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IFC Hooks “Fish Tank”

IFC Hooks "Fish Tank"

IFC Films has acquired the U.S. rights to Andrea Arnold’s coming-of-age drama “Fish Tank.” The film – Arnold’s follow-up to her acclaimed debut “Red Road” – had its world premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, where it shared a special Jury Prize with Chan-Wook Park’s “Thirst.” It stars newcomer Katie Jarvis (profiled here by indieWIRE as the “discovery of Cannes”), as well as Michael Fassbender and Kierston Wareing.

“I am happy that Fish Tank has found a good American home with IFC and I am really looking forward to working with them,” Arnold said in a statement.

IFC Films is releasing Fish Tank via its IFC in Theaters platform which brings movies to on demand viewers at home the same day they premiere in theaters.

“We couldn’t be happier to be working with Andrea Arnold on one of the great discoveries of this year’s Cannes Film Festival,” Jonathan Sehring, President of IFC Entertainment said in a statement. “”Fish Tank’ is one of the most observant and beautifully executed coming of age stories we’ve seen in years and Katie Jarvis is a revelation in the lead role. This is the perfect film for all of our platforms.”

The deal for the film was negotiated by Arianna Bocco, VP of Acquisitions for IFC Films, with United Talent Agency and Jamie Carmichael of ContentFilm International. Andrea Arnold is represented by Matthew Bates at Sayle Screen Ltd. in the U.K. and Gersh in the U.S.

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Fish Tank is filled with moments that provide the viewer with a strong image of the world that these characters fill. I thought it was quite humourous seeing Mia and her sister watch TV while drinking and smoking in a room painted pink and with horsey stickers on the banister. As Mia, Jarvis is truly exceptional. Given Jarvis’ back story – she was seen by a casting director at a train station having a row with her boyfriend – it may not sound all that hard to act out scenes in which she exchanges insults with her sister like “cuntface” and “fuckface”, but the longer the film goes, the easier it becomes to see the sadness lurking beneath and the desperation and power that Jarvis has enforced on her character.
Andrea Arnold makes movies about British lower class woe that are actually worth telling. They are unlike any other and for this I am grateful. So many clearly talented directors have become misguided and think they must use their talent to tell harsh and ugly tales. Another director may have wanted Mia to become depressed and a strung out drunk like her mother, but I don’t think Arnold does. She could have easily made Mia miserable and made her life, and our viewing experience, a big joke, but she doesn’t. The final scenes, I think, are testament to this. When Arnold could have easily gone for one last humiliation – something a lesser director would have done under the guise of “telling it like it is!” – she pulls Mia out of it and instead gives her reason to go down another path.
Fish Tank is an incredibly important film and one that has continued to stir through my mind in the days since. It may be filmed in the traditional 4:3 ratio of television, but it is truly cinematic and it is a brilliant, wonderful movie.

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