All it took was a 12-minute clip of Julianne Moore & Ellen Page’s new LGBT rights film FREEHELD to send studio execs into an all-night bidding war in a Berlin conference room for the sale of the film’s North American rights. The bidding war lasted until the break of dawn with Lionsgate coming out on top in a sale that is reportedly in the “high seven figures” range according to sources. FREEHELD tells the true story of policewoman Laurel Hester and her fight against the Ocean County, New Jersey Board of Chosen Freeholders to give her earned pension benefits to her partner, Stacie. On February 24, 2008, the documentary of the same chronicling Laurel and Stacie’s story won the Academy Award for Best Short Documentary, and also won the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007. Other bidders in last week’s Berlin negotiations included Focus Features, Sony Pictures Classics, and Netflix, among others. Directed by Peter Sollett with a screenplay by Ron Nyswayner, the film also stars Steve Carell, Michael Shannon, and Luke Grimes. FREEHELD was produced by Ellen Page, as well as Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher, Kelly Bush, Stern, Richard Fischoff, Duncan Montgomery, Jack Selby, Cynthia Wade, and Phil Hunt and Compton Ross of Head Gear Films. You can watch the trailer for the Academy Award-winning documentary below, and learn more about the 2007 doc at FREEHELD.com.
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