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Film Acquisition Rundown: IFC Buys ‘Rebel in the Rye,’ Gunpowder & Sky Grabs ‘Little Boxes’ and More

Keep up with the wild and wooly world of indie film acquisitions with our weekly Rundown of everything that’s been picked up around the globe.

“Rebel in the Rye”

Keep up with the wild and wooly world of indie film acquisitions with our weekly Rundown of everything that’s been picked up around the globe. Check out last week’s Rundown here.

– IFC Films has picked up North American distribution rights to the J. D. Salinger drama “Rebel in the Rye,” which stars Nicholas Hoult as J.D. Salinger. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. It will receive a theatrical release in the fall of 2017.

The film was written and directed by Danny Strong, and follows the early years of Salinger’s storied career. It also stars Kevin Spacey, Sarah Paulson and Zoey Deutch. The news was first reported by Variety.

– Gunpowder & Sky Distribution has acquired Rob Meyer’s “Little Boxes,” with a theatrical release set for April 14. Written by Annie J. Howell, the film stars Melanie Lynskey, Nelsan Ellis, Armani Jackson, Oona Laurence and Janeane Garofalo. The film premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival.

Per its official synopsis: “It’s the summer before 6th grade, and Clark (Jackson) is the new biracial kid in a very white town. Discovering that to be cool he needs to act ‘more black’, he fumbles to meet expectations. Meanwhile, his urban intellectual parents Mack (Ellis) and Gina (Lynskey) try to adjust to small-town living. Accustomed to life in New York, the tight-knit family is ill-prepared for the drastically different set of obstacles that their new community presents. They soon find themselves struggling to understand themselves and each other in this new context.”

– Film and TV distributer FilmRise has announced that is has acquired exclusive North American distribution rights to Tonislav Hristov’s “The Good Postman.” The documentary most recently screened at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition, and will be available to stream later this year on Amazon Prime Video.

FilmRise opted-in to Amazon Video Direct’s Film Festival Stars — a new program designed to establish an attractive distribution model for films screened at film festivals, beginning with Sundance.

The film “follows Ivan, the well-liked local postman, on his inspiring campaign for mayor. Ivan is running on a platform that seeks to welcome the Syrian refugees that arrive in the village with open arms and encourage them to stay. The documentary chronicles his attempt to breathe life back into his listless town. In this electrically charged and riveting political documentary, director Tonisalve Hristov offers authentic insight into Europe’s continued response to the Syrian refugee crisis.”

“Little Boxes”

– Abramorama has acquired the North American rights to “Mr. Chibbs,” the new documentary from director/producer Jill Campbell and producer Barry Greenstein about basketball legend Kenny Anderson. The film, which had its World Premiere at DOC NYC this past November, captures the former NBA All-Star and New York City basketball prodigy in the midst of a midlife crisis, grappling with his identity and coming to terms with his past as he looks to move forward. Following screenings at the Sarasota, Miami and Atlanta Film Festivals, the film will open at the IFC Center in New York on May 3 and then expand theatrically afterward.

– FilmRise has also acquired exclusive North American distribution rights to writer/director Jun Geng’s “Free and Easy.” The film had its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where Jun Geng won the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Cinematic Vision. It will be available to stream later this year on Amazon Prime Video, also through the Film Festival Stars program.

The film is billed as “a refreshing, farcical take on the traditional crime narrative. The film’s action takes place in a grim, deserted factory town in northern China where crooks and scammers have taken over—including a con artist named Zhiyong Zhang who has arrived in town posing as a magical soap salesman. Zhiyong Zhang tricks his unsuspecting victims into smelling soap samples that make them instantly pass out, leaving him free to take their valuables. Jun Geng’s direction creates a bizarre tension throughout the film between these absurd and nonsensical skits and his stunning visual interpretation of the abandoned landscape.”

– FilmRise has also acquired the exclusive North American distribution rights to Frankie Fenton’s “It’s Not Yet Dark,” which tells the story of Simon Fitzmaurice, a brilliant Irish filmmaker living with ALS who directed his first feature film using groundbreaking eye gaze technology. Based on Fitzmaurice’s best-selling autobiography of the same name, the documentary is narrated by Colin Farrell and premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

FilmRise will release “It’s Not Yet Dark” theatrically in mid-2017.

– Gravitas Ventures has acquired all rights, U.S. and Canada, to “11:55,” which bowed to critical acclaim at the Los Angeles Film Festival. The action/drama was also named the “Audience Favorite Feature” at the Aspen Filmfest. “11:55” is a captivating moral story of vengeance, family, and friendship from first-time feature filmmakers Ari Issler and Ben Snyder and an all-star cast that includes Victor Almanzar (“Empire”), Elizabeth Rodriguez (“Orange is the New Black”), David Zayas (“Dexter”), Julia Stiles (“Jason Bourne”) and featuring John Leguizamo (“John Wick: Chapter 2”).

“11:55” will make its theatrical and on demand debut on June 9.

– Breaking Glass Pictures has acquired North American rights to the Icelandic LGBT/coming-of-age tale “Heartstone” from director Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson. The film held its US premiere at the Chicago International Film Festival where it won the Q Hugo award, and went on to play numerous festivals, including the Toronto International Film Festival, Palm Springs International Film Festival, and Goteborg where it received the “Lorens” Award.

Breaking Glass is planning a limited theatrical followed by a VOD and DVD release in the third quarter of 2017.

– Factory 25 has acquired the rights to the James Ransone-, Alex Karpovsky- and Natasha Lyonne-starring drama “Bloomin Mud Shuffle.” The film the seventh directed by Gotham Award nominated director Frank V. Ross and was produced by Joe Swanberg with a soundtrack by John Medeski.

Per the film’s official synopsis: “Wringing subtle wit and hard-won honesty from humdrum life has become something of a trademark in the work of Frank V. Ross, a perennially under-appreciated talent of American independent cinema. ‘Bloomin Mud Shuffle,’ focuses on Lonnie — a lonely, often-drunk housepainter who’s yet to leave the Chicago town in which he grew up. Sixteen years on from high school and stuck in a never-ending rut, Lonnie falls under the spell of a college-aged coworker who’s hesitant to take him seriously.”

The film will premiere theatrically in Ross’ hometown of Chicago on March 24 at Facets Cinematheque, with screenings in New York and other cities through spring. Factory 25 will also release the film digitally premiering the film on March 24 via iTunes, Amazon, Vimeo On Demand, cable VOD, NoBudge and many other digital outlets.

– Film Movement, the New York-based film distributor of first-run, award- winning foreign and independent films, has announce that it has acquired Jean-Stéphane Bron’s French-Swiss documentary “The Paris Opera,” which will be making its U.S. Premiere at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s annual Rendez-Vous with French Cinema series. The film is billed as “an engaging, behind-the-scenes look at the whirlwind logistics that is needed to put together the breathtaking performances and events at one of the world’s most eminent institutions.”

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