Sundance Film Festival News

Whiplash, Starring Miles Teller & J.K. Simmons, Becomes 2nd Sundance Pick-Up

Source: Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions
January 17, 2014

The 2014 Sundance Film Festival just kicked things off last night with its Opening Night Galas and hot on the heels of Magnolia and Paramount grabbing the distribution rights to Joe Swanberg's Happy Christmas, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA) has bought the rights to several international territories for Damien Chazelle's opening night film Whiplash, starring Miles Teller (Footloose) and J.K. Simmons. It will be distributed in North America by Sony Pictures Classics.

Extended from Chazelle's previous short film of the same name, here is the official plot summary:

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.

A couple of quick quotes from Twitter following the film's premiere:

Time Out New York's Joshua Rothkopf called the movie "fierce, defiantly likable" in his review.

The Hollywood Reporter has also given it a favorable review, saying it "drums up a warm reception."

Variety's review says that "Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons make a terrific duo."

After the premiere, Peter Sciretta of /Film tweeted: Jk Simmons and Miles Teller turned jazz band drumming into an intense thriller in Whiplash, opening film of #Sundance

while Matt Patches tweeted: Damien Chazelle's Whiplash destroyed me. Percussive subject, percussive score, percussive cinema. Awesome. #Sundance2014.

You can read the official press release from SPWA's acquisition below and check out six production stills from the movie below that:

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.







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