A24 has acquired the U.S. and Chinese Distribution rights to “Menashe,” which premiered on January 23 in the Sundance Film Festival’s NEXT section. The father-son drama was shot in secret within the New York Hasidic community in Borough Park, Brooklyn.
Loosely based on the life of actor Menashe Lustig, the film follows a loving but hapless single father trying to maintain custody of his son in a culture that requires a mother in every household. First-time feature director Joshua Z. Weinstein wrote the script with Alex Lipschultz and Musa Syeed after working as a documentarian and cinematographer. The movie is one of the first films to be performed almost entirely in Yiddish in nearly 70 years.
“Our cast took an extraordinary risk stepping outside the confines of their community to take part in this film,” Weinstein said in a statement. “[O]ur team couldn’t be more excited to collaborate with the daring A24 to release this unique movie.”
A24 is planning a theatrical release for later this year. The film marks the company’s first foreign-language acquisition.
“Our entire company has fallen in love with this magical and beautiful film,” A24 said in a statement. “Filmmaker Joshua Z Weinstein has done an incredible job of presenting the movie’s unique setting with great authenticity and fresh insights, but at the same time, this is a film whose warmth, tenderness, and heart-stirring depiction of family and love will resonate with audiences everywhere.”
“Menashe” was produced by Weinstein, Alex Lipschultz, Traci Carlson, Danny Finkelman and Yoni Brook. Danelle Eliav, Adam Margules, Chris Columbus and Eleanor Columbus served as executive producers, while David Hansen and Johnny Mac served as co-executive producers.
The deal was brokered by A24 and Charlotte Mickie of Mongrel International, which acted as the international sales agent for the film.