Over three years after it debuted at the Cannes Film Festival, Xavier Dolan’s first film “I Killed My Mother” is finally coming to US theaters. Kino Lorber has announced that has acquired all US rights to the film, ending a very long road to distribution.
When the film premiered in Cannes, few had heard of the then-20-year old Dolan. But he managed to steal headlines from Quentin Tarantino and Lars von Trier at the fest when “Mother” – after receiving an eight-minute standing ovation at its first screening – won every award it was eligible for in the Director’s Fortnight program.
The film had initially been picked up by Regent Releasing, but the company soon after fell on heard times when a $90 million lawsuit against them impacted some 100 library titles and unreleased acquisitions, including “Mother” (the film is oddly still noted as “coming soon” on the company’s website).
Many feared “Mother” might never get a US release, and Dolan kept busy with two follow-up features. “Laurence Anyways,” which debuted in Cannes last month and is still seeking distribution, and “Heartbeats,” so far his only film to be released in the US (last year via Sundance Selects).
When the latter screened in New York for the first time, Dolan made it clear he was not pleased with what occured with Regent via a letter that was read before the screening (he had been stranded in Montreal and could not attend). It read:
My first film (“I Killed My Mother”) was bought by a distributor of questionable professionalism who never released it and finally filed for bankruptcy, and now my second film is premiering during the snow storm of the century, which officially makes me an elite member of fuckmylife.com.
But it seems all is going to end well with “I Killed My Mother” (and perhaps Dolan will lose said elite membership). The film — which details the intensely volatile relationship between a sixteen-year old, Hubert (Dolan), and his mother, Chantale (Anne Dorval) — will receive a full theatrical release this fall, before being made available in all home video and VOD platforms.
“When we learned in Cannes that this stunning debut film by the then 20-year-old Xavier Dolan was newly available,” said Richard Lorber, “we jumped at the chance to pick it up. Having also seen his latest film at the Festival, it convinced us even more of his unique talent and the importance of finally bringing this brilliant first work to screens across the U.S.”
The deal was negotiated between Kino Lorber CEO Richard Lorber, Kino Lorber’s VP of Theatrical Distribution Gary Palmucci, and Sébastien Chesneau, the Head of International Sales at REZO.