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Lionsgate gets Polley's 'Away from Her'

Sept. 14, 2006 at 8:36 PM

TORONTO, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Lionsgate won U.S. distribution rights to "Away from Her," directed by actress Sarah Polley, in one of the few bidding wars at the Toronto Film Festival.

The company paid $1 million to distribute the drama about a couple's struggles with Alzheimer's disease, Daily Variety reported.

The film, Polley's directorial debut, premiered Monday at the Toronto festival.

"It'll be both a critical and audience favorite, so our intention is to open it in the spring, let it play the entire summer, and then we'll have the DVD release in the fall," said Lionsgate President Tom Ortenberg. "And, if all goes well, that'll be well timed for an awards push."

Lionsgate followed the same strategy when it acquired "Crash" in Toronto two years ago. "Crash" won the Oscar for Best Picture in 2005.

"Away from Her" -- produced by Danny Iron, and starring Julie Christie and Michael Murphy -- is based on Alice Munro's short story, "The Bear Came Over the Mountain."

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