"Short Term 12" was easily the hottest film at this year's SXSW Film Festival, and now it belongs to Cinedigm.
The company has acquired all North American and Latin American distribution rights to the foster-care drama. It's a big get for Cinedigm, which is trying to rebrand itself as an indie and alternative content distributor and not simply a software and digital-screen provider, its former identity.
"Over the past few months we've picked up quite a few films, and most of them are great, but I am especially optimistic about this one," Vincent Scordino," Cinedigm's VP of theatrical acquisitions told TheWrap.
After two members of the company's acquisitions team saw the film in Austin, they immediately expressed that the movie was not just the best movie at the festival but a movie that would stand out at any festival.
"They said it can be transformative for the company," Vincent Scordino, Cinedigm's VP of theatrical acquisitions told TheWrap . "It's the kind of movie we talk about wanting to be known for and championing."
Cinedigm plans to release the film theatrically in late summer and will push the film for major film awards.
"Brie Larison is that good and Destin is that talented," Scordino said.
The film already has picked up some impressive hardware. "Short Term 12" swept the major prizes at the Austin, Texas-based film festival this month, capturing SXSW's dual grand jury and audience awards.
Destin Daniel Cretton’s second feature-length film is based on his experiences working at a foster-care facility.
The film centers on a young social worker (Brie Larson), who is forced to confront her own damaged past while she works with at-risk teens. Many of the supporting roles are played by unknown kids, but Larson is riding high after her film "The Spectacular Now" was a Sundance breakout.
Cretton told TheWrap that part of the key for him in terms of spinning his autobiography into fiction was writing a female lead character.
“It felt scary because I hadn’t written from a female perspective,” Cretton said
"It made every scene new — even some of the scenes that carried over from the short into the feature," he added.