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In their first 2011 Sundance Film Festival acquisition, Focus Features has picked up worldwide rights to writer-director Dee Rees’ ‘Pariah.’ Pariah screened in the U.S. Dramatic Competition category and featured a cast that includes Adepero Oduye, Pernell Walker, Kim Wayans, Charles Parnell, and Aasha Davis.

At the club, the music thumps, go-go dancers twirl, shorties gyrate on the dance floor while studs play it cool, and adorably naive 17-year-old Alike takes in the scene with her jaw dropped in amazement. Meanwhile, her buddy Laura, in between macking the ladies and flexing her butch bravado, is trying to help Alike get her cherry popped. This is Alike’s first world. Her second world is calling on her cell to remind her of her curfew. On the bus ride home to Brooklyn, Alike sheds her baseball cap and polo shirt, puts her earrings back in, and tries to look like the feminine, obedient girl her conservative family expects.

With a spectacular sense of atmosphere and authenticity, Pariah takes us deep and strong into the world of an intelligent butch teenager trying to find her way into her own. Debut director Dee Rees leads a splendid cast and crafts a pitch-perfect portrait that stands unparalleled in American cinema. | Sundance Film Festival

As a bonus, the acquisition includes a deal for Rees to write a screenplay for Focus Features, that she would also direct.

Focus Features CEO James Schamus said, “Dee Rees has made a debut film that celebrates with astonishing artistry the journey of a young woman who simply never gives up on the power of love. We’re thrilled to join her on this next step of a remarkable journey.”

“We’re thrilled to be working with Focus Features. They’re such smart marketers and they love movies, so that we knew Focus was the perfect home for Pariah. We are excited for the film to reach the broadest audience possible,” said Ms. Rees.

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