Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA) has acquired rights to several international territories to this year's 2014 Sundance Film Festival opening night feature film, Whiplash, starring J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller. Territories acquired include: UK, Scandinavia, Benelux, Eastern Europe (ex CIS), Greece, South Africa, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Latin America.
The deal was made by SPWA's Michael Helfand, Jon Freedberg and Chan Phung and international sales agency Sierra/Affinity on behalf of Bold Films. Directed and written by Damien Chazelle (Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench), Whiplash is adapted from a short film that won Sundance's jury award for fiction in 2013 (also written and directed by Chazelle). Producers are Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, Michel Litvak and David Lancaster; with Jason Reitman, Gary Michael Walters and Couper Samuelson executive producing. Bold Films financed the movie.
Whiplash follows Andrew (Teller), a first-year college student as he begins his quest to become the core drummer of the top jazz orchestra in the country. Under the direction of a prestigious but borderline abusive instructor named Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), Andrew would do anything to become a famous musician. His commitment is put to the ultimate test when the unrelenting and eccentric band professor all but drives him to madness. Fletcher's extreme teaching methods rattle Andrew's faith in drumming...and in himself. In the end, the struggle is only worthwhile if Andrew is really the one-in-a-million talent that Fletcher believes him to be.
William Morris Endeavor (WME) is handling all domestic rights.