Hours before writer-director Damien Chazelle’s “Whiplash” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, Sony Pictures Worldwide bought international rights to the drama about a jazz drummer (Miles Teller) and his ruthless music teacher (J.K. Simmons).
The deal, according to a source close to the transaction and one of the first of the festival, does not include rights to distribute the film in North America.
The movie is expected to be one of the hottest acquisition titles for U.S. markets at this year’s festival, which runs from Thursday to Jan. 26. The exact terms and territories of the Sony deal were not immediately available.
Financed for $3.3 million by Bold Films, “Whiplash” is a feature-length version of an 18-minute short film of the same name, which won a top award at last year’s Sundance.
The 28-year-old Chazelle recast the role of the drummer from the short, and shot and edited the feature in about 10 weeks in order to make Sundance’s deadlines.
The movie follows the relationship between the talented drummer and his autocratic music instructor, who believes only in tearing down his students to create the next Charlie Parker.
“Whiplash” will kick off the festival Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Eccles Theater in Park City, Utah.