s great to have Oklahoma locations out there and to be able to promote our (tax credit incentive) program with a film that’s actually playing in theaters, so it’s a great opportunity for us,” Simpson said.Law attracts industryA state law that took effect July 1 increased the program from a rebate of up to 15 percent on production expenditures in Oklahoma to 35 percent. The incentive program is capped at $5 million a year.Simpson said the next major film to be shot in Oklahoma will be directed by Nick Cassavetes, from a script he co-wrote with his actress wife, Oklahoma City native Heather Wahlquist. Wahlquist also is set to star in the film, tentatively titled “Yellow,” according to the Internet Movie Database.Simpson said the Cassavetes’ film begins shooting in April, but locations still are being scouted. She described the film as a “character study of a woman who’s a schoolteacher, dealing with issues in her life.”"So it’s A-list talent behind the camera,” Simpson said. “We continue to get inquiries and applications from really top-notch independent film productions, which is perfect for our program. When we have a pot of $5 million a year, we’re really geared toward the independents.”
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