According to The Hollywood Reporter, as the 2006 Sundance Film Festival wound down, a final flurry of acquisition activity saw ThinkFilm take worldwide rights to Ryan Fleck's drama Half Nelson; Roadside Attractions and Samuel Goldwyn Films jointly acquire North American rights for mid-six figures to comedian-turned-writer-director Bob Goldthwait's provocative relationship comedy Stay; and Bauer Martinez Distribution tied up final details on its acquisition of North American rights to Finn Taylor's comedy The Darwin Awards.
Half Nelson, which premiered in the festival's Dramatic Competition section, stars Ryan Gosling as an idealistic young junior high school teacher in New York who befriends a young girl, newcomer Shareeka Epps, after she discovers his crack addiction. It was purchased for less than $1 million plus a hefty percentage of the gross for the filmmakers, said sources close to the negotiations. "The deal was based on their passion for the film", producer Jamie Patricof said. "They support fresh filmmaking voices and daring films like 'The Aristocrats.' "