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Sundance Film Festival
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The staff of The Salt Lake Tribune covers the Sundance Film Festival, on the streets of Utah and beyond.

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Quadriplegic Mark O'Brien (John Hawkes, right) confides in Father Brendan (William H. Macy) in a scene from "The Sessions."
After Monday's screening, 'The Surrogate' scores a deal

"The Surrogate," which premiered Monday in Sundance's U.S. Dramatic Competition category, has been bought by Fox Searchlight Pictures, the company announced this morning.

Company presidents Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula praised director Ben Lewin's "touching, uplifting look at one man’s desire to experience life to the fullest," in a statement, lauding "the brave and indelible performances by John Hawkes, Helen Hunt and William H. Macy."

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The audience at Monday's premiere screening offered two rare standing ovations at the Q-and-A afterwards, according to Tribune movie critic Sean P. Means

In the film, John Hawkes plays the journalist and poet Mark O'Brien, who contracted polio as a child and spent most of his life in an iron lung. The movie employs a blend of light comedy and touching drama to depict how O'Brien, in the course of researching an article about the sex lives of the disabled, worked with a sex surrogate (played by Helen Hunt) to lose his virginity.

Fox Searchlight, who distributed movies such as "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Little Miss Sunshine," purchased worldwide distribution rights for "The Surrogate."

— The Salt Lake Tribune



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