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John Cho, Debra Messing Thriller ‘Search’ Sells to Sony Worldwide for $5 Million

Sundance 2018: Aneesh Chaganty wrote and directed the film

Sony Worldwide Acquisitions has bought the worldwide rights to Aneesh Chaganty’s thriller “Search,” an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.

According to the individual, the film sold for $5 million.

Chaganty’s feature directorial debut, which premiered this weekend at Sundance, stars John Cho and Debra Messing.

Chaganty, who co-wrote the script with Sev Ohanian, became an internet sensation for creating a 2-minute short film, a Google Glass spot titled “Seeds.” The film garnered more than 1 million YouTube views in 24 hours.

The film follows David (Cho), a father who searches for his missing teenage daughter and uses her online platform on her computer for help. The audience sees everything unfold on screen, whether it’s a smart phone or a computer.

The film was produced by Timur Bekmambetov, Ohanian, Adam Sidman and Natalie Qasabian. Ana Liza Muravina, Maria Zatulovskaya and Igor Tsay are executive producers.

Chaganty was part of TheWrap’s Industry Panel at Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, where industry experts spoke about the power of digital media and how it affects the independent film market.

Veteran studio executive Joe Pichirallo, UTA Agent Bec Smith, Global Head of YouTube TV Originals Marketing Angela Courtin and YouTuber Anna Akana also participated.

“Search” screened in the NEXT section at the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday night. This marks the third big acquisition for SPWA at the festival — it has also acquired the international rights to Nick Offerman’s “Hearts Beat Loud” and Debra Granik’s “Leave No Trace.”

CAA and Endeavor Content repped the filmmakers.